How Long Is A Rugby Match World Cup (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Seven To Eight Weeks

When it comes to any sports competition, it tends to run for weeks before finalizing on the winning team. The time can even increase when it is about a worldwide competition like a world cup.

It is the same with one of the popular games, rugby. The rugby world cup is held every four years. It is mainly a men’s union tournament that involved top international teams.

Since 1999, twenty nations participate, and compete against each other over the course to win the Webb Ellis Cup. The whole event goes on for weeks before the winner is announced.

How Long Is A Rugby Match World Cup

How Long Is A Rugby Match World Cup?

Rugby was invented by William Webb Ellis, and the cup is awarded in his honor. The game became famous, and the first international rugby tournament was held in 1987. 

Up until 1999, sixteen teams used to take part in the international rugby world cup. The event lasted for about five weeks. The scenario changed from the year 1999. Since then, twenty nations take part in the rugby world cup. These twenty national play against one other in qualifying matches pool-wise first. 

After the qualifying matches are over from each pool, the winning teams per pool and runner-up pool teams then compete. The next set of the match is between the quarter-finalist. The quarter-finalist competes and moves towards the semi-finals. The whole tournament is then concluded by a final match between two leading teams.

Given that there are more than 40 matches to decide on the winning team, it takes about seven weeks to conclude the tournament.

Usually, the whole world cup tournament ends in seven weeks, but sometimes due to unforeseen changes like the weather cause the tournament to go on for a day or two more.

Counting MethodThe time it takes the tournament to get completed.
In WeeksSeven to eight weeks
In Days51 Days

Why Is A Rugby Match World Cup So Long?

It takes time for any competition to come to a final decision in finding the worthy champion. Rugby matches take a lot of time considering that it is being played as a part of the world cup tournament. 

There are many reasons why the Rugby matches go on for more than seven weeks. Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • A single rugby match by the standard is played for a little more than 80 minutes. The whole match is divided into halves. Each half is kept for a timeframe of 40 minutes. After the first half is complete, a half time is declared. The halftime is not more than 10 minutes. 
  • Owing to the total time taken for a single rugby match, a maximum of four matches can be scheduled in a day. However, organizing and completing four matches can be a stretch. Hence more often, the world cup committee follows a minimum one match per day policy. Sometimes, there are two or even three matches in one day.
  • Planning matches require a lot of consideration of all aspects. Hence, it is common that sometimes even there is a gap of a few days between two matches. Due to this gap of a couple of days, the tournament spans for about two months. Mostly it takes about 51 to 53 days.
  • Apart from the schedule, there are sometimes instances like bad weather or some other unfortunate event due to which there can be a delay in the date when the match is held. A single delay can cause the whole schedule to be delayed causing the tournament to go on more than the expected number of days.


A rugby match is not just two teams coming and playing for an hour and a half, it is about the viewers coming and leaving as per the booking, the teams prepping up for the match, and so much more. Thus, it tends to take a lot of time. 

Considering that there are more than 40 matches, it is considered to make the whole duration of the tournament about seven to eight weeks.

The upcoming rugby world cup is going to be held at different stadiums in France from September 8 and will go on till October 28.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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