When Was The First Rugby World Cup?

The First Rugby World Cup was held in 1987, marking a significant milestone in the history of international rugby. It was an event that brought together teams from around the world in a thrilling display of skill, athleticism, and sportsmanship.

The tournament, organized by the International Rugby Board (now World Rugby), showcased the rich history and tradition of the sport. With a total of 16 teams participating, including powerhouses New Zealand, Australia, and France, the competition was fierce and the excitement palpable. The inaugural Rugby World Cup captured the imagination of audiences worldwide and set the stage for what would become one of the most prestigious tournaments in the sporting world.

When Was the First Rugby World Cup?

Introduction to the First Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup is one of the most highly-anticipated and prestigious rugby union tournaments in the world. It brings together the best national teams from around the globe to compete for the ultimate prize in rugby. But when did it all begin? When was the first Rugby World Cup held? In this article, we will delve into the history of the tournament and explore the origins of the first Rugby World Cup.

The first Rugby World Cup was held in 1987, making it a relatively young tournament compared to other international sporting events. Prior to the establishment of the Rugby World Cup, international rugby matches were played on an ad-hoc basis. However, there was a growing desire within the rugby community to create a more formal and structured competition that would showcase the best teams in the world.

This led to the establishment of the International Rugby Board (now known as World Rugby) in 1886, which was responsible for governing the sport and organizing international matches. Over the next century, the idea of a global rugby tournament gained momentum, and finally, in 1987, the first Rugby World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand.


The Creation of the Rugby World Cup

The journey to create the Rugby World Cup was not an easy one. It took several decades of discussions, negotiations, and planning before the tournament became a reality. The idea was first proposed in the 1950s, but it faced significant opposition from traditionalists who believed that international rugby should remain purely amateur.

However, as the sport of rugby evolved and the popularity of international matches grew, there was a shift in mindset. The success of other sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, demonstrated the global appeal and commercial potential of a tournament like the Rugby World Cup.

In the late 1970s, the concept gained traction, and discussions began in earnest to establish a formal international rugby tournament. The International Rugby Board (IRB) formed a committee to explore the possibility, and after several years of consultation and planning, the first Rugby World Cup was given the green light.

The Inaugural Tournament

The first Rugby World Cup was held from May 22 to June 20, 1987. It was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, with matches taking place in various cities across both countries. The tournament featured 16 teams, divided into four pools, with the top two teams from each pool advancing to the knockout stages.

The opening match of the tournament was held between New Zealand and Italy at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. The All Blacks, as the New Zealand national team is known, won the match convincingly with a score of 70-6. This set the tone for the tournament and established New Zealand as one of the early favorites.

The knockout stages were fiercely contested, with close matches and surprising upsets. In the end, it was New Zealand and France who emerged as the finalists. The final took place on June 20, 1987, at Eden Park in Auckland. New Zealand dominated the match, defeating France 29-9 and claiming the title of the first-ever Rugby World Cup champions.

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Legacy of the First Rugby World Cup

The success of the first Rugby World Cup laid the foundation for the tournament’s continued growth and popularity. It showcased the excitement, skill, and passion of the sport on a global stage and captured the imagination of rugby fans around the world.

Since 1987, the Rugby World Cup has been held every four years, with different countries hosting the tournament. It has become one of the most significant events on the international sporting calendar, attracting millions of viewers and generating substantial economic revenue for the host nation.

Moreover, the Rugby World Cup has played a crucial role in the development of rugby as a sport. It has provided a platform for emerging rugby nations to showcase their talent and compete against more established teams. This has helped to raise the standard of rugby globally and fostered greater diversity and inclusivity within the sport.


The first Rugby World Cup, held in 1987, marked a significant milestone in the history of the sport. It brought together the best teams from around the world and established the tournament as a platform for excellence in rugby. Since then, the Rugby World Cup has grown in stature and popularity, captivating audiences with its thrilling matches and showcasing the values of teamwork, sportsmanship, and respect that are at the heart of the game.

Key Takeaways

  1. The first Rugby World Cup was held in 1987.
  2. New Zealand won the inaugural tournament, defeating France in the final.
  3. The tournament is held every four years, similar to the FIFA World Cup.
  4. England hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2015, becoming the first country outside of the traditional rugby-playing nations to do so.
  5. The next Rugby World Cup is scheduled for 2023 and will be held in France.

The first Rugby World Cup was held in 1987, making it the oldest international rugby championship tournament.

The tournament was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, with matches taking place across both countries. It was a major milestone for the sport, bringing together teams from around the world to compete for the title of world champions.

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