Gearing up for the Rugby World Cup

If two years ago I had been randomly asked if I was ready for the World Cup, I would immediately have started talking about the usual suspects: Germany, Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Messi, Ronaldo… and England 1966.

Not this year though; this year that same question takes on a whole different meaning. And that meaning, ladies and gentlemen, is rugby.

With just one month to go now, The Rugby World Cup (RWC) will be in the UK between September 18th and October 31st this year, with matches in 12 cities across England and Wales, for what promises to be an absolutely epic tournament. This is the greatest prize in world rugby, and since its inception as a tournament in 1987 it has grown to be one of the most important sporting events on the planet. It is hosted every four years between the top international teams (20 teams nowadays), with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa each winning the title twice, and England clinching their one cup in 2003.

London will be host to 17 matches across three stadiums – Wembley, the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, and Twickenham – including the opening match between England and Fiji on September 18th, as well as two quarter finals, both semis, and the final itself on October 31st.

Defending champions and all round tough-guys New Zealand (#1) open their tournament against Argentina (#8) on the 20th, in their search for a record third Webb Ellis Cup.

Pre-tournament #2 ranked Ireland, who have never progressed beyond the quarter-final stage at a World Cup, come into the tournament on the back of successive Six Nations victories in 2014 and 2015, so expectations in their camp will be high for a good run this year. The Irish will open their campaign against Canada (#18) in Cardiff on match day 2.

Host nation England may only be 4th in the pre-tournament rankings, but having finished second in this year’s Six Nations Championship back in February, and with the local crowd behind them, they will be in high spirits and will be a rather tough bone for anyone to bite on.

Australia (#3) will also open their tournament against Fiji (#9) on match day 4, but they are sure to have a tough time in Pool A with England and Wales (#6).

South Africa (#5) is in Pool B and will also have to be considered serious contenders for a third crown; they will open against Japan (#15) on match day 2. (§)

As a relative newbie when it comes to rugby, but a Londoner for over 7 years, I am really excited about this tournament being in the UK, and I cannot wait for it to begin. And with quick access from Russell Square to all three London match venues, I bet our guests are looking forward to it too!

Russell Square – Stratford: 25mins

Russell Square – Wembley Park: 28mins

Russell Square – Twickenham: 42mins

 

 

by Andres Esteves

Image credit: Rugby World Cup website

(§) Pre-tournament rankings accurate at time of writing.

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