Rugby World Cup
- This article is about the Rugby Union World Cup, for the Rugby League World Cup, see Rugby League World Cup.
The Rugby World Cup (RWC) is the major international rugby union tournament in the NationStates world. Records remain from RWC2 onwards, the first tournament having been lost to the sands of time. Failing, perhaps, to live up to the usually polished standards of its footballing equivalent, the RWC has generally attracted fewer entrants than some other sporting competitions, and been marked by controversies including changes in host, mid-tournament hiatuses, hosts winning their own tournament, and wildly fluctuating form, as well as all manner of on- and off-pitch incidents from drink-spiking to complete destruction of the stadium, but none of this has served to diminish the vigour with which the young, sweaty men (and occasional woman) of NS hurl themselves into one another's thighs when the moment calls.
Unlike the football World Cup, the Rugby World Cup format is flexible and tends to vary according to the host's prerogative. The small pool of nations participating in international rugby union means that there are no qualifying rounds, and any nation may enter a team into the finals (although puppets are usually informally limited to 1 per player). Earlier Cups saw 20+ teams playing, whereas more recent ones have managed only about 16 entrants per tournament.
The teams are divided into groups of 4-7 nations, depending on the number of entrants, and play each other team in their group. The top teams advance to the knockout rounds, usually starting at the quarter-finals (an exception was RWC10, where so few teams entered that the knockouts began at the semi-final stage). The winners of the semi-final meet in the final; the losers in the 3rd/4th place playoff.
Hosting and scorination
Hosting duties are generally assigned to whichever nation volunteers; however, recent Cups have started to see competing bids, upon which competitors can vote. Haraki hosted two successive Cups, and Starblaydia and PopularFreedom have both hosted 1½ each, having split the duties during RWC4. The other hosts have been Cockbill Street and Lethislavania (who later co-hosted football World Cup 21 together), Solenial, Kelssek, Septentrionia, Quintessence of Dust and Sorthern Northland; the abortive RWC9 was played in Taeshan. Aust, who began the competition, twice offered to host the competition, and twice had to cancel and cede the duties to Starblaydia. Controversially, two hosts (Haraki and Solenial) have won their own tournaments while failing to recuse themselves from scorinating the finals.
Like other sporting competitions, results are scorinated using a variety of programs. Some, such as the earlier Starblaydian system, produced a score breakdown; since RWC5, however, programs that simply produce the final score have been preferred to allow more freedom in roleplaying. Some recent Cups have been scorinated using a modified version of NSFootySim. Scorination takes into account three factors: a random number, an RP bonus for players that post roleplays, and sometimes a ranking based on previous performances, though there is no formalised system for this akin to the KPB ranking system and the method used to determine them has changes substantially throughout RWC history.
Whether there ever was a first Rugby World Cup or not is the subject of some confusion. The Empire of the Never-setting Sun set themselves the ambitious target of organizing a 32-team tournament with a $100m buy-in per nation. In the end they settled for 16 entrants, including Atlantian Outcasts, The Belmore Family and Dyelli Beybi. The tournament was postponed after an accident with a time machine at a science exhibition,[time] then resumed as far as quarter-final qualification, and then postponed indefinitely. The scores were generated by dealing cards, RPing extremely limited, and the entire thing may just been a particularly brazen sting. However, Dyelli Beybi did suggest a tournament organized along the lines of the football World Cup might be more successful.
There were several more attempts to organize what was then still considered the inaugural tournament, including two by future hosts Aust[1aust] and Lethislavania,[leth] and a rugby version of the Lancre Cup that never went beyond sign-ups.[lancre] Several competitors in later editions of the RWC expressed interest in some of these tournaments, including Starblaydia, Larkinia, Lovisa, Artitsa, Kaze Progressa and Cockbill Street. New Hopetoun[NH] and The Belmore Family[TBF] both started, but failed to finish, 20-team competitions involving such nations as Audioslavia, Austar Union and Liverpool England. There are no records of "RWC1" ever being completed, and the issue became moot once RWC2 began.
2 - 4
Aust began sign-ups for Rugby World Cup 2, although hosting duties were transferred to Starblaydia at the last minute.[RWC2] 20 teams entered the competition, a massive 14 of them posting rosters. Dark Teutonia had by far the highest RP bonus in the Cup, but they were demolished by Cockbill Street in the final. Failing to score, they had three players sent off in something of a bloodbath.[CS] Their coach, Wolfric, later complained about the standard of the refereeing, saying: "I hope they gave a cheque and not cash that amount of hard currency would of put the referees back out".[DT] The referee later claimed to have inherited his vast wealth from a rich aunt dying at the same time as the final.[aunt] Aust beat the hosts to claim 3rd place.
