Here are 25 things you might like to drop into your ocnversation to demonstrate your superior knowledge of all things related to the Rugby World Cup.
1. It starts today, with New Zealand to play Tonga, at 8.30pm NZ time.
2. The final is not till Sun October 23rd – that’s six weeks during which too much Rugby is just not enough.
3. New Zealand time is 2 hours ahead of Australian Time.
Kick off for each game varies – the earliest being 1pm (11am here) and the latest is the final on Oct 23rd at 9pm (7pm here).
4. The seven games that were scheduled to be played in Christchurch have had to be moved because of the earthquake on Feb 22nd. AMI Stadium (formally known as Jade Stadium, and officially called Lancaster Park) had an $80 million refurbishment for the RWC, with the new ‘Deans Stand’ only opened in January 2010. The Deans family were the first settlers in Christchurch, and have been part of Rugby in Canterbury for more than a century. Of course, Robbie Deans, a former All Black, is now the coach of Australia.
5. All 48 games will be shown live on Foxtel 3, which for Austar subscribers is included in the optional $18 months Sports package.
Channel Nine have free-to-air rights, but are only showing some of the games. Even some of the Australian games are shown only on delay, including Australia vs Ireland.
A guide to the TV coverage is available here.
6. Australia have 4 games in their Pool, Pool C (EST times)
- vs Italy Sun 11/9 1.30pm
- vs Ireland Sat 17/9 6.30pm
- vs USA Fri 23/9 6.30pm
- vs Russia Sat 1/10 12.30pm
7. All going to plan, the Wallabies will play in (EST times)
- a Quarterfinal on Sat 1st October at 4pm,
- a Semi-final on Sat Oct 15th at 7pm,
- and then in the final on Sun 23rd October at 7pm
8. Teams that made the quarterfinals last year were automatically included in this RWC finals series. The other teams had to qualify. You may be surprised at some to the countries represented – including Russia, Namibia, Japan, Georgia, Romania and New Zealand.
9. Samoa have a difficult path to the quarterfinals, as they are in Pool D, the ‘pool of death’. Only two out of Samoa, Fiji, Wales, South Africa (and Namibia) will reach the quarter finals.
10. The other important pool tussle is in Pool B, where only two out of England, Scotland and Argentina will procede to the quarter finals.
11. The first Rugby World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand in 1987. The concept was initially opposed by the ‘Home Nations’, (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland), who eventually attended, somewhat reluctantly. The Springboks were still under a boycott at the time. 16 nations played it what was a fairly informal event – matches in Sydney were played at Concord Stadium and crowds were fairly small.
12. Australia lost the Semi-Final of the 1987 World Cup to France (30-24) , when Serge Blanco scored in the final moments. It was sad. I was there.
13. Australia lost the 2003 World Cup Final 20-17, when Johnny Wilkinson kicked a field goal in th 20th minute of extra time, with 26 seconds on the clock. It was sad. I was there.
15. Australia and France have each knocked NZ out of the World Cup twice. NZ have never beaten Australia in a Rugby World Cup.
16. Australia and South Africa have each won the World Cup twice. England and NZ have won it once each. France has twice been unsuccessful in the final.
17. Rugby Union is the national sport of six countries – Fiji, Georgia, New Zealand, Samoa,Tonga and Wales.
18. In April 2010 Lithuania broke the record of consecutive international wins (a record previously held by both New Zealand and South Africa) with their 18th win in tier 2 in a match against Serbia.
19. Rugby often features in literature.
- It is described in the 1857 novel ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’.
- Sherlock Holmes companion, Dr Watson, played Rugby for Blackheath.
- The Bective Rangers Rugby Club features in many of James Joyce’s works, including Ulysses. (Although I must admit I haven’t made it to that bit)
20. The USA has more registered Rugby players than Australia (88,000 vs 87,000), playing in 570 clubs. (Japan and Argentina also have more players than Australia). The US national side, The Eagles, has competed at six of the seven world cups, but not yet made it past the pool stage. George W Bush was a keen rugby player, playing fullback for Yale’s 1st
XV in a famous victory over Harvard in 1968. Bill Clinton had a go at playing second row while at Oxford.
21. If you want to play in a World Cup, you should go and live in Georgia. There are only 4167 players you need to be better than to make the squad. Don’t go and live in England – you need to be better than 2,549,181 other poms.
Here is the number of registered players in the World Cup nations, (source: http://irb.com)
- England 2549196
- South Africa 632184
- France 313877
- Ireland 153080
- NZ 137835
- Japan 122598
- Argentina 91459
- USA 88151
- Australia 86952
- Italy 66176
- Wales 50557
- Scotland 38500
- Fiji 36030
- Canada 23853
- Samoa 23372
- Russia 14519
- Romania 9612
- Tonga 6891
- Namibia 5822
- Georgia 4181
22. The official Rugby World Cup Site is at http://www.rugbyworldcup.com
You can also read all about the world cup at http://rugbyheaven.com.au
23. There is an official RWC iPhone/iPad app with news, scores and articles at RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011.
There is also a rugby heaven iPhone app at RugbyHeaven RWC 2011 .
If music is your thing, you might like the World In Union 2011 – The Official Album by Various Artists
24. If you’d like to have a flutter on the world cup, the All Blacks are overwhelming favourites at $1.66.
Australia are at $4.20, South Africa $9.00. England and France must be good value at $15.00.
How about Samoa at $226! I’d save my dough on Namibia , even given the odds of 5000:1.
25. The 2015 RWC will be held in England, who beat rival host bids from South Africa, Japan and Italy.
Yours in Rugby.