Every weekday, Steve Deane reports on how the planet is lathering itself up for rugby's biggest show.
THE MONEY PRESS
Money, it's a drag - unless of course you happen to be World Rugby.
The oval ball game's big show is projected to rake in $970 million over the next month-and-a-half. That's about $353 million more than the 2011 World Cup.
NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew didn't exactly mince his words when describing Twickenham's financial muscle in a pre-tournament interview with Fairfax Media.
"This one is going to make a substantial profit and it is forecast to be above the initial numbers," Tew said, when comparing the financial performance of the Anglo-Welsh spectacular with New Zealand's feelgood but comparatively small-time event four years ago. "Twickenham is a money press after all.".
Turns out a Kiwi stadium of four million isn't much chop compared to a stadium full of London bankers.
No wonder then, that the average ticket price makes RWC 2015 the most expensive sporting event in history to attend.
England's Daily Mail reported the average price of the 2.4 million tickets for the event would be £104.17 ($NZ254.81). While some tickets would be as cheap as £7 for children in pool games, more than half of all tickets will cost more than £100.
Football's World Cup in Brazil cost an average £94.40 per seat, adjusted for inflation, and the 2012 Olympics £87.48 per seat.
KONICHIWA & SAYONARA
Meanwhile, in Japan, pre-tournament coverage took on a more mystical tone.
"The Rugby World Cup will be a tournament of arrivals and departures, of beginnings and ends," Japanese English language website The Mainichi observed. Before congratulating The Mainichi on its wonderful conformity to the mystical eastern stereotype, it should be pointed out that that brilliant blending of an irrefutable premise with words of incomparable vagueness appeared to be sourced from a press agency located in, er, Wellington.
OH (DEAR), CANADA
Speaking of stereotypes, Canada appears determined not to disappoint. When faced with trying to draw attention to a sport its readers know bugger all about, Ontario's Cambridge Times opted for the traditional physical freakshow angle.
"The Rugby World Cup will showcase some of the world's best athletes," The Times reports. "And, in some cases, some pretty ugly appendages. Big dreams can be accompanied by big ears on the rugby field."
Oh yes. Tell us more.
"Like wrestling and mixed martial arts, rugby is often contested in close quarters - especially in the scrum where players are locked together like a grinding, grunting human jigsaw. The result can be a cauliflower ear."
Given the amount of moolah it's pulling in, RWC 2015 doesn't appear to require much in the way of divine assistance. But, just in case, the Anglican Church has got the rugby community's back.
Anglican Communion News Services reports that the Church of England's Bishop for Sport, the Right Revd Tony Porter, Bishop of Sherwood, is encouraging Christians to take part in a "global wave of prayer" on the eve of the tournament.
"By asking people to pray at 8pm their local time and tracking it all over the world a prayer wave is formed," organisers say.
An interactive map will show global participation through the use of social media and the #RWCPRAYERWAVE hashtag, which links directly to the map, allowing people to contribute to the wave and see themselves online.
If you happen to find yourself stuck in Dubai during RWC, get on down to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard for the happy hour at Nezesaussi. Sharp-eyed readers and idiot savants will have already spotted that Nezesaussi is a combination of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. Apparently the bar owners put all the letters into a wood chipper and that's what came out.
If alphabet soup isn't your thing, head along instead to Casa de Tapas at the Dubai Creek Golf And Yacht Club for specials on pitchers of sangria during each game. Visit five times and spend Dhs500 ($215) on your fifth visit and you'll get a free T-shirt. Which you'll clearly need if you've purchased a ticket to any of the matches.