Wales win thriller to reach semi-finals History made in Tokyo Tendai Mtawarira became the third South Africa player to be yellow carded in a World Cup knockout game after Bryan Habana in and Juan Smith in It was an historic day for Japanese rugby and the fans knew it, posing for photos with South African supporters as proof that they were there for their nations' first World Cup quarter-final. Television audiences and media interest has gradually increased after an impressive group-stage performance which included superb wins against Ireland and Scotland.
Over the next six weeks, 20 teams will battle it out for the right to be crowned world champions. New Zealand has won the last two World Cups but its aura of invincibility appears to be fading away, while South Africa is enjoying a timely resurgence and Australia has a knack for performing when it matters most.
The Northern Hemisphere's hopes of claiming a World Cup for the first time since and for only the second time overall lie with England, Wales and Ireland.
North American fans have plenty of reasons to follow the tournament, with the U.
Here's all you need to know ahead of the tournament. It is the first time the tournament has been hosted in Asia and outside one of the traditional rugby countries. The complete list of fixtures is available here.
Live stream Fans can follow the action in a number of ways. How does the World Cup work?
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The Rugby World Cup comprises four pools of five teams each, which play each other once. The top two teams from each pool progress to the quarter-finals.
From then on the tournament follows the traditional knock-out format.
World rugby's elite has made the trip to Japan. Aside from the hosts, two-time defending champions New Zealand are among the favorites, along with two-time winners South Africa and Australia. England, the only Northern Hemisphere nation to lift the trophy, is also taking part as are perennial challengers Ireland and Wales.
Namibia, the lowest-ranked nation among those who have qualified, completes the picture. Odds At least in the eyes of the bookmakers, New Zealand remains the team to beat.