11 Rugby World Cup facts to make you sound like a pro

Sarah Borchert is senior copy editor on the MultiChoice account, who’ll be glued to the telly during RWC, provided she can wrest the remote from her two daughters.

Did you know the same whistle (which is 100 years old) has started every Rugby World Cup to date? Read on – there’s more.

Whether you’re a fan or you think rugby’s the one with the pointy ball, these did-you-knows will help you score when everyone’s talking 2015 Rugby World Cup later this year (18 September to 31 October).

They’re all in The Ultimate Fan Guide, a must-have booklet of broadcast schedules, country profiles and expert analysis, which goes out with the September 2015 issue of SA Rugby.

The guide was created on behalf of SuperSport by New Media’s MultiChoice team, who took a break from TV to throw themselves headlong into the wonderful world of rugby trivia, stats, game plans and iconic moments. Such as these:Rugby-cover-thumb

  1. The Springboks’ nickname dates back to South Africa’s 1906 tour of Britain and was chosen by then captain, Paul Roos.
  2. The Webb Ellis trophy is named after a myth. Schoolboy William Webb Ellis allegedly ‘invented’ rugby when he caught and ran with the ball during a match way back in 1823. But history buffs have largely discredited the theory as folklore.
  3. Only three teams have ever won the Rugby World Cup twice: South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
  4. The All Blacks go into the 2015 Rugby World Cup as reigning champs. If they win, they’ll become the only team to defend the title and lift the trophy three times.
  5. Bryan Habana shares the record with Jonah Lomu for scoring the most tries in a World Cup tournament: 8.
  6. One whistle, which is more than 100 years old, has been used to start every Rugby World Cup to date. This year, it will be blown by South African Jaco Peyper, who will referee the opening game between hosts England and Fiji.
  7. Hosting the tournament is expected to inject GBP2.2 billion into the UK economy.
  8. Percy Montgomery remains South Africa’s leading points scorer in the World Cup. He contributed 111 points in 12 games for the Boks.
  9. The Rugby World Cup’s leading scorer of all time, however, is flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson, who scored 277 points for England in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 tournaments.
  10. The 2015 Rugby World Cup’s 48 matches will be played over 44 days and deliver at least 3 840 minutes of rugby.
  11. Samoan Brian Lima (known as ‘The Chiropractor’ for his bruising tackles) is the only player to have represented his country in five world cup tournaments. Saffers may remember him as the man who flattened Derek Hougaard in 2003. Watch that punishing tackle here.

And because we can never watch it enough, here’s that 1995 moment to get you in the mood, click here.

Written by Sarah Borchert

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