Now that England have beaten us, they must use home advantage in 2015
22:30 GMT, 2 December 2012
One thing is certain when the draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, to be held in England, is made on Monday— defending champions New Zealand are already the favourites.
Here the All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter gives his assessment of the teams most likely to challenge his country.
They are always a dangerous side. Australia do not have the depth of some of the other top teams, but they always produce their share of very talented players.
Given they do not have quite that depth, it is going to be important they do not get too many injuries. At the moment they have a young side who are only going to get better.
Flying high: Australia will be contenders at the next World Cup
Australia are going to learn a lot from the Lions series next year and I am sure that when the World Cup comes around they are going to be a genuine threat. Their back line are especially talented, and can break open any team in the world.
I have watched them a lot lately. It has been a long season for South Africa and they are in something of a transition.
They have a new coach and lost some key players after the last World Cup and are looking towards the future as well, but you can already see some younger guys coming through. They will have learned a lot this year.
Traditionally South Africa are a very strong side physically, with immense power, and you always know that it is going to be a huge battle with them. There are very big men up front who can really take it to the opposition, and they service their backs very well.
The French have really impressed me. We all know what happened at the last World Cup and once they got to the knockout stages they played fantastically well. We saw in this autumn series, with that big win over Australia, what they are capable of and that will have been great for French confidence.
In with a shout: France can blow hot and cold at major tournaments
Of course there is always this thing about them that you are never quite sure what you are going to get, but they are able to beat any side on their day and are another nation who always produce their share of very talented players.
When everything comes together France are very strong.
They are genuine outside contenders and have always shown what they can do at World Cups. They have had a history of catching teams by surprise, maybe because people have seen them less than other sides.
Now that they are playing Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on a regular basis they might lose some surprise, but that will be outweighed by the experience it gives them. Argentina beat Wales convincingly the other week and by the time the competition comes round you would fully expect them to be better. I’m impressed by their loose forwards, workaholics who love the rough stuff.
They scrummage well and the backs are skilful.
When you are hosting the World Cup it is important to see it as wholly a positive thing and not a burden. Some people can feel the pressure because of the expectation — we know about that in New Zealand. But as an individual player you have to think that it does not get any better than this, playing at home in familiar surroundings, and that you are going to use it to your advantage and embrace the challenge.
On form: England impressed in beating New Zealand on Saturday
If England do that then they are going to be very difficult to beat. They are still experimenting a little bit at the moment and developing a lot of players. The World Cup is three years away so they have plenty of time. I am sure they will develop more consistency in the next couple of years.
I know they have had some disappointing results, but I would not worry too much. The form they showed at the last World Cup suggested they can be real contenders. I would say the last month has been more of a hiccup that they will have learned from. You always feel this sense of pride they have when you play Wales.
Some of the younger guys like Sam Warburton have put their hands up and it is important that those guys who have already shown they can do it at the highest level now push on in their careers so others can follow. It looks to me like they have quite a few good young players who will emerge.
They have had their struggles in the last few years, but they love their rugby and are a very proud nation. I am sure they will be working hard to turn things around. The new coach will have quite a bit to work with, although they are never going to have quite the depth of England, which makes it even more important that they properly develop their best players.
A quality side with world-class players. I always find it a tough match playing against Ireland. They have a strong mental edge and are the kind of team who, if they get on a roll with some confidence, are a hard team to play against.
Tough: Ireland are hard to beat when they're on top form
You have to start well against them and they are a try-scoring team, so you have to stop them getting that momentum. At the moment Ireland have got some fantastic players with a lot of experience and I guess there is going to be a job over the next few years blending the experience with younger players who are going to come through. I really enjoyed watching their recent game with Argentina.
An outsider to watch out for
If you look at the Pacific Island nations there are some great individuals now playing all around the world. These are tough teams to play against, as Samoa and Tonga have shown recently. They seem to love playing against the bigger nations and never hold back. They love the physical side of the game, so if any bigger team has a bad day against them they are likely to be in trouble.
Interview: Mike Dickson