France hosts its second Rugby World Cup from September 8 to October 28, with 20 teams vying for the coveted Webb Ellis Cup as the sport celebrates its 200th anniversary. FRANCE 24 takes a look at the tournament in numbers.
After an unprecedented venture in Asia in 2019, the Rugby World Cup returns to Europe for a marathon 10th edition set to stretch over more than seven weeks. The home country France is hoping to carry Les Bleus to a maiden title after three final defeats in 1987, 1999 and 2011. England remain the only European nation to have lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in a tournament long dominated by the three Southern Hemisphere heavyweights of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
Twenty teams are competing in the World Cup, split into four pools of five. Nine hail from Europe, five from the South Pacific, three from South America, two from Africa and one from Asia. For the first time in the tournament’s history, there are no representatives from North America – Canada and the United States having both failed to qualify.
The 10th edition of the Rugby World Cup is set to be the longest yet, stretching over 51 days. The sport’s governing body has welcomed a request that all teams enjoy at least five days of rest between matches in order to preserve the players’ health. Initially scheduled for October 21, the final will take place a week later, on October 28.
The same rationale underpins the decision to allow 33 players in each squad, up from 31 in past editions, giving coaches more latitude to rest players. Teams are also allowed to call up extra players during the tournament in the event of injuries verified by an independent doctor.
This year’s surprise package, newcomers Chile are the 26th team to take part in a Rugby World Cup. The arrival of Los Condores (the Condors) makes it a bumper edition for South American rugby, with tournament fixtures Argentina and Uruguay also in the running.
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