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Date TimeSeptember 12, 2019
VoiceGame on second day between the winners of five out of the eight previous tournaments could be a preview of the final
The Breakdown | Rugby World Cup’s true kick-off will be South Africa v New Zealand
For two tournaments in the 1990s the World Cup opened with the sound of thunder. The meeting of the hosts and the holders was becoming a tradition when Wales were awarded the 1999 event and the organisers decided it would not be an ideal start if South Africa got near the 98 points they put on the men in red the year before. So World Cups have tended to start with, if not a whimper, then something less than a bellow, although Argentina in 2007, when they were involved in the opener for the third successive tournament, ignored the script and beat France (they might have embarrassed Australia four years before had they been allowed to scrummage).
The ninth World Cup starts on Friday 20 September with a match that should be as one-sided as the two openers in New Zealand in 1987 and 2011. When Japan face Russia the outcome should be as predictable as the result of a presidential election in the land of Putin. Pyrotechnics will be reserved for the opening ceremony.

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