“Other than knowing how the off-side rule works, my understanding of all kinds of sport is pretty much non-existent…”

Olivia Brown provides a dummies guide to the Rugby World Cup.

I don’t do sports. I just don’t. It’s not like I didn’t try, my father is a soccer coach and my brother is also an avid lover of the game, but other than knowing how the off-side rule works my understanding of all kinds of sport is pretty much non-existent. However if there were to be one sport which outshone all the others in terms of my lack of understanding, it would have to be rugby.

I simply just don’t get it.

There are so many rules and lines on the pitch and why are they carrying the ball? It just doesn’t work for me.

With all this in mind I’ve complied an authentic dummies guide to the rugby world cup, casually explaining a few things that you should know, if you want to be involved in any pub-conversations over the next few weeks.

What this whole thing actually is?

England’s win in 2003 was the only time the trophy left the Southern Hemisphere,
England’s win in 2003 was the only time the trophy left the Southern Hemisphere,

The Rugby World Cup is a rugby union tournament which is held every 4 years. 20 teams from across the globe battle it out for the Webb Ellis Cup. The first tournament was held back in 1987. It’s a pool-based competition, which means the teams are split up into 5 groups (pools) of 4. Out of the seven contests so far, only one Northern Hemisphere team has lifted the trophy. Yeah, England’s win in 2003 was the only time the trophy left the Southern Hemisphere, where it is usually found in South Africa, New Zealand or Australia.

The Pools

The pools were decided way back in December 2012 and were based on the world rankings at the time. Each pool includes an even split between what is referred to as ‘Tier One’ (big-guys like New Zealand) and ‘Tier Two’ (minnows such as Uruguay) teams.

England, Australia, and Wales all feature in Pool A - The Pool of Death
England, Australia, and Wales all feature in Pool A – The Pool of Death

This year’s pools saw the formation of the ‘Pool of Death’ – I know it sounds like a league of supervillains. Basically Wales lost a few matches before the pools were formed. This meant they dropped in the world rankings. As a result Pool A contains 3 Rugby heavyweights, Wales, England and Australia. This is going to be interesting as one of the big teams in world rugby will end up leaving the competition very early on.

Which brings us to our next point…

England got the boot

England Got The Boot
England Got The Boot

This is a pretty big deal. The English made a bit of a show of themselves off the pitch at the last tournament in New Zealand so a new strict head coach, Stuart Lancaster, was brought in. Lancaster really had to do a good job here, especially when you remember that England are this year’s hosts. A ton of new players were brought in to help do the job. However it wasn’t enough and the Aussies and the Welsh kicked the English out of their own tournament.

As things go it couldn’t really be any worse for English Rugby, however it’s not all bad news. The team did manage to smash a few World Records. England have become the first ever hosting nation to get knocked out at the pool stages and the first ever previous winner to get knocked out at this stage too!

Joe Schmidt

And that is why everyone was exceptionally happier on Saturday night.

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