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Rugby World Cup Facts & Statistics

Here you will find a bunch of crazy Rugby World Cup facts and statistics that you may not have known. From Rugby World Cup fun facts to historic statistics and did you know facts for meme's. All info is sourced and accurate to the best of my knowledge, but without guarantee.

Rugby World Cup Did You Know Fun Facts

Why not use these RWC fun facts for a Rugby World Cup quiz or trivia quiz night. With a variety of rugby fun facts spanning various teams, countries, players and results you'll be sure to find enough fun facts to generate a list of Rugby World Cup questions to test your friends or customers.

Will the winner of the Rugby Championship win the Rugby World Cup?

Until 2019 the winners of the Rugby Championship title have not gone on to win the Rugby World Cup in the same year. South Africa were the first team to win both the Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup in the same year in 2019.

Successfully Defended World Cup Titles

New Zealand and South Africa are the only two nations to win back to back world cups. New Zealand won the 2011 Rugby World Cup and successfully defended the tirle in 2015. South Africa won the 2019 Rugby World Cup and successfully defended it in 2023.

How many teams have reached a Rugby World Cup final?

Since 1987 and the ten Rugby World Cups to date, only 5 teams have ever appeared in a Rugby World Cup final. They are Australia, England, France, New Zealand and South Africa.

South Africa have never lost a Rugby World Cup final

Did you know, South Africa have never lost a Rugby World Cup final. They appeared in the 1995, 2007, 2019 and 2023 Rugby World Cup finals and won them all.

How many times have France been in a Rugby World Cup final?

France seem to have a Rugby World Cup omen, they have played in 3 Rugby World Cup finals and lost all of them, twice to New Zealand and once to Australia. They've also been in 3 bronze finals and won 1 of them in 1995.

RWC Wins: Northern Hemisphere 1 - Southern Hemisphere 9

How many times has a Northern Hemisphere, or Southern Hemisphere team won the Rugby World Cup? The Rugby World Cup has been won by a Northern Hemisphere team a total of 1 time, by England in 2003. A Southern Hemisphere team has won the Rugby World Cup 9 times in total. 1987 by New Zealand, 1991 by Australia, 1995 by South Africa, 1999 by Australia, 2007 by South Africa, 2011 by New Zealand, 2015 by New Zealand, 2019 by South Africa and finally 2023 again by South Africa.

24 years of no gold for New Zealand

It's bizarre to realise that New Zealand went a full 24 years without winning the Rugby World cup between 1987 and 2011. Despite probably being the best team in the world through those years and dominating the IRB world ranking's, the RWC title remained out of their grasp for a very long time. To make up for it, they won twice in a row from 2011 to 2015.

Avg points scored in a RWC Final by winning team

The average amount of points scored by the winning team in a Rugby World Cup final is 22 (from 1987 to 2019). The highest score was 35 points by Australia in 1999, and the lowest winning score was 8 by New Zealand in 2011 where they played France at their own game.

Home nation teams that scored zero at a RWC

England and Scotland are the only two home nations to loose a RWC match with zero points. England were thumped by South Africa in 2007, 36 points to nil in the pool stages, Scotland lost to New Zealand in 2007 by 40 points to nil.

Highest winning margin at a Rugby World Cup

Australia hold the highest winning margin score in any one match when they beat Namibia in 2003 by 142 points to nil. New Zealand however hold the highest score with 145 points in 1995 when they played Japan (scored 17).

How many Drawn Matches have there been in RWC History?

A draw is quite rare in RWC history, with only 4 played matches ever resulting in a draw between 1987 and 2023. They include France 20 - Scotland 20 in 1987, Canada 12 - Japan 12 in 2007, Canada 23 - Japan 23 in 2011 and Georgia v Portugal in 2023. *We didn't include the 3 cancelled matches in 2019 due to Typhoon Hagibis that were declared as draws, but never 'played'.

The RWC King of Drop Goals

Jonny Wilkinson scored 8 drop goals in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, followed by South Africa's Jannie de Beer in the 1999 RWC with 6. However, Jannie de Beer hit 5 of his 6 drop goals in one match against England in 1999, where in reflection Jonny Wilkinson maxed out at 3 in any one match. George Ford also scored 3 drop goals in Englands opening game against Argentina in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Has any team won the Rugby World Cup having lost a pool game?

History tells us that winners of the Rugby World Cup have previously won ALL their Pool games, unless they are South Africa! In 2019 and 2023 South Africa were the only team to win the RWC having not won all their pool games before hand (loosing to New Zealand 23-13 in the 2019 Rugby World Cup and loosing to Ireland 00-00 in the 2023 Rugby World Cup). In all other Rugby World Cup's, the Webb Ellis trophy has only ever been won by teams who have won all their pool games.

