All you need to know about the Rugby World Cup

Date published: August 6 2019

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup on the horizon, here’s the answers to all the nagging questions we think you might have before September 20.

So when does the tournament run from?

See above. The global showpiece kicks off on Friday, September 20 when Japan looks to get their pool charge off to a positive start against Russia. The group stage runs until Sunday, October 13 and then it’s the quarter-finals on the weekend of October 19-20 before the semi-finals (October 26-27) and lastly the Bronze Final on Friday, November 1 and the Rugby World Cup Final on Saturday, November 2. Get set for six wonderful weeks.

Hosting history of the Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup was first launched in 1987 and took place in New Zealand and Australia, with the former side claiming the trophy after a win over France in the final. Since then it’s been held every four years, hosted in Britain, France and Ireland in 1991, South Africa (1995), Wales (matches were also in England, France, Scotland and Ireland) in 1999, Australia (2003), France (2007), New Zealand (2011) and England (with Wales) in 2015.

The 2019 tournament takes place in Japan, who are the first ‘tier two’ nation to stage the event, before France host the World Cup for the second time in 2023. Argentina, Australia and Russia are confirmed bidders for 2027.

What channel is the Rugby World Cup on?

ITV will televise all 48 matches of the 2019 Rugby World Cup across their various platforms, with ITV1 and ITV4 largely getting the games. There will be a highlights show on ITV in the evening or if you’re in the car BBC Radio 5 Live provide coverage of the matches. Alternatively the Rugby World Cup’s official YouTube channel are usually prompt in adding video highlights, as Planet Rugby will be, so you’re well covered when it comes to the action.

What times are the games scheduled for?

Set your alarms if you fancy some early morning rugby before making that commute to work as the earliest weekday match kicks off at 05:45 BST. However, the tournament begins on Friday, September 20 with hosts Japan facing Russia at 11:45 BST before a bumper Saturday sees an early start of 05:45 BST with Australia v Fiji opening an epic first Saturday that includes France v Argentina and New Zealand v South Africa. What a day…

During the first full week the schedule is largely one game per day but that will increase as the pools play out.

So when do the home nations play?

England’s pool games:

Sunday, September 22 – v Tonga – @11:15 BST in Sapporo
Thursday, September 26 – v USA – @11:45 BST in Kobe City
Saturday, October 5 – v Argentina – @09:00 BST in Tokyo
Saturday, October 12 – v France – @09:15 BST in Yokohama City

Ireland’s pool games:

Sunday, September 22 – v Scotland – @08:45 BST in Yokohama City
Saturday, September 28 – v Japan – @08:15 BST in Shizuoka Prefecture
Thursday, October 3 – v Russia – @11:15 BST in Kobe City
Saturday, October 12 – v Samoa – @11:45 BST in Fukuoka City

Scotland’s pool games:

Sunday, September 22 – v Ireland – @08:45 BST in Yokohama City
Monday, September 30 – v Samoa – @11:15 BST in Kobe City
Wednesday, October 9 – v Russia – @08:15 BST in Shizuoka Prefecture
Sunday, October 13 – v Japan – @11:45 BST in Yokohama City

Wales’ pool games:

Monday, September 23 – v Georgia – @11:15 BST in Toyota City
Sunday, September 23 – v Australia – @08:45 BST in Tokyo
Wednesday, October 9 – v Fiji – @10:45 BST in Oita Prefecture
Sunday, October 13 – v Uruguay – @09:15 BST in Kumamoto City

Who currently holds the World Cup bragging rights?

New Zealand will be looking to make it three Webb Ellis triumphs on the spin in Japan this year after winning the 2011 and 2015 tournaments, against France and Australia in the respective finals. Those successes moved the All Blacks to three titles in total, with Australia and South Africa (two) and England the only other winner.

Who are the bookmakers’ favourites for glory?

888sport has New Zealand at 5/4 favourites to take the title with England (5/1), South Africa (6/1), Ireland and Wales (both 7/1), Australia (14/1), Argentina (30/1), France (33/1) and Scotland (40/1) next in line. Host nation Japan are as big as 200/1 to shock the world in front of their passionate supporters. What a story that would be?

How many teams are in the tournament?

We have four pools of five sides which equals 20. Pool A consists of Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Russia and Samoa, Pool B sees New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Namibia and Canada clash, Pool C has England, France, Argentina, USA and Tonga while Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay battle it out in Pool D. Two teams from each of these mouth-watering pools will then progress to the last-eight stage and from then…well, you know the drill.

Any chance of any personal records?

Surprisingly the individual points scoring table features no current player in the top 20 so it’s fair to say England legend Jonny Wilkinson will remain atop the pile on 277 points. Tries wise, if selected, Australia’s Adam Ashley-Cooper (11) could push Bryan Habana and Jonah Lomu (both 15) if he gets decent minutes against lesser teams.

Anything else that could be helpful?

Ah yes, during the pool stage there is a bonus-point system, something that England number eight Billy Vunipola famously did not realise four years ago…how embarrassing. So, scoring four tries gets a team an extra point in the pool and finishing seven or fewer points down against your opponent also sees you pick up a losing bonus-point. Both of these routes to table points could well come in handy when we land at the last round of the pools.