The long wait for rugby union’s showpiece tournament is almost over, with the 2019 Rugby World Cup set to kick-off on Friday evening, as 20 of the world’s top teams fight it out for the biggest prize in the game. This is The Roar’s complete guide to the tournament, including all the fixtures, squads and broadcast information.
The tournament will be played in Asia for the first time, with Japan set to host every match of the 2019 competition over a six-week period, with most of the major cities in the country set to be used.
The first match will see the hosts, Japan, take on Russia in a Group A battle, with kick-off scheduled for 8:45pm (AEST) on Friday, September 20 and the match to be played at the Tokyo Stadium.
The good news for rugby fans in Australia is that, because the tournament is being played in Japan, matches will be played in a brilliant timezone. Japan is just a single hour behind Australia, so the earliest kick-off will be at 2:15pm (AEST), and the latest at 9:45pm (AEST).
Australia’s first match will be on Saturday, September 21, with kick-off scheduled for 2:45pm (AEST) at the Sapporo Dome as they take on Fiji.
The Wallabies will then play Wales, Uruguay and Georgia in their remaining group games.
The finals start on Saturday, October 19 with the quarter-finals and end with the deciding match of the tournament on Saturday, November 2, with kick-off set for 8pm (AEST).
The World Cup is a 20-team tournament, with the sides split into four groups of five. They will play each team in their group once for a total of four matches per team and 40 combined pool matches.
There were 12 automatically qualified teams, with the top three teams from each group in the 2015 World Cup booking their place. Japan were one of those sides as host.
The rest of the teams (Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Russia, Samoa, Tonga, United States of America and Uruguay) had to qualify for the tournament through various tournaments. Two of those sides were placed into each group after the initial draw had been made.
Here is a full list of the teams set to participate in the tournament.
Here in Australia, every single match of the tournament will be broadcast on TV by Fox Sports, and live streamed online by Kayo Sports. You’ll also be able to live stream the action on the Foxtel App or Foxtel Now.
Here at The Roar, you’ll be able to follow our comprehensive coverage of the World Cup with live scores, blogs, highlights, analysis and opinion of each and every match.