Sep 09 2011

Bluff your way through the Rugby World Cup – Part One


Here are 25 things you might like to drop into your conversation to demonstrate your superior knowledge of all things related to the Rugby World Cup.

1. It starts today, with New Zealand to play Tonga, at 8.30pm NZ time. (Stop Press – NZ 41 Tonga 10)

2. The final is not till Sun October 23rd – that’s six weeks during which too much Rugby is just not enough.

3. New Zealand time is 2 hours ahead of Australian Time.

Kick off for each game varies – the earliest being 1pm (11am here in NSW) and the latest is the final on Oct 23rd at 9pm (7pm here).


4. The seven games that were scheduled to be played in Christchurch have had to be moved because of the earthquake on Feb 22nd. AMI Stadium (formally known as Jade Stadium, and officially called Lancaster Park) had an $80 million refurbishment for the RWC, with the new ‘Deans Stand’ only opened in January 2010. This stand will not be able to be used – in fact recent reports suggest that the Stadium is so damaged that it may never be able to be used again.

The Deans family were the first settlers in Christchurch, and have been part of Rugby in Canterbury for more than a century. Of course, Robbie Deans, a former All Black, is now the coach of Australia.

5. All 48 games will be shown live on Foxtel 3, which for Austar subscribers is included in the optional $18 per month Sports package.

Channel Nine have free-to-air rights, but are only showing some of the games. Even some of the Australian games are only shown on delay, including Australia vs Ireland.

A guide to the  TV coverage is available here.

6. Australia have 4 games in their Pool, Pool C (EST times)

  • vs Italy Sun 11/9 1.30pm
  • vs Ireland Sat 17/9 6.30pm
  • vs USA Fri 23/9 6.30pm
  • vs Russia Sat 1/10 12.30pm

7. All going to plan, the Wallabies will play (EST times)

  • a Quarterfinal on Sat 1st October at 4pm,
  • a Semi-final on Sat Oct 15th at 7pm,
  • and then in the final on Sun 23rd October at 7pm

8. Teams that made the quarterfinals last year were automatically included in this RWC finals series. The other teams had to qualify. You may be surprised at some to the countries represented – including Russia, Namibia, Japan, Georgia, Romania and New Zealand. It is Russia’s first World Cup appearance.

9. Samoa have a difficult path to the quarterfinals, as they are in Pool D, the ‘pool of death’. Only two out of Samoa, Fiji, Wales, South Africa (and Namibia) will reach the quarter finals. 

10. The other important pool tussle is in Pool B, where only two out of England, Scotland and Argentina will procede to the quarter finals.

11. The first Rugby World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand in 1987. The concept was initially opposed by the ‘Home Nations’, (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland), who eventually attended, somewhat reluctantly. The Springboks were still under a boycott at the time. 16 nations played it what was a fairly informal event – matches in Sydney were played at Concord Stadium and crowds were fairly small.

12. Australia lost the Semi-Final of the 1987 World Cup to France (30-24) , when Serge Blanco scored in the final moments. It was sad. I was there.

13. Australia lost the 2003 World Cup Final 20-17, when Johnny Wilkinson kicked a field goal in th 20th minute of extra time, with 26 seconds left on the clock. It was sad. I was there.

Part 2 tomorrow

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