National team appearances in the Rugby World Cup

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This article lists the début of national teams that have so far qualified for the Rugby World Cup and their number of appearances.

Début of national teams[edit]

25 nations have thus far qualified for the Rugby World Cup. After the inaugural 16 made their debut in 1987, at least one side has been new to every subsequent world cup.

Year Nation(s) Total
1987  Argentina
 Australia
 Canada
 England
 Fiji
 France
 Ireland
 Italy
 Japan
 New Zealand
 Romania
 Scotland
 Tonga
 United States
 Wales
 Zimbabwe
16
1991  Samoa 1
1995  Ivory Coast
 South Africa
2
1999  Namibia
 Spain
 Uruguay
3
2003  Georgia 1
2007  Portugal 1
2011  Russia 1

By number of appearances[edit]

Team Appearances Record streak Active streak Debut Most recent Best result
 New Zealand 7 7 7 1987 2011 Champions (1987, 2011)
 South Africa 5 5 5 1995 2011 Champions (1995, 2007)
 Australia 7 7 7 1987 2011 Champions (1991, 1999)
 England 7 7 7 1987 2011 Champions (2003)
 France 7 7 7 1987 2011 Runners-up (1987, 1999, 2011)
 Argentina 7 7 7 1987 2011 Third place (2007)
 Wales 7 7 7 1987 2011 Third place (1987)
 Scotland 7 7 7 1987 2011 Fourth place (1991)
 Ireland 7 7 7 1987 2011 Quarterfinals (1987, 1991, 1995, 2003, 2011)
 Fiji 6 4 4 1987 2011 Quarterfinals (1987, 2007)
 Samoa 6 6 6 1991 2011 Quarterfinals (1991, 1995)
 Canada 7 7 7 1987 2011 Quarterfinals (1991)
 Italy 7 7 7 1987 2011 Rd 1: 2 wins (2003, 2007, 2011)
 Tonga 6 5 5 1987 2011 Rd 1: 2 wins (2007, 2011)
 Romania 7 7 7 1987 2011 Rd 1: 1 win (1987, 1991, 1999, 2003, 2007)
 United States 6 4 4 1987 2011 Rd 1: 1 win (1987, 2003, 2011)
 Georgia 3 3 3 2003 2011 Rd 1: 1 win (2007, 2011)
 Uruguay 2 2 0 1999 2003 Rd 1: 1 win (1999, 2003)
 Japan 7 7 7 1987 2011 Rd 1: 1 win (1991)
 Namibia 4 4 4 1999 2011 Rd 1: 0 wins
 Russia 1 1 1 2011 2011 Rd 1: 0 wins
 Zimbabwe 2 2 0 1987 1991 Rd 1: 0 wins
 Portugal 1 1 0 2007 2007 Rd 1: 0 wins
 Spain 1 1 0 1999 1999 Rd 1: 0 wins
 Ivory Coast 1 1 0 1995 1995 Rd 1: 0 wins

Comprehensive team results[edit]

Map of countries' best results (click to enlarge)
Legend
  • 1st — Champions
  • 2nd — Runners-up
  • 3rd — Third place
  • 4th — Fourth place
  • QF — Quarterfinals (knockout round of 8)
  • R2 — Round 2 (1999: quarterfinal playoffs)
  • R1 — Round 1 (pool stage)
  • L — Last place
  •  ••  — Invited or qualified but declined or withdrew
  •  •  — Did not qualify
  •     — Not invited (1987) / Did not enter / Withdrew
  •    — Hosts

For each tournament, the number of teams in each finals tournament (in brackets) are shown.

Team 1987
(16)
1991
(16)
1995
(16)
1999
(20)
2003
(20)
2007
(20)
2011
(20)
 Argentina R1
13th
R1
14th
R1
13th
QF
8th
R1
9th
3rd QF
8th
 Australia 4th 1st QF
5th
1st 2nd QF
6th
3rd
 Canada R1
9th
QF
8th
R1
10th
R1
12th
R1
14th
R1
17th
R1
13th
 England QF
5th
2nd 4th QF
5th
1st 2nd QF
6th
 Fiji QF
8th
R1
13th
R2
10th
R1
10th
QF
7th
R1
14th
 France 2nd QF
7th
3rd 2nd 4th 4th 2nd
 Georgia ••(2) R1
19th
R1
13th
R1
15th
 Ireland QF
7th
QF
6th
QF
8th
R2
9th
QF
6th
R1
11th
QF
7th
 Italy R1
12th
R1
10th
R1
11th
R1
20th
R1
12th
R1
12th
R1
11th
 Ivory Coast(1) R1
15th
 Japan R1
15th
R1
9th
R1
16th
R1
17th
R1
17th
R1
16th
R1
17th
 Namibia R1
19th
R1
20th
R1
20th
R1
20th
 New Zealand 1st 3rd 2nd 4th 3rd QF
5th
1st
 Portugal R1
19th
 Romania R1
11th
R1
12th
R1
14th
R1
14th
R1
15th
R1
15th
R1
19th
 Russia ••(2) R1
18th
 Samoa(3) QF
7th
QF
7th
R2
11th
R1
11th
R1
14th
R1
10th
 Scotland QF
6th
4th QF
6th
QF
6th
QF
8th
QF
8th
R1
9th
 South Africa(4) 1st 3rd QF
5th
1st QF
5th
 Spain R1
18th
 Tonga R1
14th
R1
12th
R1
15th
R1
18th
R1
10th
R1
12th
 United States R1
10th
R1
15th
R1
16th
R1
13th
R1
18th
R1
16th
 Uruguay R1
13th
R1
16th
 Wales 3rd R1
11th
R1
9th
QF
7th
QF
7th
R1
9th
4th
 Zimbabwe R1
16th
R1
16th
1 The team representing Côte d'Ivoire (also known as Ivory Coast) is recognised as Ivory Coast by the International Rugby Board.
2 Georgia and Russia were part of the Soviet Union in 1987, whose national team declined an invitation to the inaugural World Cup on political grounds.
3 Samoa was known as Western Samoa until 1997.
4 South Africa did not compete in 1987 and 1991 while subject to an international sporting boycott in opposition to the country's apartheid regime.

Result of host nations[edit]

The best result by hosts is champions, achieved by New Zealand in 1987 and 2011, and by South Africa in 1995. The worst result was by Wales in 1991 with only one win in pool play, although they did not host the final. The worst result by a country who hosted the final is also held by Wales, being eliminated in the quarter-finals in 1999.

Year Host nation Finish
1987  New Zealand Champions
 Australia Fourth Place
1991  England Runners-up
 Scotland Fourth Place
 France Quarter Final
 Ireland Quarter Final
 Wales Group Stage
1995  South Africa Champions
1999  Wales Quarter Final
2003  Australia Runners-up
2007  France Fourth Place
2011  New Zealand Champions

Results of defending champions[edit]

A defending champion has never won the World Cup. The best result is runners-up by Australia and England in 2003 and 2007, respectively. The worst results were by Australia in 1995 and South Africa in 2011, both exiting in the quarter-finals.

Year Defending champions Finish
1991  New Zealand Third Place
1995  Australia Quarter Final
1999  South Africa Third Place
2003  Australia Runners-up
2007  England Runners-up
2011  South Africa Quarter Final

External links[edit]