The Rugby World Cup is the premier international rugby union competition. The event is organized by the sport governing body, the International Rugby Board (IRB), and is contested by the men’s national teams. The inaugural tournament was held in 1987, hosted by both Australia and New Zealand, and is now contested every four years. The tournament is one of the largest international sporting competitions in the world.
An upset victory over the hosts France in the first game of the 2007 World Cup, took Argentina to fourth in the IRB World Rankings. The team were undefeated in their pool, and reached the semi-finals for the first time, beating Scotland 19-13 in their quarter-final. Despite being beaten 37-13 by South Africa in the semi-finals, they defeated France for a second time in the tournament to claim third place overall. In March 2008 the team reached an all-time high of third in the IRB World Rankings. As of 23 March 2009 Argentina is ranked fifth in the world behind Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland. But now have slipped to 8th place as of 2 August 2010. Through solid advances in competitiveness and performance during the 2000s, Argentina will begin playing in a new expanded Tri-Nations (Four Nations) tournament starting in 2012. Argentina is expected to be an underdog performer in the tournament for the first year or two, but will quickly improve over time with regular experience playing the worlds most elite teams. The national teams personal goals for the early 2010s is to achieve their first victories over the All Blacks and Springboks.
After Marcelo Loffreda left following the 2007 Rugby World Cup to take up the head coaching job at Guinness Premiership club Leicester Tigers, the UAR spent nearly five months searching for a successor until opting for a two-coach setup, with former Pumas Santiago Phelan and Fabián Turnes taking over. The Pumas’ current captain is Felipe Contepomi.
The history of the team extends back to 1872 when the English rugby team played their first official Test match, losing to Scotland by one try. England dominated the early Home Nations Championship (now the Six Nations) which started in 1883. Following the schism of rugby football in 1895, England did not win the Championship again until 1910. England first played against New Zealand in 1905, South Africa in 1906, and Australia in 1909. England was one of the teams invited to take part in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 and went on to appear in the final in the second cup in 1991 only to be defeated by Australia. Following their 2003 Six Nations Grand Slam, England won that year’s World Cup — beating Australia 20–17 in extra time. They also contested the final in 2007 but finished as runners up, losing 15–6 to South Africa.
England players traditionally wear white shorts, navy socks (although they are now white and red) with white tops, and a white shirt with a red rose embroidered on it, and for the first time in the English rugby team’s history, their away shirt is red (up until recently, navy blue has been the traditional colour). Their home ground is Twickenham Stadium where they first played in 1910. The team is administered by the Rugby Football Union (RFU). Four former players have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.
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Roger O’ Shuffel is a regular sports analytical expert. Sports fantasy and analyzing are true combination of the authors passion. The teams and events are on the author’s favourite topics to be discussed.