What happens if a Rugby World Cup knockout match ends a draw?

When this year’s Cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand was decided by a Super Over after a tie, sudden death was on everyone’s mind.

Draws are rare at Rugby World Cups: only three times in the 32-year history of the tournament have teams finished level after 80 minutes in a knockout match, most famously in the finals of 1995 and 2003. There have been only three drawn games in the pool stages too.

For the rest of RWC 2019, if teams are level at full-time, they will play 20 minutes of extra-time (10 minutes each way, with an interval of five minutes). If the scores are still level, 10 minutes of ‘sudden death’ will follow. The first team to score any points during ‘sudden death’ will be declared the winner.

If the teams still cannot be separated, a kicking competition will determine the winners.

Each team nominates five kickers from the players still on the field and informs the referee of the order in which they will kick. These five players will then have one attempt each to kick a goal from one of three spots on the 22-metre line: directly in front of the posts (position one), on the 15-metre line to the left of the posts (position two) and the 15-metre line to the right of the posts (position three).

The sequence is as follows for each team: kicker one from position one; kicker two from position two, kicker three from position three; kicker four from position one; kicker five from position two.

The winning team is the one with the most successful kicks after five attempts, or earlier if one team is unable to equal the score of the other team with the number of kicks remaining. If there are an equal number of successful kicks, the competition moves to ‘sudden death’, following the same order of kickers used for the previous five kicks until one player succeeds with a kick and the other misses from the same position. 


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