Rugby World Cup Winners – From Past to Present

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup fast approaching we are now of an era where individuals who enjoy watching rugby, may not know who has won the rugby world cup in the past.

The inaugural rugby world cup in 1987 was won by New Zealand. New Zealand has won the cup three times, Australia twice, South Africa twice and England once.

The following article identifies each of the following winners or the rugby world cup and gives background to the tournaments which the teams won:

Table of Rugby World Cup Winners

1987 Rugby World Cup

1991 Rugby World Cup

1995 Rugby World Cup

1999 Rugby World Cup

2003 Rugby World Cup

2007 Rugby World Cup

2011 Rugby World Cup

2015 Rugby World Cup

Table of Rugby World Cup Winners

Below is a list of the teams which have won the rugby world cup from 1987 – 2015.

New Zealand1987
South Africa1995
South Africa2007
New Zealand2011
New Zealand2015

1987 – New Zealand – Rugby World Cup Winners

Host Nation: Australia and New Zealand

The 1987 Rugby World Cup was the first tournament for the rugby world cup and was joint hosted between New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand were in Pool 3 which consisted of Fiji, Italy and Argentina. New Zealand were in emphatic form throughout the group stages, scoring 190 points with a total of 30 tries scored and only 34 points conceded. This was clearly a warning sign to the rest of the teams in the tournament that New Zealand were strong contenders of the William Web Ellis Trophy. In the quarter finals New Zealand came up against Scotland. It was a one-sided affair and New Zealand went on to win the game 30-3. Unfortunately, the home nations did not fair much better when New Zealand stormed into the semi-finals, where they met Wales. New Zealand were dominant and won the semi-final 49-6 with eight tries being scored in the game and seven of the conversions being made.

The final was played between New Zealand and France on the 20th June 1987. France has played an amazing game to beat Australia to make the final and this had taken its toll on the French team. New Zealand played a conservative game and went for points at every opportunity and won the game 29-9 to become 1987 Rugby World Cup Champions. Following a great display against the French the Sunday Tribune stated that:

I do not wish to compare this team to the 1963 all black or any other side or to comment on how good it is. You can only judge greatness by what a team wins and how long it can stay winning. I feel this team will continue winning and continue for some time in this way will achieve greatness.

Sunday Tribune – Sunday 21 June 1987

1991 – Australia – Rugby World Cup Winners

Host nation: England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and France.

The 1991 rugby World Cup was the first tournament held in the northern hemisphere. Australia who were drawn in the same pool as Argentina, Wales and a new team to the world cup Western Samoa. The surprise of the tournament was Western Samoa who beat Wales to the second qualification place in the pool. Australia beat Western Samoa 9-3 to top the pool. Australia scored 79 points within their pool matches and only conceded 29.

Australia’s quarter final would go down in history as the game of the tournament. Ireland had obtained the lead with only seven minutes of the game left with their only try of the game. Ireland had kept the game close, due to Australia giving away penalties which were in kicking distance. However, Australia dug deep and scored a last minute try which gave them win and set up a semi final against rival New Zealand. Australia were clinical in the game and New Zealand were having to chase points due to a sublime first half by Australia. Australia ran out 16-6 winners and would face England in the final at Twickenham.

England changed their tactics when facing Australia in the final, as prior to this point England had relied heavily on their forwards. An opening running game did not pull off the upset that England had hoped, and Australia would run out winners by a six-point margin. The only try of the game was scored by Australia in the first half. A penalty try could have been awarded to England as David Campese knocked on when England had an overlap to score.

Australia proved conclusively they have no equals in world rugby by winning the Web Ellis Cup in style in Twickenham yesterday. – Sunday life

1995 – South Africa – Rugby World Cup Winners

Host nation: South Africa

The 1995 Rugby World Cup was the first time that South Africa was invited to play in the compeition following the end of apartheid. Within South Africa’s pool was Australia, Canada and Romania. The opening game of the world cup was South Africa against the reigning champions Australia. A close affair was edged out with a nine point win for South Africa. This win was followed up with comprehensive wins against Canada and Romania. South Africa topped their pool and went on to face Western Samoa in the quarter finals. Ch