An (American) Idiot’s Guide to the Rugby World Cup

After a 7 month hiatus from blogging I’m back! Salsa kind of gave me this opportunity to use his wonderful platform to teach all of our great and devoted readers about the Rugby World Cup. Face it, most of you will watch anything that has to do with America and that isn’t because of rampant xenophobic isolationist ‘Merica principles you hold dearly. Well this is another chance for you to get inappropriately drunk watching a sport that the English created and we took to do mediocrely well in.

But before we dive into pools, what to watch for, and what NCAA Basketball team each squad is, you need to understand the basics of what you are watching. I’ll explain terminology later.

Here’s a visual before we get into the heavy business.

Note: Female rugby players do not look like this. Most times.

The first thing you learn in school are the 5 W’s and the H. Unless you were homeschooled, I don’t know what you learn there. So here we go.

Who: 20 International Teams

More specifically, the teams this year are America, Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Georgia (the country, #GoDawgs), Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Romania, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Tonga, Uruguay, Wales

What: The 2015 Rugby World Cup or #RWC2015 if your into the whole twitter fad.

Where: England. Or Britain. Or Great Britain. I don’t know. One of those three. I’m pretty sure all of the games are going to be played in England proper (which is a new designation of England I made up, let’s get it trending).

When: September 17-October 31

This time falls directly at the start of college football’s week 3 and goes through the heavy months of football but with the 5 hour time difference between England Proper (see?) and the America most of the matches will be around 7am-3pm if I did the math correctly.

Why?: Because international competition is awesome and every team wants to raise the Webb Ellis Cup (named after the founder of this great sport)

Not as great as Lord Stanley’s Cup, still a pretty impressive piece of hardware.

How did we get here and why am I still reading this?

I assume you’re reading this right now because you love my writing style or you have nothing better to do at work. But more importantly, how did we get to this point in time?

The 20 teams chosen to play for the Webb Ellis Cup came from a very complicated, yet easy to understand process if you have watched any type of sporting event ever. In 2011 (the last time the RWC was played) the top 3 teams from each pool got an automatic qualification. This automatic bid is akin to winning your conference title for the NCAA Basketball tournament.

The remaining 8 teams went through regional tournaments which act like play in games. However, only 7 of those 8 who qualified made it to the Rugby World Cup. The final spot was decided through the Repechage process which is like playing in the First Four for the honor of getting 175 hung up on you by Kentucky.

The repechage tournament saw Russia, Zimbabwe, Uruguay and Hong Kong play each other with Uruguay edging out Russia by an aggregate score of 57-49. Not to use too many big words this late in a blog but the aggregate score meant that Russia and Uruguay each got a home match and the scores at the end were added up (22-21 in favor of Russia in match 1 and 36-27 in favor of Uruguay in match 2).

So thats where we are. 20 teams. 1 cup. 1 long blog post that some of you are hopefully still reading.

Another visual with a bit of rugby terminology for the visual learners

The pool process which I wont get into gave us 4 groups, which will be expanded upon at a later date. They are…

Pool A England (World Ranking #4), Australia (World Ranking #5), Wales (World Ranking #6), Fiji (World Ranking #10), Uruguay (World Ranking #19)

Pool B: South Africa (World Ranking #2), Samoa (World Ranking #9), Japan (World Ranking #12), Scotland (World Ranking #11), USA (World Ranking #16)

Pool C: New Zealand (World Ranking #1), Argentina (World Ranking #8), Tonga (World Ranking #13), Georgia (World Ranking #14), Namibia (World Ranking #21)

Pool D: Ireland (World Ranking #3), France (World Ranking #7), Italy (World Ranking #15), Romania (World Ranking #17), Canada (World Ranking #18)

Currently these teams are playing in friendlies/tournaments to gear up for September. Saturday we saw the US lose to Samoa 21-16 after holding the Samoans to 0 points in the second half. Things are looking up for the Eagles and they have another match against Japan July 24th.

Stay tuned for more RWC2015 blog posts outlining each team per group and my predictions for the second best international tournament in the world.



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