England 1st sole host nation to exit in pool stage

In 2015 England were the first sole-host nation of a Rugby World Cup to exit the tournament in the group stages. Others have included Wales who co-hosted the RWC in 1991.

Host nation should win opening match...

Since 1987, the host nation of the Rugby World Cup has won the opening match, apart from England and France! England lost their opening match to New Zealand 12 points to 18, in 1991 when they co-hosted the tournament with Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France. Then in 2007 France hosted the Rugby World Cup and lost their opening game to Argentina 12 points to 17. More interestingly is that France made it all the way to the Bronze final, where they played none other than Argentina and lost again 10 points to 34!

Fastest drop goal at any RWC is 35 seconds

The fastest drop goal in Rugby World Cup history was made by Dan Biggar playing for Wales in the 2019 Rugby World Cup pool match against Australia, at a record breaking 35 seconds. Wales kicked off the high profile match against Australia, turning over the ball quickly through Aaron Wainwright and passing it out to Dan Biggar who was sat ready for the drop goal.

The AUS, FIJI & WAL Love Triangle

Since the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Wales and Fiji have been in the same pool in every following Rugby World Cup (2007, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023). Additionally Australia have been in the same pool as Wales and Fiji a total of 4 times since 2007 (sharing the pool in 2007, 2015, 2019 and 2023). Seems we can't keep these three apart!

Do New Zealand always win the Pool?

Since 1987 and the 10 World Cups to date, New Zealand have historically always won their pool, up until 2023 where they came 2nd in the pool, with France taking the top spot. No other nation has ever always won their pool, which includes South Africa, Australia, France and England.

Ireland have never reached a semi-final at a Rugby World Cup

Surprisingly, Ireland have never reached the semi-finals stage of a Rugby World Cup! Call it unlucky or just the way it went down, Ireland have faced stiff opposition. Their quarter finals results tell the tale; in the 1987 RWC they lost to Australia 33-15, then in 1991 they again lost to Australia 19-18, in 1995 they lost to France 36-12, in 1999 a shock defeat to Argentina in the quarter final play-off (due to 5 pools), in 2003 France again beat Ireland 43-21, in 2007 they failed to reach the Quarter Finals stage having come 3rd in their pool, in 2011 they lost to Wales 22-10, in 2015 Ireland lost to Argentina 43-20, in 2019 they lost to New Zealand 46-14, and finally in 2023 they lost to New Zealand 28-24.

Has a Rugby World Cup match ever been cancelled?

The first ever match cancellation at a Rugby World Cup was due to Typhoon at The Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup. Typhoon Hagibis forced organisers to cancel pool matches between New Zealand and Italy, England and France, Namibia and Canada. Matches were declared as a draw, with points divided equally and no scored points declared. This was the first time matches had ever been cancelled in a Rugby World Cup Tournament, no doubt organisers learnt valuable lessons.

Australia's worst Rugby World Cup result

Australia faced their worst ever Rugby World Cup results in 2023 when they were knocked out of the tournament in the pool stages of the competition. This was the first time they had failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.

Have New Zealand ever lost a Pool game?

New Zealand have only ever lost 1 pool game since 1987, which was against France in the opening match of the France 2023 Rugby World Cup. They lost to a score of; France 27 - New Zealand 13.

Biggest All Blacks defeat at a Rugby World Cup

New Zealands biggest defeat in a Rugby World Cup was against France in the 2023 Rugby World Cup by 16 points, with a score of France 27 - New Zealand 13.

Record loss for Australia at RWC

Australia's biggest Rugby World Cup loss was to Wales in the 2023 World Cup where Wales won 40 points to Australia's 6 points. The match was played in the pool stage.

Who has scored the most overall points at any single Rugby World Cup?

Grant Fox of New Zealand holds the record for the most overall points scored by a single player at any single Rugby World Cup, with a points tally of 126 points, achieved in 1987.

Who has played the most Rugby World Cup matches?

Players with the most appearances at any Rugby World Cup include Jason Leonard, England with 22 matches, Richie McCaw, New Zealand with 22 matches, Alun Wyn Jones, Wales with 21 matches, Schalk Burger, South Africa with 20 matches, George Gregan, Australia with 20 matches, Keven Mealamu, New Zealand with 20 matches and Sam Whitelock, New Zealand with 20 matches.

Who scored the most tries in a Rugby World Cup?

The highest number of tries scored by a single player at any single Rugby World Cup is; Jonah Lomu, New Zealand in 1999 (8 tries), Bryan Habana, South Africa in 2007 (8 tries), Julian Savea, New Zealand in 2015 (8 tries) and Will Jordan, New Zealand in 2023 (8 tries).

Player with most points scored in a single match

Simon Culhane of New Zealand holds the record for the most points scored by a single player, in a single Rugby World Cup match, in New Zealands victory over Japn in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The score was New Zealand 145, Japan 17 (Which is also the highest score in a single RWC match).