The Rugby World Cup is a rugby union tournament for men that is held every four years and contested by the world’s top international teams. The tournament is organized and handled by the World Rugby, which the international governing body of the sport.
Aside from owning the right to be called World Champions, the winners of the tournament are awarded the Webb Ellis Cup, named after the sport’s inventor. The Tournament was first held in 1987 and a total of four countries have won the Rugby World Cup. New Zealand leads the pack with three wins while Australia and South Africa have two wins each. England is the fourth nation to hoist the Webb Ellis Cup.
In 2015, the New Zealand All-Blacks won their second consecutive Rugby World Cup title, becoming the first champion to successfully defend their title. This year, the All-Blacks are favored to win an unprecedented third straight championship. The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan, the first time an Asian country will be hosting it. The tournament will run from September 20 to November 2, 2019.
A total of 12 stadiums will hold the matches. The opening match will be held at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Chōfu, Tokyo while the Final match will happen at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The Top 3 teams in each pool during the 2015 Rugby World Cup are automatically qualified for the next staging of the event. The remaining eight teams which complete the cast of 20 were decided by regional competitions which were followed by a cross-regional playoff. The final spot was decided by a repechage tournament which was won by Canada.
A draw was held in May 2017 in Tokyo to divide the teams into four pools composed of five teams each. Each pool will play a single-round robin stage of ten games. The teams which finish in the top two of each pool will advance to the quarterfinals.
Below is the result of the draw and the schedule for the quarterfinals, semifinals and Final:
|Pool A||Pool B||Pool C||Pool D|
|Date||Team A||Team B||Venue|
|10/19/19||Pool C Winner||Pool D Runner-up||Oita Stadium|
|10/19/19||Pool B Winner||Pool A Runner-up||Tokyo Stadium|
|10/20/19||Pool D Winner||Pool C Runner-up||Oita Stadium|
|10/20/19||Pool A Winner||Pool B Runner-up||Tokyo Stadium|
|Date||Team A||Team B||Venue|
|10/26/19||Quarterfinals 1 Winner||Quarterfinals 2 Winner||International Stadium Yokohama|
|10/27/19||Quarterfinals 3 Winner||Quarterfinals 4 Winner||International Stadium Yokohama|
The two semi-finals winners will meet for the title on November 2, 2019, while the semifinals losers will play for the Bronze final on November 1st.
Now, here are the odds to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Odds taken from TitanBet.com as of 9/24/19.
Who Are The Favorites?
New Zealand is the betting favorite to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The All-Blacks survived a strong comeback by Australia to win the 2015 title. With that win, New Zealand became the first team to retain a Rugby World Cup title. The All-Blacks have won 21 out of 24 internationals that they have played, with Australia, South Africa, and Ireland the only teams to beat them during that period.
England was runner-up at this year’s Six Nations with the only blots in their record the defeat against Wales and a draw with Scotland in Twickenham. The English are looking for their first Rugby World Cup win since 2003 and based on what we’ve seen from this side, they are capable of accomplishing something special in Japan. There are concerns about their focus and consistency level and that was very obvious when they let a 31-0 lead slip away in that draw against Scotland. They also struggled with the high expectations in 2015 before they were eliminated in the pool stages.
Ireland was ahead of England in the odds board when our earlier preview. But Joe Schmidt’s men had a rough outing at the Six Nations in a tournament where it looked like they’d been worked out. They have been beaten by England and Wales this year and they’ve failed to deliver the kind of performance needed to beat the elite teams. Sure, they remain as the third-ranked team in the world and are third in the odds board, but no doubt they’ve slipped against their closest rivals.
Six Nations champions and Grand Slam winners Wales are the risers in the latest odds board. Wales’ 25-7 win over Ireland secured their first Six Nations title since 2013 and extended their winning run to 14 tests. With their victory, Wales is now considered to be the second-best team in the world and many agree that they are in their best possible form heading to Japan. Given their defense, discipline and physical strength, they are one of the top contenders in 2019 Rugby World Cup.
If there’s one piece of history going against the All-Blacks, it’s the fact that in the last six editions of the Rugby World Cup where letters were used to name the Pools, no team has ever won the title coming out of Pool B. The All-Blacks came from Pool C in 2015 and Pool A in 2011. Pool A has produced three out of the last six winners.
But remember that New Zealand is capable of making history. In 2015, they became the first team to retain their World Cup title. So why not win from Pool B this time around? Some are saying that their loss to Ireland showed vulnerability. But knowing the All-Blacks, they are going to use that defeat to fuel they drive for a third consecutive world championship.
New Zealand has been the most dominant side in world rugby since the 2007 Rugby World Cup. They have played a total of 156 tests since ‘07, and have won 134 times during that period. During the current World Cup cycle, New Zealand has won 83% of their Tests. Although that percentage is lower than the 89% of their previous three cycles, that’s still an impressive number.
The All-Blacks are the most complete team heading to Japan. They are impressive at the breakdown, potent with their attack and scrappy with their defense. They have both experience and talent. No doubt, the competition this year is better than it was in 2015. England is a genuine threat while Ireland and Australia each have a win over the All-Blacks in the last year. The Springboks have split their last three games against New Zealand while Wales is coming off an impressive Six Nations grand slam.
I think New Zealand is still in a league by itself. They can’t win everything but they should head to every test as the favorite. That alone, makes me more certain about picking them.
Prediction: New Zealand