2015 World Cup Roundup

Rugby Founder William Web bEllis
Rugby Founder William Webb Ellis

2015 is less than a month away so it’s time to look at the 2015 World Cup of Rugby put on by World Rugby. This year it will be held in England.

The Rugby World Cup was started in 1987 and like the World Cup of Football is held every four years. The style of rugby is Rugby Union, which is much more popular than the other style, Rugby League.

The trophy that has only been hoisted by four countries is appropriately named The William Webb Ellis Cup. William Webb Ellis was is an important part of Rugby folklore as he was been widely accepted as the inventor of the sport. According to legend, Ellis wasn’t one to follow the rules, and in 1876 during a game of traditional football he caught the ball and ran with it. Interestingly, Ellis went on to become a clergyman.

There are 20 teams that will enter next years’ World Cup but only one will reign supreme, and unlike soccer, American football, or basketball it’s a pretty safe bet you can guess the outcome.

In New Zealand rugby is a way of life, much like American football here in the United States. So it is no surprise New Zealand and its extensive neighbor Australia hold four titles among them. There’s only been seven tournaments.

The only other two countries that have won the cup are England and South Africa, and there are only seven teams that have ever made the semifinals, making the sport something of an oligarchy. The other three countries that at least give some competition are Argentina, Wales and France, which has made the final three times.

The tournament spans six weeks. The first stage is group stage where the teams are separated into four teams of five. The top four countries from the world rankings three years prior are separately placed into each group.