A sport that is 200 years old, but it is playing its 10th World Cup and has only four champions

he The Rugby World Cup is held in France It marks the bicentenary of that sport. 200 years after the first match, 20 teams compete in nine cities, and the matches can be watched live and broadcast around the world, with an estimated audience of 700 million viewers. But the World Cup is something new for Casablanca.

At least 164 years have passed from the beginning to the first world competition. The year of break was 1987This came after many attempts that failed due to differences between the major powers in this sport.

The first time this possibility was discussed was in 1947. The president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), Alfred Eluir, proposed that the two hemispheres participate in a joint competition, a major tournament bringing together the main champions. Immediately, he faced opposition from the International Rugby Board (IRB).. “This is madness”Reply.

A few years later, in the following decade, the French initiative was transferred from Australia. He was the player Harold Tolhurst which presented a project with similar characteristics to an IRB, but had the same negative response.

Since interest came from France and Australia, both federations have ratified their intentions with new offers after two decades. The French Federation adopted this hypothesis, signed by its new president, Albert Veras. For its part, Australia formalized the request signed by the President of the Australian Federation, Bill McLaveen, as part of that country’s bicentenary celebration. In both cases, the IRB’s response was the same: no.

However, after the 1970s as debate opened up, the IRB was open to the issue and considered the cricketer and former Royal Navy officer’s proposal, Neil Durden-Smith, who proposed the 1982 World Cup but was organized by the United Kingdom. Eager for unprecedented flexibility, Australia announced itself as a potential host and New Zealand did the same, and while they waited for a response they decided to join their candidacies.

The discussion continued until mid-1985. While the cards were on the table, the United Kingdom was against the World Cup, but the rejection of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland was not enough. Because France, New Zealand and Australia openly showed themselves in the World Cup finals, and with them South Africa – even though they could not play it due to the sporting boycott due to apartheid – they were able to twist the idea. England changed its position, Wales joined and the first World Cup was held.

All Blacks captain David Kirk lifts his first World Cup in 1987. AP Photo

World Cups

Between 22 May and 20 June 1987, the first Rugby World Cup jointly organized between Australia and New Zealand was held. 32 matches were held and three American teams, one African team, one Asian team, seven European teams and four Oceanian teams participated. Without Samoa or South Africa due to the international sports boycott.

The organization arranged live places for members of the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB): the four representatives of Great Britain, France, New Zealand and Australia. The rest were invitations to complete the teams that competed. Among them is Los Pumas.

France played against Australia in one of the semi-finals and New Zealand against Wales in the semi-final. The All Blacks became the first world champions after beating France 29-9 at Eden Park in Auckland.. The Pumas, with Hugo Porta as figurehead and the current president of the Union of Argentine Rugby (UAR), Gabriel Travalini, in the team, did not perform well, which the press considered “disappointing”, as they only triumphed over Italy. They did not qualify.

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Nick Farr-Jones takes on Lisandro Arbizu in the second Rugby World Cup.  Photo: Agence France-Presse Nick Farr-Jones takes on Lisandro Arbizu in the second Rugby World Cup. Photo: Agence France-Presse

For the 1991 World Cup, a classification system was inaugurated. It has been played in Europe, mainly in England, but with matches in other countries such as the United Kingdom and France. The champion was Australia, which won the final 12-6 over England. The Pumas qualified first in their encounter, but this time they did not advance beyond their group either.

The 1995 World Cup was the first in which South Africa participated, who also beat New Zealand 15-12 in the final. The end of apartheid – with Nelson Mandela As president and building a symbolic bridge with rugby – he allowed the Springboks not only to join the competition, but to organize it as well. Argentina, like the previous World Cup, did not win a single match either.

By the time Wales staged its fourth World Cup in 1999, there were no double champions. In that year the first was created. For the first time with the participation of 20 participants Australia beat France in the final by a score of 35 to 12. This southern hemisphere superiority perhaps also explains the original reluctance to have competition of this kind. That year, Argentina reached the quarterfinals and fell in the semifinals Blues.

Los Pumas' only third place in the World Cup.  AP PhotosLos Pumas’ only third place in the World Cup. AP Photos

Although there are also matches in Wales and Scotland, The 2007 World Cup was held in France. It was a great year for Los Pumas, who beat the hosts in the classification to take first place in their group, then repeated that in the third-place match, the Argentine national team’s best placing to date. That year the champions were the Springboks, who also won their second title.

New Zealand 2011, it was for the host country. Thus, the All Blacks, Wallabies and Springboks each secured two editions of the World Cup and England secured the remaining. For Los Pumas, they had once again reached the quarter-finals, but with a resounding loss to the locals 33-10..

England organized the 2015 tournament, which New Zealand won again to dominate the world rankings with three titles. The Pumas played in the semi-finals, but lost to Australia, and then did not reach the podium after losing to South Africa.

The following World Cup was a wrong move for Los Pumas. After three events with at least one place in the quarter-finals, Japan 2019 is a chance to make history. However, as on the first occasions, they did not progress beyond the group stage. It was a blow that changed the foundations of the national team. South Africa reached New Zealand with three titles each.

France started 2023 with the “usual favourites”: New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland, France’s triumphant march, La Rosa’s rebound and the ever-threatening Wallabies. After the kick-off, the Pumas will try to get on the path that will take them to the final.

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