A glimpse into the next World Cup: a new generation of talent

Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup
Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup

The 2023 Rugby World Cup resulted in South Africa beating New Zealand in the final.

The Springboks have confirmed their status as the best national team on the planet. However, in an early look at the 2027 tournament, they are already seen as considerable outsiders to retain their trophy.

Within the next four years, many of international rugby's standout developing stars will move into their prime playing days. This suits some teams more than others, some of South Africa's World Cup winners could face retirement before 2027, while New Zealand's biggest stars should be entering the peak of their careers. 

As well as the All Blacks, the likes of France and Ireland should be better or equally suited to win the tournament compared to the Springboks. 

New Zealand are the early favourites

New Zealand are the incredibly early favourites to win the 2027 World Cup that will be held in Australia. They are offered at 47/20 in the odds for the tournament and the leading reason for that is Will Jordan who was the top try scorer of the 2023 event. 

Jordan is arguably the greatest player on the planet right now, yet his potential is much higher than his current level, and he is just 25 years old. 

Despite his team falling short in 2023, they are expected to bounce back in 2027, as they will have a largely fresh core with him as a standout.

South Africa however, is an ageing national team that lacks upcoming talents compared to the other major contenders, and that is shown by their 19/5 odds to win the 2027 tournament - 2023 could well be their last success in a while as the All Blacks seemingly have a much brighter future ahead. 

Ireland is also seen to have an outside chance equal to South Africa's of winning the next World Cup. Johnny Sexton will, of course, not be around to lead the team in 2027, and they do not quite have the level of developing talent in their ranks that the All Blacks have. 

All Blacks have a core that will hit their primes by 2027

Jordan has a solid supporting cast of players that will join him in their primes in four years' time. Utility back Jordie Barrett and centre Rieko Ioane are top examples of prospects that are of similar ages to Jordan and have amassed a huge amount of caps for New Zealand already. 

Overall, though, the team has a huge sense of potential across the pitch. The 33-man squad for 2023 contained 10 players between the ages of 25 and 27. These players are sure to mature and blossom into improved versions of themselves in the next four years. 

Most rugby players reach their peak roughly between the ages of 27 and 29, meaning the age profile of the squad is perfectly suited to avenge their recent final defeat when 2027 arrives. 

Ultimately, the Springboks may have been crowned world champions this year, but when predicting the next competition in four years' time, age and potential are of paramount importance. 

The New Zealand runners-up will undoubtedly improve by 2027, while South Africa will surely regress as much of their team will likely retire before the next World Cup arrives. 

France could be set to provide the strongest competition with Antoine Dupont still set to lead the team, although it is tough to imagine anybody stopping the All Blacks if their biggest talents reach the potential expected of them.