Pool A winner to reach final – Shanklin

Date published: July 6 2015

Former Wales and Lions centre Tom Shanklin believes whoever wins Pool A will progress to the World Cup final, with England having an advantage.

The 35-year-old is looking forward to seeing Australia, England, Wales, Fiji and Uruguay collide and thinks the big guns may end up level on wins.

"I think it's going to come down to points difference but whoever finishes top will reach the final," the now pundit told BBC Sport on Monday.

"The pool is so tough. England have their final game against Uruguay which is annoying because it will probably play into their hands knowing how many points they need to score to qualify."

Looking ahead to the naming of the squad at the end of August, Shanklin added that he thinks head coach Warren Gatland could surprise the Welsh fans by naming some of the young talent included in the initial 47-man training group.

"Warren Gatland brings a lot of youngsters in and they are keen and they push the more senior players," he said.

"We've seen Warren Gatland pick players who have trained very well. They are there for a reason to shake things up a little bit.

"It wouldn't surprise me if one or two youngsters actually get the nod.

"It's such a strong squad that there's going to be some very unlucky people who miss out."