Most of the Home Nations Take Part
It is unusual to have England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales all taking part in a major sporting event. Should the home nations progress from the group, it’s possible they may face each other in the knockout stage of the tournament, which would be really interesting!
The Bonus Points System.
The bonus points system was introduced to encourage attacking play in matches. Bonus points are awarded to teams in the group stage for the following:
4 points for a win.
2 points for a draw
1 bonus point for scoring 4 tries (or more)
1 bonus point for losing by 7 points or fewer.
The bonus points system is not used in the Six Nations Championships, but if it was, England would have won in 2002 despite France getting the grand slam, by winning all of their matches. Bonus points will have a huge effect on how the groups play out.
Everyone loves a tournament shock, and previous Rugby World Cup tournaments have brought a few. Ireland being beaten by Argentina in the 1999 quarter final, or Wales being beaten by Fiji in the group stage in 2007 come to mind straightaway. The biggest shock of all though, was Japan beating South Africa in this year’s tournament. You can never rely on a favourite in rugby.
Five Teams Per Group.
In the Rugby World Cup there are five teams in each group. This differs from the football world cup where there are only four. It means if a team loses the first two group games in the football World Cup, there is no way they can qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament. The fact the rugby world cup has an extra group game, means the groups are much more competitive. This added competition gives teams considered underdogs a better chance of progressing further. We also think it also makes the tournament more entertaining as a result.
Home Nations are Capable of Winning.
All of the competing home nations are capable of winning the tournament. It is unusual to find a sporting event, where so many home nations can compete. We may be too accustomed to only watching England at the football World Cup, and seeing them exit on penalties in the quarter final!
It is Hosted in the U.K.
There is always an unexplainable buzz when a tournament or event is held in the U.K. Think London 2012 as an example, the nation loves celebrating British sport. The last time the event was held in the U.K was in 1999, when it was held in Wales. It could be another long wait till another tournament is held here, so enjoy it while you can!
No Nerve-racking Penalty Shootouts
There is nothing worse when the fate of your team rests on the lottery of a penalty shootout. The great thing about the rugby world cup, is that while a penalty shoot-out is technically possible, we have never seen one during the 7 tournaments that have took place so far. The first shoot out to take place at professional level, was in the Heineken Cup Final match between Leicester Tigers and Cardiff Blues, in 2009. Two finals have come close, as both the 1995 and 2003 final went to extra time. The 2003 is fondly remembered for the last minute Jonny Wilkinson drop goal.