Co-hosted by future football World Cup 21 hosting duo Cockbill Street and Lethislavania, Rugby World Cup 3 had 22 entrants. This tournament was notable for producing some of the biggest scores in RWC history. The two strongest teams were the defending champions, who became the first team to break 100 points as they beat Danieljoh 105-20 (with 99 against Oliverry), and Starblaydia, who set a tournament record in their quarter-final against Phallahstine, scoring 127 points. They faced each other in an exciting semi-final, with Ivan Wrenwalk dropping a goal to win Cockbill Street the game with 98 seconds left on the clock.
Starblaydia found consolation by smashing Aust to reverse the result of the previous Cup's 3rd place playoff. In the final, East Lithuania took a surprise first-half lead of 15-3. Cockbill Street fought back to level thanks to four drop goals from Callum Ivansson, but a 64th minute penalty proved costly and East Lithuania finished victors by three points.[RWC3]
Aust were to host Rugby World Cup 4, but a devastating ice storm caused power outages and infrastructure damage that forced cancellation.[ice] The Starblaydian government generously offered to fly all the times to their country via Starblaydi Airlines and Purplair, and for a second time hosted the tournament on short notice.[Star] Unfortunately, after three rounds of qualifying games RL issues brought the tournament to a halt, and it failed to restart until taken over by PopularFreedom.
Once again, Aust and Starblaydia made it to the semi-finals, the former advancing to the final for the first time,[finial], the latter losing a close game against Kaze Progressa for their third successive semi-final defeat.[chk]They succeeded in retaining their 3rd place standing, however, beating Artitsa in the playoff. Aust finally claimed victory, winning comfortably in the final as player of the tournament Harry Rushmore scored two converted tries.[champ] The mood of jubilation was spoiled by a rash of drunken rioting that led to the detention of five Austian citizens in Locke Harbour.[druk][5PF]
5 - 7
Rugby World Cup 5 was hosted by Haraki. This was the biggest ever Cup, with 22 nations competing in a group stage that lasted 10 days. Meanwhile the hosts, who won a surprise victory over Starblaydia in the quarter-final,[QF] claimed a place in the final after overturning an early deficit against Larkinia through two daring breakaway tries,[break] and AMW China looked in strong contention after coming from behind to beat Milchama in their semi-final.[Mil][Chi]
But AMW China stumbled in the final as they set up a commanding 19-7 lead, only to yield to a 78th minute try from Harakian captain James Keay. Nathan Cannon kicked the subsequent conversion to seal victory for the hosts.[Keay] Larkinia beat Milchama in a 3rd place playoff that went into extra time after the scores were level at 15-15 after 80 minutes. The Cup was also marked by some appallingly bad luck for the Sacredicity Saints, representing PopularFreedom; their fly-half, John Salmon, broke his leg,[leg] while replacement Clinton Pinn, upset at not being picked in the starting 15, went AWOL and later burned down his own house.[Pinn][fire]
18 teams returned to Haraki for Rugby World Cup 6, which saw the introduction of a short-lived formal ranking system, and a flurry of games decided by place-kicks in the final minutes. Controversy again raged as PopularFreedom, this time represented by the Camelot Wasps, turned out to play Larkinia in the quarter-finals, only to find themselves lining up against Rorysville, having failed to notice a late change in scheduling. The denial of their appeal led to a renewed bout of every RWC fan's favourite pasttime, rioting.[sch]
The hosts were unable to defend their title, losing in a quarter-final upset to unranked Lisburn Mateys as Cannon missed a crucial conversion.[Can] The Mateys were unable to repeat their feat in their semi-final against the No. 1 ranked side in the world, AMW China, who won another tight game through a late Carl Spencer penalty.[mate] But the Chinese fell to their second successive finals defeat, yet again surrendering a lead as Rorysville came back from 39-23 to sneak a one-point victory, Jordan Staal kicking the winning penalty in the 78th minute.[Rory] Larkinia again came 3rd, beating Lisburn Mateys in the playoff match.
