Brian O’Driscoll said New Zealand may win a second Rugby World Cup title in row by beating Ireland in the final later this year.
The former Irish captain and center said Ireland “will be in the mix,” along with England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
“I’m going to go with New Zealand because they got the monkey off the back from winning in 2011, maybe them to beat Ireland in final,” O’Driscoll said in an interview with Bloomberg today.
England, Ireland, France and Wales from Europe’s annual Six Nations tournament “have capabilities of absolutely getting to semifinals and finals so if you can do that, you’re in the mix to win it,” he said. “It’s definitely still open.”
Ireland repeated as the Six Nations champion last month after England defeated France 55-35, failing to reach the 26-point victory it needed to win the title.
O’Driscoll, who retired last year, said he isn’t in favor of introducing bonus points for tries in the Six Nations or playing games simultaneously on the last day. This year 221 points were scored on the final Saturday as three countries chased the championship.
Southern hemisphere teams “probably up to the final day wouldn’t have been quaking in their boots,” he said. “But then that final day definitely would have made them sit up and pay attention to what these teams can do.”
O’Driscoll was in London to promote the Ultimate Rugby app he co-founded with Irish entrepreneur Ray Nolan. The free app brings together all professional rugby games worldwide and lets users enter scores on amateur and junior matches.
Nolan expects downloads to almost double to 2.5 million by the start of the World Cup in September from 1.3 million currently. He said the app is profitable after two years and about 1 million euros ($1.08 million) in investment.