Everything you need to know ahead of the Rugby World Cup

      Everything you need to know ahead of the Rugby World Cup

The Springboks celebrate winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup after defeating England. Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images CNN  — 

The 10th edition of the Rugby World Cup gets underway on Friday as host France faces New Zealand at the Stade de France in Paris.

As curtain-raising games go, this is about as big as it gets, pitting two of the best teams in the world against each other in front of a likely sell-out crowd of 80,000.

It will mark the first of 48 games taking place at nine venues across France, with the tournament concluding at the same stadium on October 28.

With kick-off looming, here’s everything you need to know ahead of rugby union’s showpiece event.

Where is it?

France, which previously staged the Rugby World Cup in 2007, was voted as the host of this year’s event in 2017 ahead of bids from South Africa and Ireland.

It comes at a time when the country is in the sporting spotlight with Paris hosting next year’s Olympic Games.

Organizers anticipate that 600,000 fans will travel to France for the tournament and announced last year that a record 2.6 million tickets had been made available for the tournament.

Matches will be staged at nine venues across nine different cities: Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.

      Everything you need to know ahead of the Rugby World Cup

The Stade de France will host this year’s Rugby World Cup final. David Rogers/Getty Images

The Stade de France will host the opening games between France and the All Blacks, two quarterfinals, the two semifinals and the final, while the Stade de Marseille is the only other venue hosting knockout games.

How to watch

In the United States, which has failed to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1995, matches are being broadcast on NBC.

The tournament will be aired on Stan Sport in Australia, Sky in New Zealand and ITV and S4C in the UK.

A full list of international broadcasters is available here on the Rugby World Cup website.

Who is taking part?

A total of 20 teams have qualified for this year’s Rugby World Cup and they will compete in four pools of five teams each.

Many of the nations competing are tournament regulars. Ireland, defending champion South Africa, France and New Zealand are, in that order, the top-ranked teams in the world, and behind them Australia, England, Argentina, Wales and Scotland are all established forces in the game.


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