England firm favourites
By Shamseer Jaleel
The much looked forward fifth edition of the Rugby World Cup 2003 will be worked off in Australia from 10th of October with the defending champions Australian "Wallabies" taking on the Argentina "Pumas" in the opening clash.

In the first edition in 1987 New Zealand All Blacks won, in 1991 the Australian side stamped their class by winning it. Four years later in 1995 the final was fought out between the All Blacks and the South Africans where the African side won in a penalty game where the score ended as 6-3.

The All Blacks team comprised some top players of the caliber of the star winger Jonah Lomu and Geoff Wilson. In 1999 the All Blacks were eliminated at the semi final stage by the unpredictable France and in the other semi final Australia overcame the South Africans. In the final "Wallabies"outclassed the Six nation team who tasted the first final appearance in the World Cup.

This year the England side is seeded as the favourites followed by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. From each group the teams ending as first and second will advance to the quarter finals and from there onwards it will be worked off on a knock out basis.

The following are the groupings
Group A Argentina, Australia, Ireland, Namibia, Romania
Group B Fiji, France, Japan, Scotland, U S A
Group C England, Georgia, Samoa, South Africa, Uruguay
Group D Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Tonga, Wales.

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