The Rugby World Cup is contested every four years between the top international teams. The tournament was first held in 1987, when the tournament was co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia. In 2019, the tournament was held in Japan, where the Springboks won the title for the third time. RWC 2023 will take place in France.
The winners are awarded the Webb Ellis Cup, named after William Webb Ellis, the Rugby School pupil who, according to a popular legend, invented rugby by picking up the ball during a football game.
Four countries have won the trophy; New Zealand three times, Australia and South Africa each twice, and England once. New Zealand are the current champions, having defeated Australia in the final of the 2015 tournament in England.
The tournament is administered by World Rugby, the sport's international governing body. Sixteen teams were invited to participate in the inaugural tournament in 1987, however since 1999, 20 teams have taken part. Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and France will host in 2023.
In 1987, New Zealand won on home soil. In 1991, Australia were crowned champions in England, and the Springboks won the tournament in South Africa in 1995.
Rugby turned professional in 1996 and in 1999, Australia won again (in Wales), in 2003 England became the first team from the Northern Hemisphere to win the Webb Ellis Cup (in Australia), the Boks won in France in 2007 and the All Blacks were crowned back-to-back champions in 2011 (in New Zealand) and 2015 (in England).
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