With the Rugby World Cup 2023 France being held next year, you might want to brush up on your Rugby World Cup history – we’ve created this cheat sheet for every world cup final to date. Successful pub banter is in your future, my friend.
1. The first Rugby World Cup final was held in 1987 and it saw New Zealand beat France through a drop goal, with the final score being 29-9.
2. The second Rugby Union World Cup final was held in 1991 and it saw Australia beat England 12-6 after extra time.
3. In the 1995 South Africa Rugby World Cup, the hosts pulled off a narrow 15-12 win over New Zealand to win their first ever world cup trophy.
4. In 1999 Australia won by an easy 35-12 margin over France, who only managed to score a single try throughout the entire match, making it the biggest winning margin of any world cup final!
5. In 2003, England surprised everyone when they became world champions for the very first time after beating Australia 20-17, with Jonny Wilkinson lifting the trophy after his team’s extra time win.
6. In 2007 South Africa beat England 15-6, scoring three tries throughout the entire match compared to England’s one try which was scored in the second half, with South African captain John Smit being awarded player of the tournament for his outstanding performance that year.
7. New Zealand defeated France 8-7 in 2011 after a 24-hour rain delay due to pitch conditions during their semi-final game against Argentina. The All Blacks went on to lift their second world cup trophy after beating France in front of a crowd of 83,927 people at Eden Park Stadium, in what proved to be the lowest scoring and tightest margin of any world cup final scoreline.
8. 2015 saw New Zealand play Australia for the first and only time in a world cup final. Both teams were looking to be crowned world champions for a record 3rd time in total. New Zealand ran out 34-17 winners.
9. The latest World Cup in 2019 saw England take on South Africa, with England joining Australia and New Zealand as the only 4-time finalists. Unfortunately for them, their win tally remained at 1 as the South Africans charged to a 32-12 victory and tying them with New Zealand for the most World Cup wins at 3.
You’ll notice that there have only ever been 4 winners of the World Cup, and only 5 finalists. The world stage really has been dominated by a small number of teams over the last 35 years, but that’s not to say that rugby isn’t entertaining at every level (even if it’s sometimes for the wrong reasons!). Have a look at some of the amateur rugby videos on Rugby Dump and you’ll see what I mean!