The Rugby World Cup is a men’s rugby union tournament contested every four years between the top international teams. The tournament was first held in 1987, when the tournament was co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
The most recent tournament was held in 2011 in New Zealand, whose national team won the tournament by defeating France in the final.
The eighth Rugby World Cup will dominate the sport’s global stage between September and October, with New Zealand bidding to become the first country to successfully defend the Webb Ellis Trophy.
Rugby’s golden prize has been the exclusive property of the All Blacks, Australia, South Africa and England since David Kirk lifted into the Auckland sky 28 years ago, and the tournament’s mass appeal has never waned.
England will host the 20 teams competition, with northern and southern hemisphere heavyweights being joined in an eclectic mix of talent from the United States to Uruguay and from Namibia to Tonga.
Huge crowds are expected across 13 different World Cup venues north, south, east and west, and three years after staging the Olympic Games England is once again set to welcome the world.
The tournament is administered by World Rugby, the sport’s international governing body. Sixteen teams were invited to participate in the inaugural tournament in 1987 however since 1999 twenty teams have taken part.
England will host the 2015 World Cup, while Japan will host the following event in 2019.
We will have more about the teams taking part in the tournament throughout the course of the Rugby World Cup.