Although it’s still a way off, many sporting enthusiasts are already looking forward to the top event in rugby later this year, the Rugby Union World Cup.
The great sporting event takes place every four years and pitches the world’s leading rugby union teams against each other in a gruelling knockout competition as the players aim for rugby immortality.
The main event
This year the Rugby Union World Cup returns to England where twenty teams will compete for the Webb Ellis Cup. The tournament will take place between 18 September and 31 October across a variety of top-class stadiums including the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Manchester City stadium, and of course, the home of English rugby, Twickenham that hosts the final match on Halloween.
The competition begins with a highly anticipated match between the English hosts and the fearsome Fijian opposition before going onto the intense group stages where five teams compete in four pools before the heart-stopping knock out stages ensue.
The previous Rugby Union World Cup was held in 2011 in New Zealand where over one million spectators saw the host nation deservedly pick up the trophy after a tightly fought 8-7 victory over France.
The result showcased the stunning performances of teams from the southern hemisphere with the All Blacks, Australia and South Africa each winning two tournaments, whereas England’s famous 2003 victory is the only time that a team from the northern hemisphere have won the competition. However, recent results have been indicating that a possible upset could be on the cards, so for the latest rugby union news then head to the Coral website.
Although there are a few teams that may raise a few eyebrows in the opening stages including Romania, Georgia and Namibia, there are few doubts about which teams will prove the ones to beat.
The title-holders New Zealand unsurprisingly hold the top place in the World Rugby Rankings based on their recent impressive performances that have included becoming the first rugby nation to achieve a 100% record in 2013.
Apart from the All Blacks, the Springboks have also been showing some impressive form, but with captain Jean de Villiers still showing some injury concerns, many are suggesting that Ireland and England could hold the best chance of upsetting New Zealand’s dominance of the game.
And with the Welsh team recently moving above Australia in the world rankings thanks to a recent win over Ireland in Cardiff, many are speculating that this year’s competition could be the most wide open yet.