We take a look at the past countries to have hosted the tournament.

Past Rugby World Cup Hosts

The Rugby World Cup tournament is in Japan and Asia for the first time in 2019, but where has the tournament been hosted in the past? We take a look at the past eight Rugby World Cup host nations in this piece, of course starting in 1987 and Australia and New Zealand.

Past Rugby World Cup Hosts

1987 in Australia and New Zealand

The inaugural tournament was co-hosted by two countries with New Zealand hosting 17 pool stage matches, two quarter-finals, third-place playoff and the final, and Australia hosting seven pool matches, two quarter-finals and both semi-finals. 16 teams competed in the tournament with New Zealand emerging victorious.

1991 in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France

Four years on the tournament was held in the northern hemisphere for the first time by the five nations competing in the Five Nations Championship. In Pool 1 (England’s group), all the matches were hosted in stadiums in England – Twickenham, Cross Green, Welford Road or Kingsholm.

In Pool 2 (Scotland and Ireland’s group) the matches were held in Murrayfield, Lansdowne Road or Ravenhill in Belfast. Pool 3 (Wales’ group) saw all the matches take place in Wales and the same can be said for Pool 4 and France.

The knockout rounds took place across the five nations with Twickenham hosting the final which saw Australia win over home favourites England.

1995 in South Africa

Springboks Lair: South Africa would hoist the trophy in Ellis Park in 1995 (Getty Images)

The Rugby World Cup then headed to Africa. After the end of apartheid this was to be the first major sports tournament to take place in South Africa. Ellis Park, Newlands, Loftus Versfeld and Kings Park were just some of the huge stadiums to host games.

The hosts would go on to win the tournament too, beating New Zealand in the final.

1999 in WalesEngland, FranceScotland, Ireland 

Like the 1991 tournament, the 1999 edition would be held by the countries of the Five Nations, this time Wales would act as the principal host though as they got the opening ceremony, first match and final. Pretty much most of the other matches took place in the other four nations.

There were also more teams this time around as the tournament was expanded from 16 teams to 20 however the usual suspects competed for the title. Again, like eight years previously, the Australians won their second World Cup.

2003 in Australia

This tournament was supposed to resemble the 1987 event, with Australia and New Zealand hosting matches. However the entire tournament was shifted to Australia by itself when their was a contractual despite between the New Zealand Rugby Union and Rugby World Cup Limited.

Australia would again have a good tournament, beating their rivals New Zealand and getting to the final. However they would lose to England in extra-time.

2007 in France

Stade de France: The iconic stadium hosted the 2007 final (Getty Images)

France won the right to host the 2007 tournament beating out England and hosted pretty much all the games in 12 stadiums across France – four were played in Cardiff and two in Edinburgh.

Despite beating New Zealand, France lost to England in the semi-finals who then went on to lose narrowly to South Africa.

2011 in New Zealand

The pressure intensified as the tournament went back to New Zealand in 2011, as the island nation beat out bids from Japan and South Africa to host. The All Blacks had not won a tournament since the first one in 1987 so the entire country expected Richie McCaw and co to lead them to victory.

That’s exactly what happened as they beat their nemesis France 8-7 in the final.

2015 in England

Again Japan and South Africa lost out on hosting the tournament in 2015, as did Italy. This time England secured the event and the team responded by becoming the first one to fail to make it out of the group stages. New Zealand would become the first team to retain the Rugby World Cup and the first team to win it three times.

2019 in Japan

The tournament heads to Japan and Asia for the first time. Who do you think will come out on top this year?

Follow our Rugby World Cup homepage which we update regularly with news and features. 

Also make sure you know about the GroupsWarm-upsDatesFixturesVenuesTV Coverage, and Qualified Teams by clicking on the highlighted links.

Finally, don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.