With tournament organisers England 2015 and owners Rugby World Cup Limited also unveiling details of the tournament ticketing programme, today fans from around the world can now begin to plan their Rugby World Cup 2015 experience.
The kick-off times are part of a collaborative process between England 2015, RWCL, host broadcaster ITV and the tournament's key stakeholders to ensure the best-possible platform for the 20 participating teams, fans attending the matches and sports fans watching the broadcast in more than 200 territories worldwide. Exact kick-off times are subject to final broadcast schedules.
The result is a uniform spread of four kick-off times for the pool stages: 12:00, 14:30, 17:00 and 20:00. This compares favourably to a range of 11 times for France 2007 and nine at New Zealand 2011.
The opening match of Rugby World Cup 2015, between hosts England and the Oceania 1 qualifier at Twickenham, kicks off at 20:00 on September 18. New Zealand’s title defence will begin against Argentina at Wembley at 17:00 on September 20, while the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals are scheduled for 14:00 and 17:00 at the Millennium Stadium and Twickenham.
The Rugby World Cup 2015 Final at Twickenham will kick-off at 17:00 on October 31, guaranteeing a prime-time television platform in the host nation.
RWCL Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Today’s announcements allow fans from around the world to begin their planning knowing where, when and at what time the world’s best teams will be playing across the 13 Rugby World Cup 2015 venues.”
“We believe that this match schedule is good for fans attending the matches and watching from their armchair. Combined with an equitable match schedule, it has the teams and fans at its heart and the continuity and balance of regular time slots will maximise anticipation and engagement.”
“The stage is now set for a compelling Rugby World Cup in England that will deliver unforgettable memories and exceptional experiences for existing and new fans, maximising accessibility and furthering the profile of Game to global audiences around the world.”
England 2015 Chief Executive Debbie Jevans said: “Fans can now plan for Rugby World Cup 2015 with the announcement of kick-off times alongside the tournament ticketing programme.”
“Our key priority is ensuring we give the teams a balanced and equitable schedule which we believe we have achieved. We have consulted with all our transport providers, our venues and host cities and we feel that we have put together a schedule that takes into account all of the needs of our stakeholders. Now that fans have the final piece of the jigsaw, they can start to plan their tournament, be it in stadia or watching from home, and make this a truly memorable celebration of rugby.”