National team appearances in the Rugby World Cup

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This article presents the national team appearances in the Rugby World Cup. The article tracks the appearances, results, and debuts for all national teams that have participated in at least one Rugby World Cup.

Number of appearances[edit]

Tournament appearances by team, up to and including 2019:

Team Apps Record
streak
Active
streak
Debut Most
recent
Best result
 New Zealand 9 9 9 1987 2019 Champions (1987, 2011, 2015)
 South Africa 7 7 7 1995 2019 Champions (1995, 2007, 2019)
 Australia 9 9 9 1987 2019 Champions (1991, 1999)
 England 9 9 9 1987 2019 Champions (2003)
 France 9 9 9 1987 2019 Runners-up (1987, 1999, 2011)
 Wales 9 9 9 1987 2019 Third place (1987)
 Argentina 9 9 9 1987 2019 Third place (2007)
 Scotland 9 9 9 1987 2019 Fourth place (1991)
 Ireland 9 9 9 1987 2019 Quarter-finals (seven times)
 Fiji 8 6 6 1987 2019 Quarter-finals (1987, 2007)
 Samoa 8 8 8 1991 2019 Quarter-finals (1991, 1995)
 Canada 9 9 9 1987 2019 Quarter-finals (1991)
 Japan 9 9 9 1987 2019 Quarter-finals (2019)
 Italy 9 9 9 1987 2019 2 wins (five times)
 Tonga 8 7 7 1987 2019 2 wins (2007, 2011)
 Georgia 5 5 5 2003 2019 2 wins (2015)
 Romania 8 8 0 1987 2015 1 win (six times)
 United States 8 6 6 1987 2019 1 win (1987, 2003, 2011)
 Uruguay 4 2 2 1999 2019 1 win (1999, 2003, 2019)
 Zimbabwe 2 2 0 1987 1991 0 wins
 Ivory Coast 1 1 0 1995 1995 0 wins
 Namibia 6 6 6 1999 2019 0 wins
 Spain 1 1 0 1999 1999 0 wins
 Portugal 1 1 0 2007 2007 0 wins
 Russia 2 1 1 2011 2019 0 wins

Results by tournament[edit]

Map of countries' best results (click to enlarge)
Legend

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)
2015
(20)
2019
(20)
2023
(20)
Africa
 Ivory Coast R1 TBD
 Namibia R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 TBD
 South Africa(3) 1st 3rd QF 1st QF 3rd 1st Q
 Zimbabwe R1 R1 TBD
Asia
 Japan R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 QF Q
Europe
 England QF 2nd 4th QF 1st 2nd QF R1 2nd Q
 France 2nd QF 3rd 2nd 4th 4th 2nd QF QF Q
 Georgia ••(1) R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 TBD
 Ireland QF QF QF R2 QF R1 QF QF QF Q
 Italy R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 Q
 Portugal R1 TBD
 Romania R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 (4) TBD
 Russia ••(1) R1 R1 TBD
 Scotland QF 4th QF QF QF QF R1 QF R1 Q
 Spain R1 (4) TBD
 Wales 3rd R1 R1 QF QF R1 4th QF 4th Q
North America
 Canada R1 QF R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 TBD
 United States R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 TBD
Oceania
 Australia 4th 1st QF 1st 2nd QF 3rd 2nd QF Q
 Fiji QF R1 R2 R1 QF R1 R1 R1 Q
 New Zealand 1st 3rd 2nd 4th 3rd QF 1st 1st 3rd Q
 Samoa(2) QF QF R2 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 TBD
 Tonga R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 TBD
South America
 Argentina R1 R1 R1 QF R1 3rd QF 4th R1 Q
 Uruguay R1 R1 R1 R1 TBD
Team 1987
(16)
1991
(16)
1995
(16)
1999
(20)
2003
(20)
2007
(20)
2011
(20)
2015
(20)
2019
(20)
2023
(20)
  • 1 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.
  • 2 Samoa was known as Western Samoa until 1997.
  • 3 South Africa did not compete in 1987 and 1991 while subject to an international sporting boycott in opposition to the country's apartheid regime.
  • 4 Romania and Spain fielded ineligible players during the Rugby Europe Championship, incurring points deductions resulting in their non-qualification in 2019.[1]

Debut of national teams[edit]

25 nations have thus far qualified for the Rugby World Cup. From 1987 until 2011, each edition featured at least one new debuting country. The 2015 tournament was the first edition with no country making its debut. It simply featured the return of Uruguay after not qualifying for the 2007 and 2011 editions. The 2019 was the same, with Romania disqualified and replaced by Russia.

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
2015 (none) 0
2019 (none) 0

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 held by England, being eliminated in the group stage in 2015.

Year Host nation Finish
1987  New Zealand Champions
 Australia Fourth place
1991  England Runners-up
 Scotland Fourth place
 France Quarter-finals
 Ireland Quarter-finals
 Wales Group stage
1995  South Africa Champions
1999  Wales Quarter-finals
2003  Australia Runners-up
2007  France Fourth place
2011  New Zealand Champions
2015  England Group stage
2019  Japan Quarter-finals
2023  France

Results of defending champions[edit]

New Zealand is the only nation to successfully defend the World Cup as defending champions in 2015. Australia and England achieved runner up 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-finals
1999  South Africa Third place
2003  Australia Runners-up
2007  England Runners-up
2011  South Africa Quarter-finals
2015  New Zealand Champions
2019  New Zealand Third place

Performance by confederation[edit]

This is a summary of the best performances of each confederation in each tournament.

Confederation 1987
(16)
1991
(16)
1995
(16)
1999
(20)
2003
(20)
2007
(20)
2011
(20)
2015
(20)
2019
(20)
2023
(20)
Africa R1 R1 1st 3rd QF 1st QF 3rd 1st TBD
Asia R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 QF TBD
Europe 2nd 2nd 3rd 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd QF 2nd TBD
North America R1 QF R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 TBD
Oceania 1st 1st 2nd 1st 2nd QF 1st 1st 3rd TBD
South America R1 R1 R1 QF R1 3rd QF 4th R1 TBD

Number of teams by confederation[edit]

This is a summary of the total number of participating teams by confederation in each tournament.

Confederation 1987
(16)
1991
(16)
1995
(16)
1999
(20)
2003
(20)
2007
(20)
2011
(20)
2015
(20)
2019
(20)
2023
(20)
Africa 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 TBD
Asia 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 TBD
Europe 7 7 7 8 8 9 9 8 8 TBD
North America 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 TBD
Oceania 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 TBD
South America 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 TBD

Appearance droughts[edit]

This section is a list of droughts associated with the participation of national rugby union teams in the Rugby World Cups.

Longest active droughts[edit]

Does not include teams that have not yet made their first appearance or teams that no longer exist.

Team Last appearance WC Missed
 Zimbabwe 1991 7
 Ivory Coast 1995 6
 Spain 1999 5
 Portugal 2007 3
 Romania 2015 1

Longest droughts overall[edit]

Only includes droughts begun after a team's first appearance and until the team ceased to exist updated to include qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Team Prev. appearance Next appearance WC Missed
 Zimbabwe 1991 active 7
 Ivory Coast 1995 active 6
 Spain 1999 active 5
 Portugal 2007 active 3
 Uruguay 2003 2015 2

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Russia handed World Cup place as Romania penalised for ineligible player". The Guardian. 16 May 2018.

External links[edit]