Large number of Irish fans believe Ireland can win the World Cup 1 week ago

Large number of Irish fans believe Ireland can win the World Cup

48% of Irish fans believe that Joe Schmidt's side will win the Rugby World Cup next year.

Ireland dropped just one game this season en route to Six Nations and Grand Slam glory while they also prevailed over the All Blacks in November with a 16-9 win over the two-time defending world champions.

Bookmakers still have New Zealand installed as the prohibitive favourites for the tournament but new results from research company iReach have revealed that 48% of fans have predicted that Ireland will win next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, compared to just 30% who think New Zealand will be crowned champions for the third time in a row.

The survey also contrasted the entertainment differences between Irish rugby and football and highlighted that 15% of respondents believe that the Republic of Ireland football team are entertaining to watch compared to 75% who are entertained by the Ireland rugby team.

Interestingly, the survey also showed that Mick McCarthy was the most popular choice among the candidates to replace Martin O'Neill as Ireland manager with 30% in favour of the former Ipswich Town manager, however, former assistant manager Roy Keane (18%) was preferred to more respondents than new U21 manager and future Ireland boss Stephen Kenny (21%).

The full survey results can be viewed here.