The Rugby World Cup is the biggest trophy in Rugby. Part of the reason why every player’s biggest wish is to win the title is because of the history of the tournament. This history dates back to the very first tournament in 1987, but who won that tournament?
Who won the first Rugby World Cup? New Zealand won the very first Rugby World Cup in 1987. They defeated France in the first final, lifting the trophy in front of their home fans in Auckland.
When World Rugby decided that New Zealand would host the very first world cup, there was no doubt heading into the tournament that New Zealand would be the favourites. The All Blacks are incredibly difficult to beat at home, with only a few teams in history ever going to New Zealand and winning a series in New Zealand.
In their group stage, New Zealand showed why they were the favourites straight away. In the very World Cup game of all time, New Zealand defeated Italy 70-6 in a demolition. They would again reach the 70-point mark in their second game, defeating Fiji 74-13 in Christchurch.
Argentina put up slightly more of a fight in the final group stage game, holding New Zealand to 46 points and putting up 15 of their own. So the All Blacks cruised through to the World Cup quarter-finals where they would face Scotland. Once again in Christchurch, they took apart the Scottish team for a comprehensive 30-3 victory.
The semi-final would be even less competitive, despite coming up against the Welsh side that had just beaten England 16-3. In the team’s only game of the tournament outside of New Zealand, the All Blacks demolished New Zealand 49-6 thanks to eight tries in total, with the tournament’s top try scorer John Kirwan adding two of those.
Many expected New Zealand to face fellow co-hosts Australia in the final as this was an Australian team featuring legends like Michael Lynagh, David Campese and captain Andrew Slack. But the Wallabies actually lost in the semi-final to France in a 24-30 game. It was incredibly disappointing for Australia as the game was held in Sydney.
So the final would be between New Zealand and France, with the All Blacks being the heavy favourites thanks to their great form and the fact that the game was being played in Auckland. They certainly looked like heavy favourites throughout the game. New Zealand would defeat France 29-9 in a final that was never particularly close.
The win in front of their home fans was a brilliant one for this New Zealand team and it meant they were the team to win the first Rugby World Cup. This New Zealand team are remembered as one of the best rugby teams of all time, featuring legends like Sean
Fitzpatrick, John Kirwan and Michael Jones.
Who was the top scorer in the first Rugby World Cup?
If you have heard anything about the very first Rugby World Cup, it can’t be too surprising to hear that a New Zealander was the top scorer at the tournament. Grant Fox was the tournament’s top scorer, miles ahead of Michael Lynagh in second and Gavin Hastings in third.
Fox finished the tournament with 126 points in total, 44 more than Lynagh who finished in second despite playing the same amount of games as Fox. Playing as the New Zealand’s team’s fly-half meant he got a lot of opportunities to convert on All-Black points. He finished the tournament with 30 conversions, by far the most in the tournament.
New Zealand’s physical dominance meant teams often had to commit infringements to try to stop them. It gave the All Blacks plenty of penalties and Fox added 21 penalties in the tournament, as well as one drop goal. Fox’s points tally is particularly impressive when you consider he did not score any tries in the team’s six games.
Where was the first Rugby World Cup held?
The very first World Cup was in 1987 and it was co-hosted between New Zealand and Australia. The splitting of the games between the two countries was slightly odd. Pool 1, which contained Australia, was played in Australia while all of the other pool games were played in New Zealand, except for Ireland vs Tonga in Pool 2.
The quarter-finals were split evenly, with two of them being played in Australia and two being played in New Zealand, with Christchurch, Sydney, Auckland and Brisbane being the hosts of these games. The agreement between the two teams was that Australia would host both of the semi-finals and New Zealand would host the final.
It is an agreement that worked out pretty well for the All Blacks, as their home fans got to watch as New Zealand won the very first Rugby World Cup.
Why was the first Rugby World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand?
The idea of a Rugby World Cup has not really been thought of until the mid-1980s. It was in March 1985 that the idea of a Rugby World Cup was first proposed and it was an idea that was eventually accepted.
Australia’s Nicholas Shehadie and New Zealand’s Richard Littlejohn were the two men driving the idea of a Rugby World Cup. They were determined to create a Rugby World Cup and they were the men who proposed the idea to the International Rugby Football Board at its annual meeting in Paris.
The idea did not have overwhelming support. It meant Shehadie and Littlejohn had to travel to countries like England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to try to gather support for the World Cup. It was eventually put to a vote and the proposal was successful, with the vote winning 10-6.
For being so crucial to driving the creation of the Rugby World Cup, Shehadie and Littlejohn were rewarded by having the very first World Cup being co-hosted between their two nations. Littlejohn and Shehadie are World Rugby hall of Famers and are crucial to the success Rugby has had over the last 30 years.