Outgoing All Blacks coach Graham Henry addresses the media, New Zealand press conference, Auckland University RFC, Auckland, New Zealand, November 1, 2011 © Getty Images
The Rugby World Cup is the sport's showpiece event and is contested every four years by the game's 20 leading nations.
The competing countries are initially divided into four pools and play each other once with the group winners and runners-up progressing to the knock-out stages that consist of the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. The winners are awarded the Webb Ellis Cup - named after William Webb Ellis, who is credited with inventing the sport.
The first World Cup was hosted by New Zealand and Australia in 1987 with the United Kingdom, Ireland & France (1991), South Africa (1995), Wales (1999), Australia (2003) and France (2007) staging the subsequent tournaments. The 2011 World Cup will be staged in New Zealand with England and Japan set to host the 2015 and 2019 events respectively.