Attention to detail, luck will decide World Cup winner says rugby great John Eales

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With Japan set to host what many are calling the most open Rugby World Cup in the tournament’s 32-year history, two-time winner John Eales said Monday “attention to detail and luck” will ultimately determine who walks away with the Webb Ellis Trophy.

Eales — considered one of the greatest locks ever to play the game — speaks from experience, having led Australia to victory over France in 1999 in Cardiff, Wales, eight years after being part of the Wallabies team who beat host England at Twickenham.

The veteran of 86 tests, including 55 as captain, said the unpredictable bounce of a rugby ball was a fitting metaphor for the way luck can impact the outcome of a game or tournament.

“The shape of the football is very symbolic. It’s that oval shape and if the ball lands on that point, it can go that way, or it can go that way, and that can be what determines who wins a World Cup,” Eales told Kyodo News.

“When you look at it from a team perspective your goal as a team is to minimize the role that luck plays and the best teams in the world don’t need luck as much as other teams.

“In ’91 and ’99 we had bits of luck, but there was a lot more skill and purpose and focus in it than there was luck. So I think the best teams in the world in the different eras are the ones that minimize the role that luck plays.”

In 1991, a last-minute try in Dublin from Michael Lynagh broke Irish hearts in the q

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