Rules and format for the Rugby World Cup

PARIS - The rules and format for the Rugby Union World Cup which will be hosted by France from Friday until October 20 were taken from the official 2007 World Cup website:

PARIS - The rules and format for the Rugby Union World Cup which will be hosted by France from Friday until October 20 were taken from the official 2007 World Cup website:

Pool Phase: The 20 Teams have been drawn into four pools of five teams each. The pool phase will consist of a round robin in which each team plays the other once. That means ten matches will be played in each pool, for a total of 40 matches in the pool phase of the tournament.

Match points system: The following number of match points will be awarded for each pool phase match: Win - 4 points; Draw - 2 points; 4 or more tries - 1 point. Loss by seven points or less - 1 point. If at the completion of the pool phase two or more teams are level on points, then the following criteria is used in the following order until one of the teams can be determined as the higher ranked:

a - The winner of the match between the two tied teams.

b - The team which has the best difference between points scored for and points scored against in all its pool matches, shall be the higher ranked.

c - The team which has the best difference between tries scored for and tries scored against in all its pool matches, shall be the higher ranked.

d - The team which has scored most points in all its pool matches, shall be the higher ranked.

e -The team which has scored most tries in all its pool matches, shall be the higher ranked.

f - Should the tie be unresolved at the conclusion of steps (a) through to (e), the team that is higher ranked in the updated Official IRB World Rankings on October 1, 2007 will qualify.

The winner and runner-up in each pool shall qualify for the quarter-finals. Teams ranked third, fourth and fifth shall be eliminated from the tournament.

Knockout Phase: Quarter-finals - The first two teams in each pool will progress to the quarter-final round, which will be contested by knockout matches.

QF 1 - Winner pool B v Runner up pool A. QF 2 - Winner pool C v Runner up pool D. QF three - Winner pool A v Runner up pool B. QF 4 - Winner pool D v Runner up pool C. Semi-finals SF 1 - Winner QF1 v Winner QF2 SF 2 - Winner QF3 v Winner QF4. The winners of the semi-final matches qualify for the final, and the losers will contest for third and fourth places.

For the knock-out phase involving quarter-finals, semi-finals, third place play-off and final, if the teams are tied at full-time, then the winner shall be determined in the following manner:- a - extra-time - following an interval of five minutes, an extra time of ten minutes each way (with an interval of five minutes) shall be played; b - sudden-death - if the scores are tied at the conclusion of extra time, and following an interval of five minutes, then a further extra time of ten minutes maximum shall be played. During this period, the first team to score any points shall be declared the winner (sudden death); c - kicking-competition - if after this sudden death period no winner can be declared, a kicking competition will be organised between the two teams. The winner shall be declared the winner. - Sapa-AFP

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