Rugby World Cup Japan: everything you need to know
For those unawares, the World Cup kicks off this Friday in Japan (the one with the oval ball, anyway).
And while your memory of the competition might be a tad hazy, we're here to give you a quick refresher on everything you need to know about the Rugby World Cup 2019.
Like its football bretherin, the World Cup happens every four years. And far be it from being just the biggest event in the rugby world, it's also one of the biggest events in the sporting world.
There's a lot to know about the world cup, and the immense event surrounding it, so let's dive straight in. Here's everything you need to know:
When is it?
The Rugby World Cup takes place in Japan from September 20 to November 2. The event lasts 43 days and spans 48 matches.
The first match will see the hosts Japan take on Russia in Tokyo.
What exactly is rugby?
Rugby is a contact sport that branched off of football, the sport is centred around running from one end of a pitch to the other with the ball in hand.
The sport was invented allegedly in 1823 by a student of Rugby School named William Webb-Ellis, during a game of football, he picked up the ball and ran with it. From that moment, rugby was born.
What is the Rugby World Cup?
The World Cup began in 1987 when the event was co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
It’s the biggest event in rugby, that sees 20 national teams compete for the title of World Champion and the William Webb Ellis Cup. Teams compete for spaces in the World Cup via a qualifying competition and then knockout stages.
Who are the 20 teams?
The 20 teams competing this year are: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Russia, Japan, Samoa, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia, Italy, France, USA, Tonga, Argentina, Australia, Fiji, Uruguay, Georgia and Canada.
How does it work?
There are four groups of five countries, these groups are called pools. Pools contain teams which are seeded. Seeding means to place a variety of skill levels in your pool so to avoid all the best teams being in one pool and knocking each other out early in matches outside the main stage.
Each team in a pool plays against their group opponents once. Once all these matches have taken place, the first and second places in each pool face each other. These matches then create the quarter finals, which leads to winner’s and loser’s semis which leads to the finals.
Which teams have previously won?
Only four different teams have ever won the Cup, those teams are Australia winning in 1991 and 1999, England winning in 2003, New Zealand in 1987, 2011 and 2015, and South Africa in 1995 and 2007.
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