Everything We Know About The 2019 Rugby World Cup
Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup. When and where will the games take place? Who are the teams who will be competing? Who is set to go far? Let's take a look...
When and Where Are the Games?
The Rugby World Cup joins together 20 of the biggest teams in the world. Featuring 48 matches over 12 locations, throughout Japan, the tournament will open on the 20th September 2019 at the Tokyo Stadium with Japan vs Russia kicking off proceedings.
From there, a plethora of games will take hold over 6 weeks, with the final taking place at the International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday 2nd November. The winners and runners-up from each group will go straight into a Quarter Final. Let’s look at each group and discuss the merit of the teams therein.
Pool A is home to hosts Japan in a competitive group. The host nation is outshone in the group by what looks to be Europe’s best chance in the games, Ireland. Following a Six Nations Grand Slam, the Irish are well-placed to challenge the elite teams for the prestigious trophy. Some would say, more than being just Europe’s finest as things stand, this impressive Ireland team are also favourites to run the All Blacks close in the 2019 World Cup.
Having beaten England in the Six Nations, there is a positivity around Scotland and a suggestion that they can cause an upset in the competition. Whatever they do, they are expected to reach the knockout phases, alongside Ireland.
So, what to expect of the other names in Pool A? Japan are at home and made one of the statements of last World Cup when they defeated Australia. Pacific Islanders, Samoa will believe they can push the others hard but will likely fall short. Russia are by far the weak links in the pool and it will take something of a miracle for them to overcome the others.
Players to Watch Out For
Connor Murray, Tadhg Furlong of Ireland & Stuart Hogg of Scotland.
We think Ireland will win the group and Scotland will finish runners-up, though we expect Japan to run them close in third.
Who Has Won the Rugby World Cup in the Last Three Decades?
Australia: 1991 South Africa: 1995 Australia: 1999 England: 2003 South Africa: 2007 New Zealand: 2011 New Zealand: 2015
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Repechage Winner
An exciting group is led by World Cup heavyweights, New Zealand and South Africa and both will be expected to make their mark on the tournament and progress to the latter stages. We cannot look past New Zealand as the winners of this group and even the tournament, and in recent times they have been the dominant force in rugby, but South Africa have significant history with the tournament too but will be hoping to win the group to avoid a tricky tie with Ireland in the Quarter Finals.
NZ and SA make it seem a tall order for the other teams in the group. Italy are capable of playing well, Namibia and any repechage winner (likely Romania) will have to surprise us to win.
Players to Watch Out For
Beaudun Barrett and Kieran Read of New Zealand, Sergio Parisse of Italy & Eben Etzebeth of South Africa.
This one has to be a given doesn’t it? Among the two sharpest teams that will be at the World Cup, it would be a massive upset should either of them fall before the knockouts.
England’s group doesn’t look like it will pose too many issues, with Argentina, Tonga and USA all ranking pretty low. Argentina on a good day can cause problems but England should not have much trouble coming out of this group.
Where they finish though will rely on the way they perform in those games and in their likely crunch tie against France. A second-placed finish, in a group that they should win will be considered a failure but is not all doom and gloom because, choosing which one you’d prefer to face in the quarterfinals, between Australia and Wales is a hapless task.
Players to Watch Out For
Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje of England, Facundo Isa and Augustin Creevy of Argentina, and Louis Picamoles of France
England and France should have no trouble and get through the groups stages. Both could make a major dent in the latter stages too, but we can’t count out a resurgent Argentina.
Another intriguing group where Australia and Wales are expected to take the top spots. Fiji have the tools to be competitive but are they at the level of The Wallabies and the Welsh Dragons? No, they’re not. But the World Cup is a different ball game, and anything can happen when the pressure is on, the conditions are different, and the stakes are high.
Players to Watch
Israel Folau of Australia, Jonathan Davies of Wales, Leone Nakarawa of Fiji.
We are going to make our only bold prediction of the day with this one and back Wales to top the group ahead of Australia. In truth, it could go either way but when that’s the case, we back the Brits.
The Tournament Favourites
Ireland’s strength lies in their versatility and ability to change up their game. With a mentality to win at all costs, Ireland have formed a side with energy, leadership and match-winners across the board. The team came out victorious against New Zealand in 2016 so there is a feeling in the camp that they can make a monumental move in the competition.
The All Blacks are the most feared opponents in today’s game and with some of the biggest players, an impressive team ethic and the fear-inducing Haka, this is a team to be reckoned with and the undisputed favourites to take the title.
Being among the favourites without being expected to win it, might be to England’s advantage. If key players turn up, without significant expectation this team could repeat their 2003 World Cup win.
They won it in 1991 and 1999 and are fully capable of repeating the feat two decades on. They’ve been no stranger to semi-finals and finals since and the feeling among fans is that they can compete for the trophy.
We will make no bones about it, if Japan win the 2019 World Cup, hosts or not it would rank as one of the biggest upsets in sporting history. But rugby in Japan has undergone a dramatic and largely impressive renaissance and their 2015 World Cup win against South Africa, when Japan won 34-32 is already one of the most surprising results in the game’s history. If they can channel that same spirit and quality, they could go surprisingly far on their home turf.
Why not? Wales are a terrific outfit on their day and are capable of some scintillating rugby. While it would be a surprise if Wales won the tournament, it is not completely inconceivable.
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