Starting today, Snack Media will be spending the next six months in the run-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup taking you through the tournament, the teams and even the terms of one of the world’s most popular sports. Our first blog looks at the history of the Webb Ellis Cup.
This September will see Japan host the ninth instalment of the Rugby World Cup and the first time the global showcase is played in Asia.
In its 32 year history, the tournament has not been held by a country outside of New Zealand, the British Isles, South Africa, Australia or France, and the rugby world cannot wait to see what Japan has to offer.
Like the football World Cup, the competition is held every four years, and it is the only opportunity for countries from six continents to compete against one another.
The current champions New Zealand, known as the All Blacks, are the most successful team in the competition’s history, with three wins. They won the inaugural tournament in 1987, and again in 2011 and 2015. With their most recent victory, they became the first team to retain the trophy.
The competition has been dominated by southern hemisphere nations since it started, with Australia winning it twice, in 1991 and 1999, and South Africa also winning it twice, in 1995 and 2007. England remain the only team from the northern hemisphere to lift the coveted Webb Ellis Cup, having done so in 2003.
The tournament will see 20 teams compete in four pools of five teams, with the top two teams in each pool progressing to the knockout stages. This will consist of quarter-finals, semi-finals, a third-place playoff and a final.
The All Blacks are favourites to retain the trophy again, but the likes of Ireland, Wales and England are not far behind.