TOKYO, 18 Sep – The teams have arrived, the venues are ready and the waiting is almost over. With just a couple of days remaining before Rugby World Cup 2019 begins, the number-crunchers at Rugbyworldcup.com have been analysing the 20 teams and all 620 players involved in the tournament to bring you the ultimate trivia breakdown.
From the tallest player - Australia’s 2.08m Rory Arnold, pictured above left - to the most common first names (Ben and Jack lead the way with eight each) no statistical stone has been left unturned.
With their team topping the Men's World Rugby Rankings, Irish fans have arrived in Japan full of optimism. But while this has been called the most open Rugby World Cup ever, it is still 2015 finalists New Zealand and Australia who top many of the most eye-catching metrics going into the tournament.
Experience is crucial in a Rugby World Cup, and Australia boast the most-capped squad with an average of 46 tests per man.
Both Australia and New Zealand have the most potent threats from open play. The All Blacks’ 31 have scored an average of 8.5 tries per player while the Wallabies’ are on seven tries per man.
But when it comes to try scoring, it is not all about the favourites. Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe may not be a household name, but he is up there with George North and Adam Ashley-Cooper when it comes to crossing the try-line. The trio are the most deadly finishers playing in this tournament, with all three having scored 38 tries in international rugby.
At No 19 in the world rankings, Uruguay are one of the lowest ranked teams in the tournament, so spare a thought for them if they find the going tough against Australia, Wales, Fiji and Georgia in the pool stages. Los Teros have both the lightest and smallest squad on average across all 20 teams, so they will be punching above their weight.
But of course, simply being bigger is far from a guarantee of success in a sport that combines brute force with speed, agility and skill. Tonga have the heaviest squad on average, weighing in at an impressive 109kg, although that is still lightweight compared to your typical Japanese sumo wrestler, who tips the scales at close to 148kg.
A couple of players will be eyeing the record for the number of Rugby World Cup appearances, held jointly by Richie McCaw and Jason Leonard with 22 each. Adam Ashley-Cooper has made the most appearances of any player selected for this tournament (17), while Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, on 15, would need his team to reach the semi-finals to equal McCaw and Leonard's achievement.