Rugby World Cup 7 was hosted by PopularFreedom in the supercity of Locke Harbour City State, with 17 teams participating. After a two-Cup absence, Aust returned to the scene of their tournament victory in RCW4, prompting discussion of the status of several of their citizens jailed in the subsequent riots.[riot] The return proved short-lived and bittersweet, however, as they failed to live up to their past form and did not make the playoffs.[AD]
The qualifying rounds saw several other surprises: the Locke Harbour Dragons, representing the nation of PopularFreedom in their hometown,[PF] were unable to qualify for the playoffs, while Sarzonia thrashed former champions Haraki 36-3 and finished top of their group.[Sarz] In the semi-finals, a strong Snake Eaters squad upset AMW China, who failed to make the final for the first time in three Cups,[AMC] while RWC6 champions Rorysville defeated Artitsa. However, they were unable to defend their title, losing 24-10 to Snake Eaters.[RSE1][RSE2]
8 - 11
Defending champions Snake Eaters tried to organize Rugby World Cup 8, but the 17 nations that signed up never saw the tournament get off the ground.[RWC8] Just three of those sides - Kelssek, Lovisa and Milchama - returned when the IRB moved the competition to Solenial. The field settled at 16 teams, including returning veterans Starblaydia and newcomers such as the Ariddian Isles, Sorthern Northland, and Candelaria And Marquez.
After an opening day of friendlies, one of which saw the Sorthern Northland team play naked against Pa'atua,[nek] the teams played in groups of 4, the top two from each advancing to the quarter-finals. A close set of matches saw three decided by just two-point margins, including a 65-63 between the Ariddian Isles and Pa'atua,[AP] while Sorthern Northland demolished Kalaa.[SNK] However, controversy flared as they lost 15-13 in the semi-final to hosts Solenial, prompting accusations of drink-spiking[drink] and an angry rebuttal.[reb] Subsequent tests revealed the act was actually perpetrated by a Sorthern national, and to add insult to injury a missed conversion meant they had to settle for fourth place behind Alba Scotland.[SNS]
The Ariddian Isles won their semi-final, with businessman Liang Jui-te promising the team a lifetime supply of Yumbi bars if they won the tournament; however, in the final,[yum] Solenial became the second hosts to win their own tournament in a record high-scoring final, 43-40, thanks to a last-minute drop goal from Matthew Robinson.[dg] It is unknown whether the Ariddians got their Yumbi bars anyway.
Rugby World Cup 9 was hosted in Taeshan and proved an inglorious affair. Dogged by complaints over poor organization and insufficient preparation time, it was abandoned uncompleted after two incredibly high-scoring days of rugby when the rugby stadium, perhaps fortuitously, blew down.[blow] The decision to cancel the tournament was most significant for Candelaria And Marquez. The Candelarias Rugby Union Union, their team having won their first two matches, firmly protested both the cancellation[CRUU] and the IRB's subsequent decision to discount the tournament from their official rankings.[CRUU2]
Following the debacle of RWC9, a small band of players and fans, mostly from Candelaria And Marquez, tried to create a microstate called "New Rugby" dedicated to continuing the tournament. However, Rugby World Cup 10, featuring just 10 nations, was scheduled to be held in Kelssek, leading to the political destabilisation of the fledgling nation and fears that the Candelarian team would struggle.[CRUU3] However, the tournament proved a success for them and, after losing their opening encounter to Sorthern Northland, they won every match,[CRUU4] and beat Taeshan 36-24 in the semi-final[CRUU5].
Taeshan beat the hosts 22-17 to claim third place, and then Candelaria And Marquez National Rugby Union Team triumphed over Sorthern Northland in an exciting final at Neorvins. Sorthern Northland looked set for victory as veteran fly-half Aedan Bennett scored two converted tries in the first half, but Candelaria And Marquez clawed their way back from 23-17 down thanks to two penalties by stand-in kicker Damien Mella and a late try by replacement winger Enilson Beattie, his second of the game.[SN][CRUU6]
Septentrionia beat RWC10 hosts Kelssek in a bid for Rugby World Cup 11, which saw a return to numbers as 16 teams entered. The group stages saw some surprise results as both the hosts and the defending champions were eliminated, with newcomers Peisandros and Liventia, whose side largely comprised amateurs better known for their gridiron prowess, advancing to the quarter finals.[LIV]
In the final Kelssek, the only extant team to have entered RWC2, claimed their first major sporting tournament, beating former champions Solenial 32-16 thanks to two tries from second row Josh Lachlan.[Lach] Lovisa, who had engineered a surprise quarter-final victory over Sorthern Northland, narrowly prevented Taeshan defending their 3rd place finish from RWC10, squeaking a 35-34 win in the play-off.
12 - present
Rugby World Cup XII was held in Quintessence of Dust, who won a narrow bid vote over Somewhereistonia. This led to the decision by the QRUB to have a small number of games held in Somewhereistonia as a gesture of good faith. Kelssek became the first team in RWC history to successfully defend their title. Kelssek went into RWC13, held in Sorthern Northland, looking for an unprecedented third straight title and came close with an unbeaten run being ended in the semi-final with an 8-0 loss to Candelaria And Marquez. The Huge Blues went on to beat Taeshan in the final to win the title for the second time.
