Uruguay to concede over 249.5 points in the pool stage

Minnows Uruguay look to have the toughest draw, with all four of their pool-stage opponents ranked in the world’s top 12.

Los Teros conceded 226 in the pool stage in 2015, the most of any team, and 255 in their last appearance before that in 2003.

Any match to finish as a draw

There have been just three draws in the history of the Rugby World Cup, coming in 1987, 2007 and 2011.

Interestingly, hosts Japan were involved in the two most recent draws. Will they register a third this time round?

Any Tier 2 nation to qualify for the knockout stages

Tier 2 nations have qualified for the knockout stages just five times in World Cup history, with Fiji and Samoa both doing so twice, while Canada managed it in 1991.

The likeliest minnow to qualify this year are hosts Japan, who could finish second in Pool A if they overcome Scotland in their final group game.

More than 51 points to be scored in the final

The 2015 final, in which New Zealand beat Australia 34-17, was the highest-scoring final in World Cup history.

We are in for a cracker if this year comes anywhere close.

Any player to score eight tries or more in the tournament

Jonah Lomu scored eight tries in 1999 before both Bryan Habana and Julian Savea equalled his record in later tournaments.

No player has ever passed that mark, but with players like Rieko Ioane and Cheslin Kolbe set to star, this could well be the year.

Over 7.5 red cards in the tournament

There has never been more than four red cards at a World Cup tournament, with both the 1995 and 1999 editions seeing four players sent off.

That record is, however, likely to be smashed this year with stricter rules on tackling and a renewed focus on player safety.

Any country to win a World Cup match for the first time

There are two teams at the 2019 tournament who are yet to win a World Cup match: Namibia and Russia.

Russia look doomed to be winless for at least another four years in a tough Pool A but Namibia will be looking to end their barren run with a win over Canada in Pool B.

Any country to win the World Cup for the first time

It is easy to forget that just four countries have ever won the World Cup, with England being the only Northern Hemisphere nation to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy.

That could change in the coming weeks with both Ireland and Wales in contention for their first title.

New Zealand to score over 279.5 points in the pool stage

New Zealand face a tough opening match against South Africa but then play Namibia and Canada, the two lowest-ranked teams in the draw, and Italy, the weakest Tier 1 nation.

The last time they had a group this easy was in 2007, when they racked up 309 points against Italy, Portugal, Romania and Scotland.

Any player to score 100+ points in the tournament

No one reached this milestone at the 2015 World Cup, with Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez coming closest with 97 points.

Sanchez is set to play for Los Pumas once again, with South Africa’s Handre Pollard and England’s Owen Farrell his closest rivals.

No team to lose by more than 59.5 points

Gone are the days of three-figure victories, with World Cup matches getting more competitive every tournament.

The average margin of victory across the five biggest thrashings has fallen from 97 points in 2003 to 55 points in 2015, with just two games exceeding that mark four years ago.

Any player to score six or more tries in a match

Marc Ellis ran in a ridiculous six tries as New Zealand thrashed Japan 145-17 in 1995 – a record that still stands more than 20 years later.

The increased competitiveness of the tournaments means it will take some doing for anyone to match his haul.

Three or more games in each pool to have a winning margin of under 10.5

There should be a lot of tight pool games in the coming weeks, with 12 or more matches decided by this margin at the last three tournaments.

That included three games in all but one pool.

No tries scored in the final

Australia’s victory in 1995 and South Africa’s in 2007 both came without tries being scored in the final.

Such a long price illustrates just how unlikely that is to happen again this year, but don’t rule it out – this is international sport, after all. 

Final to be won by a drop goal in extra time

Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. Joel Stransky in 1995. It is quite incredible that the World Cup has twice been decided in this fashion in just eight editions.

With five or six teams in close contention this year, who’s to say it won’t happen again?

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