2019 Rugby World Cup: Everything you need to know

The 2019 Rugby World Cup begins this week. Get up to date on all the news and find out how you can keep track of your favourite team.

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Rugby World Cup 2019 M

What is the Rugby World Cup?

The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union tournament. It was first established in 1987 and is contested every four years. Participants are required to meet criteria determined by the International Rugby Board (IRB) to qualify.

Of the 20 teams to reach the final tournament, some were automatically selected thanks to their performance in the previous World Cup. Others are the top performers in their region; Europe, Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania. There is also a repechage play-off system for teams who just missed out, allowing them to qualify as effectively wild cards. Over the full qualification process, over 100 teams are involved.

The winner of the competition is awarded the Webb Ellis Cup. The trophy is named after William Webb Ellis who, according to urban legend, created the game by picking up a ball and running with it during a game of soccer. New Zealand are the defending champions, after winning the last two instalments in 2011 and 2015. The All Blacks are heavily favoured to win yet another title this year, despite being ranked number two in the world.

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Where is the Rugby World Cup being held?

The 2019 edition of the Rugby World Cup tournament will take place in Japan. This is the first time the tournament will be held in Asia and not hosted by the "traditional" rugby nations. Japan does share a favourable time zone with New Zealand and Australian audiences.

When does the Rugby World Cup start?

The ninth instalment of the Rugby World Cup gets underway in Tokyo on 20 September. It will run until 2 November, when the final will be played at International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama City. Games are played almost every day of the week, and you can see the full Rugby World Cup schedule for exact match times.

How to watch the Rugby World Cup?

Fortunately for rugby fans, the time difference between Australia and Japan is very minimal. This means you can watch all the games of the tournament live. Coverage of the Rugby World Cup will be shared by Fox Sports (available through Kayo Sports and Foxtel) and Channel 10.

If you really want to follow the tournament, only Kayo and Foxtel will have every match of the competition live on a dedicated Rugby World Cup channel. The channel will consist of match previews, highlights, review programs and classic matches, plus commentary and analysis from renowned pundits and former players.

As a bonus for subscribers, all games will also be available on-demand, so you can catch up on all the action with ease. Network 10 is the only free-to-air provider covering the tournament, though it will only broadcast 10 premium matches live. This includes every Wallabies match and some of the knockout matches, including the final.

So if it's extensive coverage that you're after this Rugby World Cup, then Kayo Sports or Foxtel are a must-have. While both providers offer the same sports content, Kayo is the cheaper option to get your rugby fix, a host of unique features designed for sports fans and is more flexible in how it can be accessed.

In addition to the Rugby World Cup, Kayo also has live coverage and on-demand replays of Vodafone Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, Buildcorp Super W, Gallagher Premiership Rugby, National Rugby Championship, Mitre 10 Cup, Currie Cup and Global Rapid Rugby. On-demand replays are available of the Shute Shield too. Plus, it has all your international rugby live and on-demand, such as World Rugby U20 Championships, World Rugby Men's and Women's Sevens and the Bledisloe Cup.

With a Kayo subscription, you also gain access to the content from all of Foxtel's best sports channels. This includes the eight Fox Sports channels, three beIN SPORTS channels, two ESPN channels and racing.com.

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How does the Rugby World Cup work?

Contested by 20 teams, each nation must qualify to participate in the tournament. 12 teams qualified automatically, by finishing in the top 3 of their pool during the last Rugby World Cup. The other teams qualified through regional, cross-regional tournaments and a repechage process.

The 20 eligible teams are equally divided up into 4 pools of 5 according to international rankings. Each nation will play the other four countries in their pool once. After this phase, the top two seeded sides advance to the quarter-finals.

The winners of each group are matched up with the runner-up of the other pools in the quarter-finals, with the next round of victorious sides advancing to the semi-finals. This will eventually lead to the final between the two semi-final winners and a bronze final for the two losers.

Which countries are competing in the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

Pool APool BPool CPool D
IrelandNew ZealandEnglandAustralia
ScotlandSouth AfricaFranceWales
JapanItalyArgentinaGeorgia
RussiaNamibiaUnited StatesFiji
SamoaCanadaTongaUruguay

List of previous Rugby World Cup winners

Only four countries have won the previous eight Rugby World Cup tournaments. They are New Zealand (three), Australia (two), South Africa (two) and England. For the full breakdown of previous Rugby World Cup finals, check out the table below.

YearWinnerRunner-upScore
1987New ZealandFrance29-9
1991AustraliaEngland12-6
1995South AfricaNew Zealand15-12
1999AustraliaFrance35-12
2003EnglandAustralia20-17
2007South AfricaEngland15-6
2011New ZealandFrance8-7
2015New ZealandAustralia34-17

Image Source: World Cup website

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