Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan

Rugby sport can be called wrestling – because the holder must find a way to wriggle and pass the ball to his teammates, or kick away, otherwise if he keeps the ball too long will be knocked down by an opponent’s player to steal the ball.  Rugby football has the same shape as American football. 

Rugby ball game originated from England in the early 19th century and it has been played by Commonwealth countries, but now it has spread to many parts of the world and is played in many countries including some Asian countries.  

Japan made a feat beating Scotland
Japan made a feat beating Scotland

Background of The Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup is the third largest international sports tournament, second only to the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.  Like football, the Rugby World Cup is held every four years and on odd years.  This tournament was first held in 1987 in Australia and New Zealand, but before that, there were other major rugby tournaments held in the commonwealth countries. 

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The Rugby World Cup 2019 was held in Japan and is also the first Asian country to host this sport, bringing together 20 national teams to compete to win Webb Ellis Cup championship.

This is the 9th Rugby World Cup, taking place from September 20 to October 2, spread across 12 cities, from Sapporo in the north to Kumamoto in the south.  To participate, teams must compete in the qualifiers to get tickets. However, the teams that pass the group stage of the previous tournament will automatically get a ticket to attend the next tournament four years later. 

With 20 teams attending the 2019 Rugby World Cup divided into four groups as follows: 

Group A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Russia, Samoa 

Group B:  Namibia, Canada, South Africa, Italy, New Zealand

Group C: England, France, Argentina, USA, Tonga

Group D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji, Uruguay

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The teams in each group will face each other in the group stage.  Afterward, the top two teams from each group progress to the quarter-finals, with the winning team continuing to play in the semi-finals and then the final.  There is also an extra match to win a bronze medal between the two losing teams in the semi-finals. 

Important dates to remember:

Group matches: September 20 – November 13

Four quarter-finals: October 19 – October

Two semi-finals: October 26 – October 27

Matches for three teams: October 1

Finals: October 2

The current champion is New Zealand, and also the team that holds the record for the Rugby World Cup three times. 

New Zealand Rugby World Cup Team
New Zealand Rugby World Cup Team

In the previous tournament, New Zealand reached the semi-finals, except for 2007.  Years ago, the Rugby World Cup was held in countries where people are familiar with Rugby, such as Australia, New Zealand, France, South Africa and the United Kingdom, but this time choosing Japan can be considered as a brave decision by the executive officials of World Rugby. 

The organization oversees the sport and the Rugby World Cup, whose goal is to develop and take the sport beyond its traditional areas. 

Rugby World Cup in Japan 

Rugby World Cup in Japan is because people want to attract young Asians to play the game.  World Rugby’s mission is to grow the sport globally, and Asia is the most populous place in the world and the continent that the average age of the people is quite young.  Previous Rugby World Cup competitions were held in rugby holy places like England, Australia and South Africa because they guaranteed success, but did not get the message away from familiar lands.

In the words of World Rugby’s General Manager Brett Gosper, empowering the organization of the World Cup to Japan can “transform sports and change society in Asia. Throughout the tournament, Rugby World Cup officials are supposed to spend some days offering an introduction of rugby to the children. Remember in 2002, Japan was also the first Asian country to host the FIFA football tournament.  World Cup with South Korea and achieved much success.

Although not as popular as baseball or football, the 2016 Rugby World Cup in Japan, there were 123,000 people playing rugby, making Japan the nation with the most rugby players in Asia.  However, this number of players still lags behind other traditional rugby nations like the United Kingdom, with 2.1 million players, and Australia, with 670,000 players.  Nonetheless, Japan has gained a reputation for their presence, attending every Rugby WC since the tournament began in 1987 and winning three of the four matches in 2015.  In which there is a match that is considered by many to be the biggest reversal in the history of Rugby WC when the Japanese team defeated the team twice won the championship South Africa, Japan also reached the semi-finals at World  2016 Summer Olympics, lost the bronze medal in the match against South Africa.

One funny fact is that when giving Rugby WC to Japan, rugby officials are worried that Japan does not have enough beer because the fans of famous rugby drinking beer.  many, and it is estimated that between 400,000 and 500,000 fans worldwide will come to Japan on this occasion.  Rugby World Cup organizers noted that during the 2015 World Cup in England and Wales, rugby fans drank six times more beer than football fans.  Oita and Sapporo – two famous brewing cities – are getting ready to welcome a large number of rugby fans. Oita would host five matches and Sapporo will host the match between England and Australia and Australia won the championship in 2019. 

Japan made history by moving to the last eight in the first time of hosting
Japan made history by moving to the last eight in the first time of hosting

New Zealand team, which won the championship cup in the past two tournaments and holds a record of a total of three championships, as always, is thought to be the most likely team to win the championship, and this time is no exception.  Betting also ranks England, Ireland and Wales as the next countries most likely to win the championship, followed by South Africa and Australia. In mid-June, the odds for the Japanese team to win the championship were quite low, 300 – 1, but now the chance for the home team to reach the quarterfinals for the first time is 4 – 1.

The final on October 2 was played at Yokohama International Stadium in the city of Yokohama, next to Tokyo in Rugby World Cup.
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