The Rugby World Cup is one of the most anticipated sporting events in the world. Every four years, countries from all over come together to compete for the Webb Ellis Cup. The tournament has a long and illustrious history, with many memorable moments. In this article, we will take a look at the winners, runners up and key moments from the two earliest Rugby World Cup tournaments. Let’s get started!
The first Rugby World Cup was held in 1987, with New Zealand winning the title. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in 1986, but was postponed due to the death of New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon.
The format of the tournament was a simple round-robin, with each team playing every other team once. The top two teams from each group qualified for the semi-finals, with the winners of those matches meeting in the final.
New Zealand won all their matches en route to the final, where they met France. The match was a close affair, with New Zealand ultimately prevailing 29-22. This win made them the first (and so far only) team to win the Rugby World Cup on their first attempt.
The 1991 Rugby World Cup was the second ever Rugby World Cup, and was held across England. The tournament saw New Zealand crowned as champions, after they defeated Australia in the final. The tournament also saw the emergence of Jonah Lomu as a global star, as he scored some spectacular tries for New Zealand throughout the tournament.
The opening match of the tournament saw England take on New Zealand, in a match which was billed as a clash of the titans. England had won the Grand Slam earlier in the year, and were looking to continue their good form into the World Cup. However, they were up against a New Zealand side who were simply too strong for them, and ran out comfortable winners by a scoreline of 30-6.
The first real shock of the tournament came in the second round, when Western Samoa took on Wales. Wales were one of the favourites to win the tournament, but they were comprehensively beaten by Western Samoa, who won 28-6. This was the start of a great tournament for Western Samoa, who went on to reach the quarter-finals.
The semi-final between New Zealand and England was a classic, and is widely regarded as one of the best games in Rugby World Cup history. England took an early lead through a try from Rory Underwood, but New Zealand hit back with two tries of their own from Michael Jones and John Kirwan. England then regained the lead through a try from Will Carling, but New Zealand scored two more tries to take a 26-21 lead. England then produced a stunning fightback, as they scored two late tries to win the match 35-26.
The final was an evenly matched contest between Australia and England, with neither side able to gain a significant advantage. However, it was Australia who eventually took the crown, winning 12-6.
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