It certainly was 12 years dominated by the Southern Hemisphere.
The showdown is set to be a classic and could set the tone for the showpiece in Japan.
The island nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga all boast a rich rugby heritage and a wealth of playing talent, but have battled to overcome financial hardships and geographic isolation.
The All Blacks will start as favourites to complete a hat-trick of titles, but face tough competition.
The disruption caused in Tokyo in the early hours of Monday by powerful typhoon Faxai has reignited questions about contingency planning for the Rugby World Cup.
Former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton believes top-level rugby players are at risk of death unless more is done to make the game safer.

Fearless Japan relish rematch against full-strength Boks

Jamie Joseph, who took over from Eddie Jones after the last World Cup, has set a target of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time.

Rugby World Cup 2019 ‘Miracle of Brighton’: The Bok shock that put Japan rugby on the map

Their astonishing 34-32 victory over the two-time world champions was even made into a film called the “Miracle of Brighton”.

Rugby star Folau claims anti-gay sacking a ‘restraint of trade’

The governing body insists his dismissal was purely contractual.

Is international rugby seeing red more often?

Scott Barrett’s red card at the weekend for the All Blacks has reignited the debate over national teams’ discipline.

Rugby World Cup 2019 Te’o out of England squad as uncapped McConnochie included

The 32-year-old was reported to have been involved in a scuffle with Mike Brown at the England squad’s training camp in Italy a fortnight ago.

Anti-gay row rugby star’s social media in mystery shutdown

You won’t find any trace of Israel Folau’s digital footprint currently.

Kiwis worry the All Blacks ‘fear factor largely gone’

The All Blacks record loss to the Wallabies in Perth left the proud rugby nation struggling to find positives Sunday with an increasing suggestion their golden days may be over.

Hansen blasts ill-discipline, reserves judgement on red card

The All Blacks suffered a surprisingly comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Wallabies on Saturday.

Wallabies coach Cheika dismisses ‘Mickey Mouse’ jibe

He said it was “no drama for me”, but added that he believed in keeping the game respectful.

Australia’s Folau launches legal action over homophobia sacking

The 30-year-old was seeking compensation, interest, damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, along with an apology.

All Blacks’ ‘experiment’ against Springboks ‘justified’

Coach Steve Hansen picks his No 1 flyhalf at fullback for the Test in Wellington.

Alarm at New Zealand’s falling schoolboy rugby numbers

Schoolboy rugby is a big deal in New Zealand — senior matches are televised nationally and the rivalries between some schools date back more than a century.

Stassen risks lengthy ban after positive B sample

The former Bulls flanker, who plays in Paris under coach Heyneke Meyer, is also in trouble with the law in SA.




today in print

today in print