Fans might be left reflecting on what might have been for England had they avoided the ‘group of death’, but also on the fact that — in reality — the stars of the competition were from lands beyond English borders.
Wales, Scotland and Ireland all did themselves proud at the tournament, while southern hemisphere sides totally dominated, with Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina making up the four semi-finalists.
The good news for fans, however, is that many of the star players from the Rugby World Cup are playing their club rugby for European sides, especially in Top 14.
It should be no surprise that rugby union is the second most-watched sport in pubs and bars (behind football) and only Sky Sports can offer pubs matches from the European Champions Cup, European Challenge Cup, French Top 14 and Guinness PRO12 matches all in one place, providing more money-making opportunities, as well as a wide choice of content to appeal to a large customer base.
Pubs can take advantage of the current enthusiasm for the sport and the keen interest in star names such as Dan Carter and Bryan Habana by continuing the momentum it has gained and showing club rugby in their venue.
Sky Sports will be the first place to see the stars from the Rugby World Cup in European action. The first set of European fixtures has provided some fascinating match-ups and Sky Sports will show the current Aviva Premiership, Guinness PRO12 and French Top 14 champions during the first two rounds.
The live action starts on Sky Sports on Thursday 12 November when Harlequins entertain Montpellier — the first of 40 matches live on Sky Sports. Montpellier, like a number of French clubs, have recruited heavily and will provide a stern test for England captain Chris Robshaw and his Harlequins team.
Licensees can take advantage of the renewed appetite for watching rugby union in pubs. With many venues having shown the world cup action live, customers will be eagerly hoping their local continues to show the sport as the club season progresses. Sky Sports venues can customise their profile on Sky Sports Pub Finder, which helps sports fans find a venue near to them that is showing live action.
Available online and via the Sky Sports Score Centre mobile app, pubs can use it to make their customers aware of the exact fixtures that they will be showing.
Plus, with multiple matches live on Sky Sports each match week, as well as live football, cricket, F1 and more, second viewing cards are available for pubs to show more than one game at a time to keep more customers happy.
And with rugby fans knowing that your venue is the place to watch the sport in their area, why not encourage repeat visits throughout the season by running a loyalty scheme, particularly for real ales and bitters to help make the viewing experience as personal as possible for your customers.
10 Rugby World Cup stars you can watch on Sky Sports
Greig Laidlaw, Gloucester
The boot of the Scottish scrum-half was pivotal in Gloucester’s Challenge Cup glory last campaign with 72 points in the competition, including 13 in the 19-13 win over Edinburgh in the final.
Dan Biggar, Ospreys
The Ospreys fly-half has established himself as one of the world’s best number 10s in recent seasons with some inspirational performances for club and country. His accuracy with the boot saw him finish the world cup with 56 points to his name.
Dan Carter, Racing Metro
The top scorer in the history of international Test match rugby makes the switch to Racing Metro this season as he bids to add the Champions Cup and Top 14 titles to his growing list of honours.
Matt Giteau, Toulon
The diminutive Australian utility back was vital for Toulon last season as they regained the Champions Cup at Twickenham and he’ll be key to their chances again this season after starring for his country at the world cup.
Bryan Habana, Toulon
The South African winger scored an incredible eight tries in the most recent tournament and he’ll be hoping to make it a season to remember by helping Toulon retain their Champions Cup crown.
Gareth Davies, Scarlets
Despite originally being called up as Rhys Webb’s deputy for the Rugby World Cup, the scrum-half was one of the stars of the tournament for Wales after Webb’s injury, scoring four pool stage tries plus another in the narrow quarter-final loss to South Africa.
Juan Imhoff, Racing Metro
Ever-improving Argentina were one of the surprise packages of the Rugby World Cup with Imhoff one of their stand-out performers on the wing, scoring five tries including a brace in the quarter-final win over Ireland.
Drew Mitchell, Toulon
Another member of Toulon’s star-studded backline had a Rugby World Cup to remember as he became Australia’s top scorer in world cup history with two tries in the pool stage win over Uruguay before adding two more in the quarter final.
DTH van der Merwe, Scarlets
Canada’s utility back makes the switch to Scarlets this season after a superb world cup which saw him score four tries, one of which sparked the biggest comeback in world cup history as Canada came from 17 points down to beat Romania.
Paul O’Connell, Toulon
It was a difficult world cup for the Irish lock as injury ended his tournament early and, after his international retirement, he’s set to embark on a new chapter in his career as he leaves Munster after 14 years to join Champions Cup holders Toulon.