The Rugby World Cup 2015 is set to kick off this Friday when England play Fuji at Twickenham Stadium. The Rugby World Cup is the largest global sporting event behind the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup, and it is estimated that around 3 million fans will travel to the games from across the globe.
Take a look below at Newitts' guide to the Rugby World Cup 2015, to include previous World Cup History, 2015 Previews, Past Winners and Fascinating Facts!
Previous World Cup History
- This year will mark the 8th Rugby World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987, and it is the first time England will be the sole host, aside from one game which will be held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
- The tournament will be hosted at 13 stadiums in 11 cities across England and Wales. Twenty nations consisting of 600 players will battle it out on the field, taking part in 48 matches over 44 days, and 3,840 match minutes.
- In the past 28 years and seven tournaments, we've witnessed England play no less than 40 matches and win 29 of them, giving them a winning record of 72.50 per cent.
- England's most successful tournament to date was in 2003 when they won the World Cup title. They have also participated in the final in 1991 and 2007.
- The Daily Mail reports that the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be the most expensive sporting event in history with the average price of a normal ticket costing more than £104.
- More than 2.3m tickets have been sold, with only 50,000 still available through official platforms, so if you're thinking of purchasing tickets, don't leave it much longer!
- Since the Rugby World Cup began in 1987, England have beaten three countries three times; Australia, France and the United States. Their worst record is against New Zealand whom they have never beaten in three matches, and South Africa who have defeated them in three of their four encounters.
This week, previews have been posted to try to guess who will be the team to triumph at this year's World Cup. According to experts, after a disappointing 2011 tournament, England has rebuilt and has a good chance to do well. Furthermore, the team will be playing all of their matches on home soil with plenty of crowd support.
One of the biggest threats will be defending champions New Zealand who are keen to claim back-to-back titles - something no team has achieved before, but they've never won a cup in the Northern Hemisphere.
Pool A - Four of the top 9 sides have been pitted against one another making pool A the toughest pool in World Cup history! England, Australia and Wales are expected to battle it out for the top two places.
Pool B - South Africa have been named as one of the serious contenders for the third world title, with Scotland and Samoa following a close second.
Pool C - New Zealand are hotly tipped to come out on top and storm their way through to the quarter finals, but Argentina and Georgia could put up a tough fight. Tonga is another team to keep your eye on - 4 years ago they beat France in the pool stages.
Pool D - Including 3 of the six nations who will be battling it out hard on the field in a bid to claim the title. France and Ireland in particular stand a good chance of taking the top spot.
The Rugby World Cup has previously been held seven times, with Australia, South Africa and New Zealand each winning it twice and England once in 2003. Take a look at the past Rugby World Cup winners below:
2011 New Zealand
2007 - South Africa
2003 - England
1999 - Australia
1995 - South Africa
1991 - Australia
1987 - New Zealand
- The World Cup winners are awarded the William Webb Ellis Cup - William Webb Ellis was the Rugby School pupil who, according to popular myth, invented the game in 1823.
- The only two nations to host and win a tournament are New Zealand (1987, 2011) and South Africa (1995).
- The 2003 Rugby World Cup had a global cumulative audience of 3.5 billion, and was broadcast in 205 countries around the world. Twelve years on, and with the addition of social media, the 2015 event promises to be even bigger.
- The most points that have ever been scored against a team at a World Cup is 145 by New Zealand in a match against Japan in 1995 when New Zealand scored 21 tries.
- The widest winning margin in a World Cup match is 142, achieved by Australia against Namibia in 2003.
- A defending champion has never won the World Cup
- Uruguay’s Diego Ormaechea is the oldest player to ever feature in a Rugby World Cup aged 40 years and 26 days, while Jonah Lomu was the youngest player to appear in a Rugby World Cup final in 1995 aged 20 years and 159 days.
- New Zealand hold the record for the most points scored in a Rugby World Cup match – they ticked up 145 against Japan in 1995.
- Cardiff will become the first city to be involved in four World Cups – 1991, 1999, 2007, 2015.
- Former England player Jonny Wilkinson has played the most RWC matches (19) and scored the most points (277).
NB: Organisers are urging fans to purchase tickets only through the official World Cup website — http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/.