15 things you might not know about the Rugby World Cup

With the Rugby World Cup about to kick-off today (Friday), here are 15 things you might not know about the tournament. Compiled by Rory Allen.

The Rugby World Cup trophy
The Rugby World Cup trophy

1. Both times South Africa have won the competition they haven’t registered a single try in the final. With the 15 points they scored in 1995 and 2007 not a single try is surprising.

2. England are the only team in the northern hemisphere to have won the Rugby World Cup, in 2003.

3. The type of Haka known as ‘Ka Mate’ - one of those performed by the All Blacks - can be literally translated into English as ‘it is death.’ How intimidating! Other lines translated include ‘this is the hairy man’ and ‘who brought the sun and caused it to shine’.

4. The London Eye will be covered so each capsule represents a competing nation. Some of the countries included are Samoa, Fiji, Romania and Tonga.

5. Although they have never gone through the pools at the Rugby World Cup, the reigning Olympic champions are the U.S.A. This is because rugby was discontinued as an Olympic level sport in 1924.

6. Jonah Lomu scored 15 tries in the competition making him the record holder in the Rugby World Cup. The former All-Black used to be able to run 100 metres in under 11 seconds.

7. The same whistle is blown for the opening game of every Rugby World Cup tournament. It was the whistle used by Gil Evans, a Welsh referee overseeing a game between England and New zealand in 1905.

8. Sandy Park stadium in Exeter will be the smallest venue used to host games for the Rugby World Cup. With a capacity of just 11,000, the atmosphere will be brilliant with fans much closer to players than in larger grounds.

9. The biggest margin of victory recorded at the Rugby World Cup was when Australia beat Namibia by 142 points in 2003. Namibia will be competing in this year’s competition but are yet to register a World Cup win in 15 attempts.

10. The inaugural Rugby World Cup was held on May 21, 1987 meaning that the competition isn’t even as old as Andy Murray.

11. England prop Jason Leonard holds the record for most appearances in the Rugby World Cup with 22. The man nicknamed ‘The Fun Bus’ is now the president of the Rugby Football Union.

12. Former South Africa World Cup winger Bryan Habana (widely regarded as one of the fastest rugby players ever) once raced a cheetah over 100 metres. He may have had a 30 metre head start but he still drew with a cat that can reach top speeds of 70mph!

13. Twickenham stadium, where the final of the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be held, is the largest stadium solely devoted to rugby in the world. It’s only second to Wembley as the biggest stadium in the UK but still the 4th largest stadium in Europe. It can hold 82,000 fans.

14. There are four sets of brothers competing in this year Rugby World Cup. England have two of them with the Vunipola brothers Billy and Mako as well as the Young brothers Ben and Tom. Scotland have the Gray brothers Jonny and Richie. Samoa have the three Pisi brothers in the same team - George, Tusi and Ken.

15. The first Rugby World Cup to use ‘Video Referees’ was the 2003 competition in Australia.