The 10th renewal of the Rugby World Cup is currently underway in France, where defending champions South Africa are looking to become the most successful nation in tournament history by getting their hands on the sought-after Webb Ellis Cup for a fourth time.
They are currently the joint-favourites in the Rugby World Cup odds. But World No.1-ranked side Ireland might prove to have an edge given that they won their thrilling pool encounter with the Springboks 13-8, while New Zealand and hosts France could have a say.
The Rugby World Cup is still a relatively new competition in that it was only inaugurated in 1987, and only four nations have had their names engraved on the Webb Ellis Cup to this point. Both Ireland and France will be hoping to become the fifth this year, but for now, let’s take a look at the sides who have won the Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand – Three titles
When you think about the Rugby World Cup, New Zealand are one of the first teams that spring to mind — and rightfully so, as the All Blacks have won the Webb Ellis Cup three times. The southern hemisphere side won the first-ever World Cup on home soil in 1987, beating France 29-9 in Auckland.
It wasn’t until 2011 that New Zealand won it again, however. History repeated itself though, as the All Blacks beat Les Bleus in Auckland once again. The only thing that wasn’t a carbon copy was the scoreline, as it was a much closer 8-9 at Eden Park.
New Zealand only had to wait four years for their next success — becoming the first team in history to win back-to-back World Cups when they beat rivals Australia 34-17 at Twickenham Stadium in London.
South Africa – Three titles
South Africa missed the first two renewals of the Rugby World Cup due to a worldwide sporting ban resulting from Apartheid, but they hosted the 1995 edition and marked their presence with a monumental victory over New Zealand at Ellis Park. President Nelson Mandela handing out the trophy while donning a Springboks jersey is still one of the most iconic moments in sporting history.
South Africa won the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time in 2007, beating then-defending champions England 15-6 at the Stade de France. The Springboks matched New Zealand’s record of three when winning the first Asia-held World Cup in Japan four years ago — once again getting the better of England, beating Eddie Jones’ men 32-12 at the International Stadium in Yokohama.
Australia – Two titles
Australia were once the record holders for the most World Cup successes, winning two of the first four renewals of the tournament. However, they have since been left behind by their southern hemisphere counterparts.
The Wallabies won their first Webb Ellis Cup in 1991, beating England 12-6 at Twickenham, and they regained eight years later in 1999 when beating France 35-12 at the Millenium Stadium in Wales. Australia have lost two finals since.
England – One title
England hold the record for the most Rugby World Cup final appearances alongside New Zealand and Australia with four, but they have got their hands on the Webb Ellis Cup just once. That’s not an ideal return, but they do have the bragging rights as the only northern hemisphere team to win the competition.
Their only victory came in 2003 when a dramatic Jonny Wilkinson drop goal won it in extra-time against hosts Australia in Sydney. Looking at this betting calculator, England only have an outside chance of winning a second World Cup in France later this month.