Rugby World Cup Kicks Off With Shock Results

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Written By Saeed Maleki

The Rugby Union World Cup has kicked off with a series of shock results for teams tipped as favourites to challenge for the title.

England opened the contest with a curtain-raising fixture against Pacific minnows Fiji, which ended in a comfortable 35-11 victory for the hosts at Twickenham.

South Africa expected a similar soft game against unfancied Japan, but ran out losers in the last minute as the Japanese recorded an unexpected 34-32 win.

In the history of the competition, no team that has lost a pool match has gone on to win the world title.

France was victorious with a 32-10 win against Italy, while Tonga lost 10-17 to Georgia.

Fright for All Blacks

The big surprise was reigning world champions, the New Zealand All-Blacks were almost humbled by Argentina, who led 13-12 at half time and 16-12 after 50 minutes.

New Zealand grabbed control of the game in the later stages as the Argentinians tired, running out as 26-16 winners.

Wales had an easier time against Uruguay, scoring 54 points to the South American’s nine.

Winning came at a cost for Wales, with triple try scorer Cory Allen limping off with a pulled hamstring.

They also lost full-back Liam Williams and forwards Paul James and Dan Lydiate to add to their growing list of injured stars.

Bookies’ favourites

The way the draw goes across the four pools of five teams, many of the more fancied sides, such as Australia, Ireland and Scotland, do not play until later in the week.

The World Cup is played at 13 stadiums – all in England except the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

The whistle for the first match went on Friday night and the final is set for a final at the world home of rugby, the 80,000 capacity Twickenham Stadium in London on October 31, 2015.

The bookies’ favourites are New Zealand (5/4) followed by England, with the home advantage at 4/1, Australia are 15/2 with South Africa and Ireland both priced at 9/1.

This is the eighth Rugby Union World Cup. England last won the World Cup in 2003 in Australia, while Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have each taken the title twice.

Rugby World Cup 2015 results and information