We explain the World Cup anomaly here....

It’s the hope of every beaten finalist – to bounce back stronger than ever, and triumph in the next final. Go one better. Banish the demons. Learn from the past. Take the spoils…

But while France 2023 will be the tenth instalment of the global showcase, those who know their Rugby World Cup history will know that beaten finalists never fare well four years, later.

Let’s walk down memory lane…

The plight of losing Rugby World Cup finalists

The simplest way to explain this is by going through each Rugby World Cup. This won’t show there’s a curse so much as a cycle to break…

So in 1987, the first-ever Rugby world Cup, New Zealand defeated France 29-9, at Auckland’s Eden Park. Have France ever won the Rugby World Cup? No they have not.

But they didn’t even make the next final, with Australia toppling England 12-6, at Twickenham no less. Michael Lynagh enjoyed himself that doay, while the enthralling David Campese just enjoyed himself the whole time. But no repeat entry from France…

The next World Cup, in 1995, there is no England in the final. They lost in the semi-finals to New Zealand – and, of course, iconically, to Jonah Lomu. And then the All Blacks lost the final to the Boks, 15-12.

Did the All Blacks show up in 1999’s final? Nope. That one, in Cardiff, was won by the Wallabies, 35-12 against France.

We know les Bleus have never won it, but they didn’t get close in 2003 either, lsoing 24-7 in the semis against eventual winners England.

They beat Australia in that final, famously, nail-bitingly. But the Wallabies didn’t make the next final.

England did in 2007, but they lost 15-6 to the Boks, a shot at a double scuppered. And the English would not be back in 2011.

France did, but again lost, this time to hosts New Zealand. And the All Blacks would take back-to-back titles, but it wasn’t France they faced in 2015, it was Australia.

And no prizes for guessing that Australia weren’t in the final in 2019, it was South Africa and England, with the Boks winning.

So the question is: can England be the first ever losing Rugby World Cup finalists to make it to the next final?

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