Records and statistics
- Rugby World Cup 17 was a record breaking tournament, comprising 44 entrants.
Unfortunately for fans of arcane trivia, RWC records are not particularly helpful when it comes to statistical minutiae. There are several reasons for this:
- not everyone posts a roster or details who scores points for them (meaning the ubiquitous A.N. Other is probably the highest individual scorer in RWC history);
- some scorinators produce score breakdowns and some do not, and as such it is not always clear how many tries have been scored, points kicked, etc.;
- changes in Cup format, including the type of scorinator but also the use of rankings and the different weighting of RP bonuses, have led to changing scoring dynamics: in particular, RWC3 saw notably higher scores, with several teams posting 80+ points on multiple occasions, a feat that has never been repeated, while it seems unlikely that East Lithuania's record nine drop goals against _Taiwan will ever be equalled;
- even where they do post match reports, some players' output is untranslatable into human.
As such, we will probably never know just how many left-footed dwarves have scored four or more penalties kicking into the wind in a single half of rugby. Nonetheless, NSRB statisticians have spent many hours painstakingly trawling old newspaper accounts and watching grainy television footage in order to compile the following distinctly non-comprehensive survey of RWC history.
For the purposes of the following records:
- any matches prior to RWC2, and friendlies, such as pre-Cup warm-up matches, are excluded;
- matches from RWC9 are included.
|RWC||Matches||Points||Average points per match||Most points by a single team in a match|
(Dark Teutonia v East Lithuania)
(Starblaydia v Phallahstine)
(Kaze Progressa v Platypus)
(PopularFreedom v Rorysville)
(Lovisa v Rorysville)
(Haraki v Viamont)
(Pa'atua v Sessenia)
(St Samuel v Solenial)
(Sorthern Northland v Ice Cold Death Touch)
(Peisandros v Lovisa)
(Norwellia v The Bye)
(Candelaria And Marquez v Darclad)
|Total||640||25770||40.27||Most points by a single team in a match|
Unlike its real world equivalent, draws have been relatively common in the RWC, with 20 matches ending in a tie. Surprisingly, five of these games involved Milchama. RWC5 in Haraki had five draws, plus two playoff matches decided in extra time after ending tied after 80 minutes: both of these also involved Milchama (who won the first but lost the second). RWC12 had the highest scoring draw, with Sorthern Northland and Somewhereistonia scoring 33 points apiece.
30 matches have ended with one team scoring no points at all, null points, nothing, zilch. Until RWC11, this phenomenon had become relatively rare: every team scored in every match they played between Cups 6 and 10, with the exception of Kelssek's 56-0 slaughtering at the hands of the Ariddian Isles in RWC8. However, RWC11 saw Peisandros lose 10-0 to Myedvedeya, Liventia 30-0 to Kelssek, and Quintessence of Dust twice succumb to Sorthern Northland without scoring; the phenomenon became even more pronounced in RWC12, where 8 matches ended with one side failing to score. Dark Teutonia are the only team to lose a final without scoring. RWC13 once again saw eight matches ending with one side failing to register any score, the most notable being Kelssek's 0-8 semi-final loss to Candelaria And Marquez. Pljevla also notably failed to score on two occasions during the group stage, losing 9-0 to Seathen and 15-0 to Darclad.
Even more trivial
- The only player known to have scored in more than one final is Carl Spencer of AMW China, in RWC5 and 6.
Relationship to other tournaments
The Rugby World Cup is the only NSRB-sanctioned event. There have been several other attempts at international rugby tournaments, with greater or usually lesser success, although the Rugby League World Cup started recently and is now in its fifth edition. Rugby sevens was an event at the Tyrellian Ylompic Games and First Summer Olympics in Casari. Several RWC teams played, with Chicanada winning in the Tyrellian Games final against Starblaydia, who claimed gold in the Summer Olympics. Prior to the Fourth Summer Olympics, Quintessence of Dust and Somewhereistonia proposed that rugby sevens be reinstated as a demonstration event.
Current Top 20 Rankings
|11||The Kiaser Colonies||4.48|
- RWC2: Scores/RP thread
- RWC3: Scores/RP thread
- RWC4: Scores/RP thread
- RWC5: Scores/RP thread
- RWC6: Scores/RP thread
- RWC7: Scores/RP thread
- RWC8: RP thread (Scores)
- RWC9: Scores/RP thread
- RWC10: Scores/RP thread
- RWC11: Scores/RP thread
- RWC12: Scores/RP thread