Rugby World Cup Winners List From 1987 to 2023

Rugby World Cup Winners List From 1987 to 2023

Rugby World Cup, an internationally acclaimed tournament tantamount to football’s FIFA World Cup, is a quadrennial played by the top men’s rugby union teams across the globe. This tournament, characterized by thrilling matches and unparalleled athleticism, celebrates a rich history that has spanned more than three decades.

History of the Rugby World Cup

The inception of the Rugby World Cup dates back to 1987 when the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB), now known as the World Rugby, decided to stage an international rugby union competition, thus birthing the Rugby World Cup. The tournament was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, establishing the pattern of quadrennial events, which has become a tradition. The first tournament was a 16-team event, but the number of participating teams has since increased to 20.

The World Cup’s success skyrocketed, and it didn’t take long for it to be declared the third-largest sports event worldwide after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, in terms of television audience.

Rugby World Cup Champions and Runners Up List

YearHosts Champion Score Runner UpNo. Of Teams
1987Australia &
New Zealand
New Zealand29–9France16
1991England, France,
Ireland Scotland &
1995South AfricaSouth Africa15–12 (Extra Time)New Zealand16
2003AustraliaEngland20–17 (Extra Time)Australia20
2007FranceSouth Africa15–6England20
2011New ZealandNew Zealand8–7France20
2015EnglandNew Zealand34–17Australia20
2019JapanSouth Africa32–12England20

Rugby World Cup Third Place Playoff Winners

Year 3rd Place Score 4th Place
1991New Zealand13–6Scotland
1999South Africa22–18New Zealand
2003New Zealand40–13France
2015South Africa24–13Argentina
2019New Zealand40–17Wales

Most Rugby World Cup Winners

New Zealand & South Africa are the most successful teams in the Rugby World Cup, both having won the World Cup 3 times. Australia is the second most successful team in the Men’s Rugby World Cup, winning the tournament two times. England is the third team that won the event one time.

TeamNo. Of TimesYears
 New Zealand3 Times1987, 2011, 2015
 South Africa3 Times1995, 2007, 2019
Australia2 Times1991, 1999
England1 Times2003

Frequently Asked Question

When was the first Rugby World Cup held?

The first Rugby World Cup was held in 1987.

How many nations have won the Rugby World Cup so far?

In the nine editions of the Rugby World Cup, only four nations – New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and England – have won the tournament.

Which team has won the Rugby World Cup most?

New Zealand and South Africa are the joint most successful teams in Rugby World Cup, having won the show-piece tournament three times each.

Which team has been the most unsuccessful finalist in Rugby World Cup?

France, the three time runner up, are the most unsuccessful finalist along with England, having finished the second best side in three editions each. England, however, won the title in 2003.

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