2019 is here - the year we will witness the ninth playing of the Rugby World Cup. Japan are the hosts, the first time in the tournament’s history that it has been held in Asia. It is also the first time the Rugby World Cup has been taken to an emerging rugby nation away from the traditional heartlands of the sport.
Japan were announced as Rugby World Cup 2019 hosts way back in July 2009, when both the 2015 and 2019 venues were revealed at the same time. England held the 2015 edition, while Italy, Japan and South Africa were all in the running for 2019. The then IRB, now World Rugby, voted 16-10 in handing the tournament to Japan.
12 stadiums around the country will host matches, from Kumamoto in the south to Sapporo in the north. The final will be played at the 72,327 capacity International Stadium in Yokohama.
RWC 2019 will be contested by 20 nations - 12 automatic qualifiers from the 2015 tournament, and eight remaining teams who have made it through qualifying.
- Band 1: Four highest-ranked teams from RWC 2015: New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland
- Band 2: Next four highest-ranked teams: Scotland, France, South Africa, Wales
- Band 3: Final four directly qualified teams: Argentina, Japan, Georgia, Italy
- Band 4: Oceania 1, Americas 1, Europe 1, Africa 1: Fiji, USA, Russia, Namibia
- Band 5:Oceania 2, Americas 2, Play-off Winner, Repechage Winner: Tonga, Uruguay, Samoa, Canada
The draw for the pools was made in Kyoto in May 2017, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, former Olympic wrestler Saori Yoshida, former Japanese rugby star Yoshihiro Sakata, All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen, Mayor of Yokohama Fumiko Hayashi and World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont all involved.
20th September: Japan v Russia - Tokyo Stadium, Chōfu
22nd September: Ireland v Scotland - International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama
24th September: Russia v Samoa - Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya
28th September: Japan v Ireland - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Fukuroi
30th September: Scotland v Samoa - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe
3rd October: Ireland v Russia - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe
5th October: Japan v Samoa - City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota
9th October: Scotland v Russia - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Fukuroi
12th October: Ireland v Samoa - Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka
13th October: Japan v Scotland - International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama
21st September: New Zealand v South Africa - International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama
22nd September: Italy v Namibia - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Higashiōsaka
26th September: Italy v Canada - Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka
28th September: South Africa v Namibia - City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota
2nd October: New Zealand v Canada - Oita Stadium, Ōita
4th October: South Africa v Italy - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Fukuroi
6th October: New Zealand v Namibia - Tokyo Stadium, Chōfu
8th October: South Africa v Canada - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe
12th October: New Zealand v Italy - City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota
13th October: Namibia v Canada - Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Kamaishi
21st September: France v Argentina - Tokyo Stadium, Chōfu
22nd September: England v Tonga - Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
26th September: England v United States - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe
28th September: Argentina v Tonga - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Higashiōsaka
2nd October: France v United States - Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka
5th October: England v Argentina - Tokyo Stadium, Chōfu
6th October: France v Tonga - Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto
9th October: Argentina v United States - Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya
12th October: England v France - International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama
13th October: United States v Tonga - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Higashiōsaka
21st September: Australia v Fiji - Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
23rd September: Wales v Georgia - City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota
25th September: Fiji v Uruguay - Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Kamaishi
29th September: Georgia v Uruguay - Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya
29th September: Australia v Wales - Tokyo Stadium, Chōfu
3rd October: Georgia v Fiji - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Higashiosaka
5th October: Australia v Uruguay - Oita Stadium, Ōita
9th October: Wales v Fiji - Oita Stadium, Ōita
11th October: Australia v Georgia - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Fukuroi
13th October: Wales v Uruguay - Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto
The top 2 sides from each pool qualify for the quarter finals, at which point it's anyone's game!
At First Rugbystuff.com, we aim to stock Rugby World Cup 2019 replica kit from as many of the competing nations as possible.
Le Coq Sportif, the French sportswear icon with more than 130 years of history behind them, continue their new partnership with France.
As for the nations not mentioned, we are doing our best to get out hands on these, so watch this space!
If you're looking for something more generic, the official range of Rugby World Cup 2019 leisure wear is available now, featuring t-shirts, hoodies, rugby jerseys, polo shirts, beanie hats and scarves!
Want something more subtle? Then take a look at the official RWC rugby ball, keyring and pin badge collection.
Later in 2019, we will see the 20 Nations range, which features the logos of all the competing nations in one place, so make sure you check back for updates.
Remember, all Rugby World Cup 2019 orders over £50 qualify for FREE UK delivery with First XV Rugbystuff.com