World Rugby has completed its first official Rugby World Cup 2019 tournament review of the year, endorsing hosting preparation and progress.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admits his side “must have done a lot right” as they scored 70 points in Sunday’s victory over Bristol.

The aim of the defending side is to stop the player with the ball, either by bringing them to ground (a tackle, which is frequently followed by a ruck), or by contesting for possession with the ball-carrier on their feet (a maul). Such a circumstance is called a breakdown and each is governed by a specific law.

National unions oversee rugby union within individual countries and are affiliated to WR. The WR Council has 26 seats. Each of the eight foundation unions – Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and France – have two seats, and Argentina, Canada, Italy, Japan and the six regional associations each have one seat.[85]

Swedish football was a code whose rules were a mix of the association football rules and the rugby football rules. Some played the game with a round ball, while others played with an oval ball.[186] It is no longer played.[187]

A scrum is a way of restarting the game safely and fairly after a minor infringement.[73] It is awarded when the ball has been knocked or passed forward, if a player takes the ball over his own try line and puts the ball down, when a player is accidentally offside or when the ball is trapped in a ruck or maul with no realistic chance of being retrieved. A team may also opt for a scrum if awarded a penalty.[73]

Sweden host the Czech Republic in Rugby Europe Conference 1 North on the first step along the road for European teams towards Japan.

In 1999, FIRA agreed to place itself under the auspices of the IRB, transforming itself into a strictly European organising body. Accordingly, it changed its name to FIRA–AER (Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur – Association Européenne de Rugby). It adopted its current name of Rugby Europe in 2014.

Range of rugby clubs, schools, colleges, universities and dedicated training centres will be considered to ensure optimum training environment and to extend the reach of RWC 2019 to even more communities across Japan.

Rugby union, or simply rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century.[3] One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players (two more than rugby league) using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts on each try line.

Between 1905 and 1908, all three major Southern Hemisphere rugby countries sent their first touring teams to the Northern Hemisphere: New Zealand in 1905, followed by South Africa in 1906 and Australia in 1908. All three teams brought new styles of play, fitness levels and tactics,[27] and were far more successful than critics had expected.[28]

Women's international rugby union began in 1982, with a match between France and Netherlands played in Utrecht.[166] As of 2009 over six hundred women's internationals have been played by over forty different nations.[167]

Catch up on all the weekend’s action from the latest round of the Top 14, including Clermont’s win over Bordeaux-Bègles.

Other less formal variants include beach rugby and snow rugby.[170][177]

Rugby union is played between two teams – the one that scores more points wins the game. Points can be scored in several ways: a try, scored by grounding the ball in the in-goal area (between the goal line and the dead-ball line), is worth 5 points and a subsequent conversion kick scores 2 points; a successful penalty kick or a drop goal each score 3 points.[57] The values of each of these scoring methods have been changed over the years.[58]

Fiji overcome a 15-0 half-time deficit to beat Tonga in the opening match of the Pacific Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying in the Oceania region.

Check out the best tries from Round 5 of the Mitre 10 Cup.

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In North America a club formed in Montreal in 1868, Canada's first club. The city of Montreal also played its part in the introduction of the sport in the United States, when students of McGill University played against a team from Harvard University in 1874.[14][102]

James Naismith took aspects of many sports including rugby to invent basketball.[184] The most obvious contribution is the jump ball's similarity to the line-out as well as the underhand shooting style that dominated the early years of the sport. Naismith played many years of rugby at McGill University.[185]

A mammoth defensive effort against Argentina has given the Wallabies an extra dose of confidence heading into a brutal road trip.

RWC 2015 was the most economically-successful Rugby World Cup ever, with nearly £2.3 billion generated in economic output according to a report published by EY.

Henri Rousseau's 1908 work Joueurs de football shows two pairs of rugby players competing.[199] Other French artists to have represented the sport in their works include Albert Gleizes' Les Joueurs de football (1912), Robert Delaunay's Football. L'Équipe de Cardiff (1916) and André Lhote's Partie de Rugby (1917).[200] The 1928 Gold Medal for Art at the Antwerp Olympics was won by Luxembourg's Jean Jacoby for his work Rugby.[201]

Rugby union has been professionalized since 1995. The following table shows fully professional rugby competitions. (Semi-professional competitions are excluded).

