Rugby World Cup Trivia
Interesting facts and figures about the Rugby World Cup
- Before the first Rugby World Cup in 1987, the USA was technically the reigning international champion because they had won the gold medal at the 1924 Summer Olympics rugby tournament.
- The World Cup winners are awarded the William Webb Ellis Cup - William Webb Ellis was the Rugby School pupil who, according to popular myth, invented the game.
- The first Rugby World Cup in 1987 held no qualifying tournament. All the members of the IFRB were automatically included, the remaining positions were filled by invitation.
- New Zealand (1987, 2011, 2015) has won the Rugby World Cup three times. Australia (1991, 1999) and South Africa (1995, 2007) and have each won twice.
- The only nations to host and win a tournament are New Zealand (1987, 2011) and South Africa (1995)
- The 2003 Rugby World Cup had a global cumulative audience of 3.5 billion, and was broadcast in 205 countries around the world. No doubt the following events have been even bigger.
- The most points that have ever been scored against a team at a World Cup is 145 by New Zealand in a match against Japan in 1995. New Zealand scored 21 tries in that match.
- The widest winning margin in a World Cup match is 142, achieved by Australia against Namibia in 2003.
- England prop Jason Leonard made a record 22 appearances, and featured in four World Cups from 1991 to 2003.
- Namibian Rudie van Vuuren appeared in both the cricket and rugby union World Cups in 2003.
- New Zealander Michael Jones scored the opening try of the match at both the 1987 and 1991 Rugby World Cups.
- Eden Park in Auckland (1987 and 2011) and Twickenham Stadium in London (1991 and 2015) have hosted the Rugby World Cup Final twice.
- The first (and only so far) non-southern hemisphere country to win the world cup was England in 2003 (more firsts)
- English player Mike Tindall married Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne of England, Prince William’s cousin and 13th in line to the British throne in 2011.
- In 2023, South Africa won a record fourth Rugby World Cup.