Did you Know?
1. In terms of making semi-finals and finals, Australia is the most successful team ever, (Winners ’91/’99, Runner-Up ’03, S/F ’87) while NZ and France are the only 2 sides to have made at least the semi-finals in 5 of the 6 tournaments. Thus far, (NZ W ’87, R-up ’95, S/F ’91/’99/’03, France R-up ’87/’99, S/F ’95, ’03, ’07).
2. Only eight tries have been scored in all six RWC finals.
3. Only five tries have been scored in the last five finals.
4. No coach has gone back-to-back and led his team to consecutive wins.
5. Three players have won the RWC twice (Eales and Horan for Australia, du Randt for South Africa)
6. No back has captained a winning side since 1991.
7. No team has ever won the Tri Nations and RWC in the same year (does Mr Henry know this ahead of the upcoming Tri Nations?)
8. The winners of the 6 or 5 Nations have a great track record at that year’s RWC, making at least the semi-finals on each and every occasion.
9. 16 teams played the first WC in 1987. There was no qualification process; it was all done by invite only, with Western Samoa missing out despite being a better side than many that were invited, e.g. USA, Zimbabwe, Japan.
10. In each tournament the winner has had to knock out the defending champ en route: 1991: Australia beat New Zealand (semi-final)
1995: South Africa beat Australia (opening pool match)
1999: Australia beat South Africa (semi-final)
2003: England beat Australia (final)
2007: South Africa beat England (final)
11. New Zealand has never beaten Australia at a RWC (lost twice in semis, ’91/’03)
12. Ireland is the only one of the Home Nations never to make a semi-final
13. The last three winners of the RWC haven’t had to play New Zealand at any time in the tournament.
14. Of the five teams to have ever made a final, South Africa is the only side not to have lost one.
15. Australia and England have made the most finals with three each.
16. South Africa has won two finals without scoring a try in either of them.
17. Two finals have been won by drop goals ’95/’03. Significantly both are also the only finals to have gone to extra time.
18. Only two host countries have ever won the World Cup (NZ ’87, SA ’95).
19. 2007 is the only time the All Blacks have failed to make at least the semi-finals.
20. England is the only country outside the Tri Nations sides to have won the tournament.
21. The All Blacks have never won any Test match by kicking a drop goal.
by Terence Johns