Ranking the Top 20 Nations in the History of the World Cup

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Ranking the Top 20 Nations in the History of the World Cup
David Rogers/Getty Images

The 2015 Rugby World Cup will be the eighth instalment of a competition that began with 16 teams in New Zealand and Australia back in 1987.

The game has evolved exponentially since the day David Kirk lifted the Webb Ellis Cup, and so has the tournament—growing from 16 to 20 teams, with changing formats and scoring systems along the way.

This ranking uncovers who has taken advantage of each World Cup format and who has struggled. Points amassed in group stages according to the rules of each tournament.

Thereafter, in knockout play, this ranking applies the same point-accumulating rules to each round as was used in the pool stages to come up with the total points won by each country.

Here is a breakdown of how each tournament was scored:

 

New Zealand & Australia 1987

Two points for a win, one point for a draw and 0 points for playing

 

England 1991

Three points for a win, two points for a draw and one point for playing

 

South Africa 1995

Three points for a win, two points for a draw and one point for playing

 

Wales 1999

Three points for a win, two points for a draw and one point for playing

 

Australia 2003

Four points for a win; two points for a draw; 0 points for a loss before possible bonus points; one bonus point for scoring four or more tries, regardless of the final score; and one bonus point for a loss by seven points or fewer

 

France 2007

Four points for a win, two points for a draw, 0 points for a loss before possible bonus points, one bonus point for scoring four or more tries, regardless of the final score; and one bonus point for a loss by seven points or fewer

 

New Zealand 2011

Four points for a win; two points for a draw; 0 points for a loss before possible bonus points; one bonus point for scoring four or more tries, regardless of the final score; and one bonus point for a loss by seven points or fewer

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