Only four different countries have won the World Cup

There have been nine editions of the Rugby World Cup but only four different countries have emerged as champions. New Zealand and South Africa have won the most World Cups with three to their name and only one northern hemisphere team have won the trophy. That team, of course, was England in 2003.

But who else has won the World Cup? Here we run through each edition of the competition and who came out on top.

Related: Rugby World Cup 2023 fixtures

In 1987 New Zealand won the inaugural tournament. They defeated France 29-9 in the final at Eden Park with Wales and Australia third and fourth respectively.

The All Blacks could not defend the Rugby World Cup in the 1991 tournament as they only managed to finish third. The final was contested between Australia and England at Twickenham. The Wallabies won with a narrow 12-6 victory against the home side.

In 1995. there was an iconic moment between President Nelson Mandela and South Africa captain Francios Pienaar. The Springboks hosted the tournament and beat New Zealand 15-12 in the final to win the trophy for the first time. Mandela, who had been imprisoned under the country’s apartheid regime, handed Pienaar the trophy at a packed out Ellis Park.

Fast forward four years and two nations who had been in the final before were there again: Australia and France. The Wallabies managed to topple France 35-12 to become the first country to win the World Cup twice.

In 2003 it was the turn of the northern hemisphere. The final between defending champions and hosts Australia and England went into extra time and it was that famous drop-goal from Jonny Wilkinson which finally sealed the 20-17 win for Clive Woodward‘s heroes.

England made it to the final once again in the 2007 tournament but this time it was South Africa’s time to make history. Their 15-6 victory saw them become the second country ever to win the trophy twice.

New Zealand hosted in 2011 and they were dominant throughout the tournament. They faced France in the final and edged past them 8-7 in a nervy encounter, the lowest scoring World Cup final ever, which saw them join the two-time winner club.

The All Blacks cemented their place in history in 2015 as they won the tournament for the third time and became the first country to win it back-to-back. They defeated Australia 34-17 in the final at Twickenham.

And in the most recent edition of the World Cup, in 2019, South Africa equalled New Zealand’s record by winning the Webb Ellis trophy for the third time. They went into the final as underdogs after England beat the All Blacks convincingly in the semi-final. However, they blew Eddie Jones’s team away 32-12.

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