After securing third place at the last World Cup Argentina have a hard act to follow in New Zealand, and their credentials will be seriously tested in their opening game once more this year.
Fact files on countries competing in the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
As the autumn leaves start rattling off trees, France's Top 14 goes into its second round of matches after the series of home victories in Round 1. It is a difficult times for clubs with so many players away at the World Cup playing for France and other countries. And then there are injuries already from the first round.
Griquas coach Abré Minnie has been forced to make major changes to his backline for the Currie Cup match against Western Province at in Kimberley on Saturday, with Riaan Viljoen playing at flyhalf.
There was something typically American about the United States squad turning down a ceremonial ride in a Maori canoe because they thought that part of their welcome from the city of Wanganui didn't sound safe.
Now that Philippe Saint-André is to take over the coaching of France in succession to Marc Lièvremont, Toulon are looking for a coach and this week's approach failed.
The Cheetahs have managed to secure the services of star Springbok flank Heinrich Brüssow for another two seasons thanks to valuable input from coach Naka Drotské and some Bloemfontein businessmen.
Here is an unofficial and wholly unbiased overview on the season down south from the perspective of one who managed to fit in 64 First XV games in 2011.
World Cup organizers say 4,000 tickets are still available to the tournament's "spectacular" opening ceremony.
Brian O'Driscoll says he expects to overcome neck and shoulder injuries to lead Ireland in its World Cup opener against the United States on September 11 in New Plymouth.
Canada arrive in New Zealand with a World Cup winner at the helm and the belief that it is ready to take on the world's best.
All Blacks legend and Japan coach John Kirwan has a very clear idea of what he would like his team to achieve at the World Cup as they build towards hosting the global showpiece in 2019.
Jonny Wilkinson has told England that "every second counts" as they begin their final build-up to the World Cup opener against Argentina.
Namibia are the lowest ranked team at the World Cup, and were always going to face an uphill battle in a tough pool searching for their first win, but financial turmoil has made the task even more daunting.
Russia's first World Cup marks the biggest step yet in its designs for world rugby domination.