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In 1845, the first football laws were written by Rugby School pupils; other significant events in the early development of rugby include the Blackheath Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the split between rugby union and rugby league in 1895. Historically an amateur sport, in 1995 restrictions on payments to players were removed, making the game openly professional at the highest level for the first time.[4]

The Rugby World Cup, first held in 1987, takes place every four years with the winner of the tournament receiving the Webb Ellis Cup. The Six Nations Championship in Europe and The Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere are major annual competitions.

In film, Ealing Studios' 1949 comedy A Run for Your Money and the 1979 BBC Wales television film Grand Slam both centre on fans attending a match.[202] Films that explore the sport in more detail include independent production Old Scores (1991) and Forever Strong (2008). Invictus (2009), based on John Carlin's book Playing the Enemy, explores the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup and Nelson Mandela's attempt to use the sport to connect South Africa's people post-apartheid.[203][204]

Rucking Mauls occur after a player with the ball has come into contact with an opponent but the handler remains on his feet; once any combination of at least three players have bound themselves a maul has been set.[49] A ruck is similar to the maul, but in this case the ball has gone to ground with at least three attacking players binding themselves on the ground in an attempt to secure the ball.[49]

Occasionally, infringements are not caught by the referee during the match and these may be "cited" by the citing commissioner after the match and have punishments (usually suspension for a number of weeks) imposed on the infringing player.[79]

Both sides compete for the ball and players may lift their teammates.[71] A jumping player cannot be tackled until they stand and only shoulder-to-shoulder contact is allowed; deliberate infringement of this law is dangerous play, and results in a penalty kick.[72]

World Rugby has confirmed that France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have submitted their bid applications by the required deadline.

Several island nations have embraced the sport of rugby. Rugby was first played in Fiji circa 1884 by European and Fijian soldiers of the Native Constabulary at Ba on Viti Levu island.[110][111] Fiji then sent their first overseas team to Samoa in 1924, who in turn set up their own union in 1927.[112] Along with Tonga, other countries to have national rugby teams in Oceania include the Cook Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.[113]

The field of play on a rugby pitch is as near as possible to a maximum of 144 metres (157 yd) long by 70 metres (77 yd) wide.[59] In actual gameplay there should be a maximum of 100 metres (109 yd) between the two try-lines, with anywhere between 10 and 22 metres behind each try line to serve as the in-goal area.[59] Several lines cross the field, notably the half way line and the "twenty two", which is 22 metres (24 yd) from the goal line.[59]

Rugby union football, and its immediate ancestor rugby football, has had a strong influence on several other sports. Most obviously rugby league which originally was formed as an administrative break from the English union before changing its laws, becoming a code in its own right. The two sports continue to influence each other to this day.

In public art and sculpture there are many works dedicated to the sport. There is a 27 ft bronze statue of a rugby line-out by pop artist Gerald Laing at Twickenham[205] and one of rugby administrator Sir Tasker Watkins at the Millennium Stadium.[206] Rugby players to have been honoured with statues include Gareth Edwards in Cardiff and Danie Craven in Stellenbosch.[207]

As well as the Women's Rugby World Cup there are also other regular tournaments, including a Six Nations, run in parallel to the men's competition. The Women's Six Nations, first played in 1996 has been dominated by England, who have won the tournament on 13 occasions, including a run of seven consecutive wins from 2006 to 2012. However, England have failed to win the tournament since; Ireland and France have alternated titles in the last four editions, with France as the current holders.

Major international competitions are the Six Nations Championship and The Rugby Championship, held in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere respectively.[150]

Each team starts the match with 15 players on the field and seven or eight substitutes.[46] Players in a team are divided into eight forwards (two more than in rugby league) and seven backs.[47]

The Czech Republic will climb one to 32nd in the World Rugby Rankings after beating Sweden 56-14 in the first RWC 2019 qualifier in Europe.