To help you with planning for the Rugby World Cup, some of our upcoming preview coverage is below. Please also refer to the daily AP Sports digests. The tournament kicks off Friday, Sept. 20 with Japan against Russia at Tokyo Stadium in a Pool A match. The group stage continues through Sunday, Oct. 13. Quarterfinals are scheduled for the weekend off Oct. 19-20, with semifinals the weekend off Oct. 26-27 and the Rugby World Cup final set for Saturday, Nov. 2 at International Stadium, Yokohama.

    All times GMT.



    TOKYO _ When Jamie Joseph took on the challenge of coaching Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the ex-All Blacks forward knew there was much more at stake than results on the field. By Jim Armstrong. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos, by 0600 GMT.

    RGU--RWC-New Zealand

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand _ As New Zealand attempts the unprecedented feat of winning the Rugby World Cup for the third time in a row, many of the factors that underpinned its winning campaigns in 2011 and 2015 remain in place but much else has changed. By Steve McMorran. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos, by 0600 GMT.

    RGU--RWC-South Africa

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa _ Rassie Erasmus turned it around for the Springboks. South Africa goes to the Rugby World Cup in Japan as a contender for the title and that’s more than good enough for South Africans considering where the team was two years ago. By Gerald Imray. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos, by 0700 GMT.


    UNDATED _ It raced along at record-breaking speeds in 2016 and ’17, required some repairs after spluttering in 2018, but appears to be running smoothly again in 2019. Steered by the brash and inimitable Australian Eddie Jones, it has been quite the ride on England’s chariot during this wild Rugby World Cup cycle. All that’s ever mattered, though, is that it parked up in Japan in prime shape for England’s tilt at winning the Webb Ellis Trophy for a second time. By Steve Douglas. UPCOMING: 830 words, photos, by 0800 GMT.


    PARIS _ The Rugby World Cup could be problematic for a France team struggling to emerge from a slump which has turned confident players into doubtful ones. By Jerome Pugmire. UPCOMING: 790 words, photos, by 0800 GMT.


    UNDATED _ While Argentina has strength in depth and a powerful pack, it clearly must finish better to reach a first Rugby World Cup final. The two-time semifinalist enters the tournament hardened and match-focused by tough recent encounters, but also frustrated by near misses, at the recent Rugby Championship. By Jerome Pugmire. UPCOMING: 740 words, photos, by 0900 GMT.


    BRISBANE, Australia _ Adversity isn't necessarily a bad thing for the Wallabies leading into a Rugby World Cup. Firing fullback Israel Folau sent Rugby Australia into turmoil at the start of this season, depriving the national team of its undisputed star and triggering a costly court battle. By John Pye. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos, by 0800 GMT.


    UNDATED _ Warren Gatland has achieved almost everything during his tenure as Wales coach over the last 12 years _ except a World Cup title. By Steve Douglas. UPCOMING: 615 words, photos, by 0900 GMT.


    RGU--Rugby World Cup

    The first Rugby World Cup in Asia. The New Zealand All Blacks aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive title. Ireland with the No. 1 ranking. Japan hopeful of producing another upset like the historic win over the Springboks in England four years ago that still rates among the biggest shockers in Rugby World Cup history, but this time on home soil. Eddie Jones, who was coaching Japan in 2015, is now in charge of a powerful England squad aiming to make amends for its group-stage exit last time around. There’ll be no certainties at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which kicks off Sept. 20 with Japan hosting Russia at Tokyo Stadium and concludes with a Nov. 2 final at Yokohama. By John Pye. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. By 0900 GMT.



    RGU--RWC-Players to Watch.

    RGU--RWC-Pacific Nations

    UNDATED _ Since its inception the Rugby World Cup has relied on Pacific Island nations to provide the tournament with flair, excitement and memorable moments of drama. By Steve McMorran. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. By 0600 GMT.

    RGU--RWC History

    UNDATED _ In eight World Cup tournaments, four countries have claimed the title: New Zealand three times, including the last two, Australia and South Africa twice each, and England. As Japan prepares to host the tournament in Asia for the first time, here’s a look at the previous editions of rugby’s signature event held every four years. By Dennis Passa. UPCOMING: 1,500 words, photos. By 0700 GMT.


    UNDATED _ RGU--RWC-Pool A Capsules. By Foster Niumata.

    UNDATED _ RGU--RWC-Pool B Capsules. By Gerald Imray.

    UNDATED _ RGU--RWC-Pool C Capsules. By Steve Douglas

    UNDATED _ RGU--RWC-Pool D Capsules. By Dennis Passa

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