One of the biggest sporting events of the year is still a few months away, but it’s never too early to start talking about it. It’s the Rugby World Cup, of course, and this year’s epic event is set to be a whopper.
The championship takes place from Friday, 20th September until Saturday, 2nd November this year. Twenty rugby teams from all over the world will be gunning for that coveted Webb Ellis Cup in this year’s event in Japan.
The exciting first match will kick off on the 20th in the breathtaking Ajinomoto Stadium near the heart of Tokyo Metropolitan. September usually offers the perfect rugby weather in Japan – not too cold or too hot – so it’s not to be missed.
Naturally, not everyone has the luxury of going to Japan to see the mud splatter up close. So for the rest of, streaming will have to do. But more on that later. For now, here are a few interesting facts about the Japanese rugby team, and all the details around the Rugby World Cup 2019.
5 Need-to-Know Facts About the Rugby World Cup 2019
1. A Look Into Japan’s Rugby Team
The Japanese rugby team, known as The Brave Blossoms (yes, that’s really it), is currently ranked 11th in the world. As the hosts, they automatically qualified this year, and they’ll be gunning for a spot against tough competition in the pool stage.
The Japanese team has consistently qualified for the Rugby World Cup over the last 20 odd years, but have yet to see a win. That said, they are seen as the strongest rugby union in Asia, with numerous wins against South Korea, Tonga, and China. They’ve also had some memorable matches against Tier 1 nations.
One of the most noteworthy wins for The Brave Blossoms in recent years was in a World Cup pool match against South Africa. They beat the Springboks 34–32 in 2015, causing an uproar among rugby fans.
While they’re not fan favourites to win this year’s cup, it will be interesting to see how they fare on home ground.
2. The Qualifying Teams
The teams taking part in the 2019 World Cup are:
– Argentina – Australia
– Canada – England
– Fiji – France
– Georgia – Ireland
– Italy – Japan
– Namibia – New Zealand
– Russia – Samoa
– Scotland – South Africa
– Tonga – Uruguay
– USA – Wales
3. The Tournament Schedule
There will be four pools of five teams each. Only two teams per pool will make it through to the knockout rounds.
A: Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Russia, Samoa
B: Italy, South Africa, New Zealand, Namibia, Canada
C: England, Argentina, France, Tonga, USA
D: Australia, Fiji, Wales, Georgia, Uruguay
Here’s the schedule:
The Pools: September 20 – October 13.
The Quarter-Finals: October 19–20.
The Semi-Finals: October 26–27.
The Bronze Final: November 1.
The Final: November 2.
For a full schedule of the match dates, check out the fixtures page on The Telegraph.
4. The 2019 World Cup Mascots
While the World Cup mascots never really do much, they are fun to look at, and the kids always love them. This year, there’s Ren-G, two sacred lion-like creatures called shishi. According to the organizers, this adult and child combo embody the five spirits of rugby – integrity, solidarity, respect, discipline, passion.
5. Where to Watch
Those not fortunate enough to go and see the action live at least get the upside of watching it from a comfy couch. It’s a small consolation, but at least streaming services makes it easy to see everything live. Well, that is, if internet service providers play along. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case when streaming sporting events from other countries. ISP throttling can become a major issue and cause viewers to miss important moments.
The Rugby World Cup will be aired by all the regular broadcast partner channels in over 20 countries. It will also be streaming live in the official site. Those who don’t have cable or access to the official streaming partners will have to get a little more creative.
Regardless of the streaming service of choice, it’s a good idea to invest in a VPN (https://nordvpn.com/coupon/) for the duration of the tournament. A VPN will both thwart ISP throttling and provide access to more streaming sites to choose from across the globe.
Don’t Miss Out
The matches will be played in 12 modern stadiums across Japan. Make sure to catch all the action as it happens this rugby season. It’s set to be one of the most exciting years yet.