Brief RWC HistoryRead history
World Ranking: 8
Looking at their RWC history their best achievement occurred in 2007 when they made it to the Semi Finals. In the last RWC in 2011 they were taken out in the Quarter Final by New Zealand. One of Argentina’s key team members this year will be their Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, who will be making his second Rugby World Cup appearance this year.
World Ranking: 6
Australia have made it to the RWC Finals 3 times, in 1991 and 1999 when they went on to claim victory in both finals and in 2003 where they lost to England. Their last RWC ended in the Semi Finals when they lost to New Zealand who went to raise the trophy. Undeniably the Wallabies biggest weapon this World Cup is Israel Folau.
World Ranking: 18
Canada is one of the 12 countries to have participated in all of the Rugby World Cups. They only made it past the group stage in 1991 when they lost to New Zealand in the Quarter Finals and finished 8th. Canada’s top resource this RWC could be 24 year old captain Tyler Ardron.
World Ranking: 4
England too have made it into 3 RWC finals, firstly in 1991 when they lost to Australia, then again in 2003 where they beat Australia and took home the trophy and finally in 2007 when they were beaten by South Africa. In 2011 England’s RWC journey came to an end in the Quarter Finals when they lost to France. One of England’s weapon this RWC could be George Ford who at 22 is currently the top points scorer in 2015.
World Ranking: 11
Fiji’s best World Cup performances were in 1987 and 2007 when they made it into the Quarter Finals, were they lost to France (1987) and South Africa (2007). A key play for Fiji in 2015 will be Nemani Nadolo with plays for the Crusaders Super Rugby team.
World Ranking: 7
France probably have the most interesting RWC history. Since the events commencement in 1987 France is the only country to have made it through the group stages at every event. They have compete in 1 Quarter Final, 3 Semi Finals and 3 Finals but have never managed to win the RWC. Could this be the year that France finally claims victory? Yannick Nyanga will the French player to watch this year, he player flanker in the style of a classic carrier with explosive pace from the scrum and excellent ability to support backs in later phases of play.
World Ranking: 14
Georgia made their RWC debut in 2003 and have never managed to make it through the group stage. After winning the European Nations Cup a total of 8 times and for a consecutive 5 years now, this year could be their year to finally break out of the group stages. Mamuka Gorgodze will the ace up Georgia’s sleeve this year.
World Ranking: 3
Ireland have not had a very good history at the RWC, their journey has ended in the Quarter finals 5 times and in the group stage twice. With their stellar ranking this year they must be doing something right, could this be their year to show us all what they are made of? Johnny Sexton become one of the world’s finest players and should be a key player in Ireland’s team.
World Ranking: 15
Since the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 Italy have competed in every single one, however they have never managed to played their way out of the group stage. Sergio Parisse who captained Italy in the 2011 RWC will be one of their best resources.
World Ranking: 13
Japan much like Italy have participated in every World Cup and never made it past the group stage. Fumiaki Tanaka is their key player this RWC, he plays for Highlanders who the Super Rugby 2015.
World Ranking: 21
Namibia made their debut in 1999 and have not been able to make if out of group stages in the past 4 Rugby World Cups. Since 2003 they have been the last in the standings, finishing in 20th place. Their key resource this year will be Renaldo Bothma who joined the Sharks for the Super Rugby 2015 and 2016..
World Ranking: 1
New Zealand won the very first RWC in 1987 and had to wait 24 years before lifting the trophy again in 2011. In those 24 years they were knocked out in one Quarter Final by France, three Semi Finals by Australia (1991 and 2003) and France (1999) and 1 Final in 1995 where they lost to South Africa. The All Blacks are not only defending champions this year but they are currently ranked as World Number 1. Waisake Naholo will undoubtedly be a key figure for New Zealand this RWC.
World Ranking: 17
Romania is another country to have competed in all 7 Rugby World Cups, but they too have struggled to get past the group stage. Their worst finish was in 2011 when they ended up in 19th place ahead of Namibia. Cătălin Fercu, who has been a Saracens player since 2014, will be Romania’s man to watch.
World Rankings: 9
Samoa’s best RWC years were in 1991 and 1995 where they made it to the Quarter Finals but were knocked out by Scotland and South Africa respectively. Their last 4 World Cups ended in the group stages. Samoa’s Motu Matu’u will be making his first RWC appearance and will be an important asset to the team.
World Ranking: 10
Scotland seem to be sliding backwards in their World Rankings and RWC finishes. They had their best World Cup standing in 1991 when they made to the Semi Finals but lost to England. In other years their tours ended in the Quarter Finals and in the last RWC they were defeated in the group stages. Scotland’s 2015 World Cup ammunition will include Sean Lamont.
World Ranking: 2
In 1995 South Africa won the first World Cup they ever participated in after beating New Zealand in the Final. Their second victory came in 2007 after taking out England in the Final. These were the only 2 finals South Africa made it into in their 5 World Cup appearances. In 1999 there were beaten in the Semi Finals by Australia who went on to win the Finals. Their worst world cup finishes happened in 2003 and 2011 when the Boks were sent home in the Quarter Finals by New Zealand and Australia Respectively. Could they make world history by winning a 3rd RWC? Springboks seem to have a powerhouse back-row trio in Schalk Burger, Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee. Now that Duane Vermeulen has recovered he is unquestionably a key resource in South Africa’s team.
World Ranking: 12
Tonga contested in the first RWC but did not end up qualifying for the second one in 1991. Since then they have succeeded in make into the last 5 but their journey ended in the group stages. Hale T-Pole could be key resource that Tonga need to make this a memorable RWC for them.
World Ranking: 19
This will be Uruguay’s 3rd RWC and their first since 2003. In their last two appearance their World Cup experience was over in the group stage. Their captain this year, 30 year old Santiago Vilaseca, will be valuable asset in their RWC matches.
World Ranking: 16
USA has competed in 6 Rugby World Cups, having only failed to qualify once in 1995. They had their best finish in 1987 when they ranked 10th. Like many others their RWC appearances never made it past group stages. USA’s World Cup weapon will be Chris Wyles, who is already accustomed to playing in London as he plays for Saracens Rugby Union team who are based in London.
World Ranking: 5
Wales seems to have a good World Ranking this year. They are another 1 of the elite 12 to have competed in all 7 Rugby World Cups. Their best RWC finishes happened in 1987 and 2011 when they made it to the Semi Finals and were knocked out by New Zealand and France respectively. After becoming the youngest ever try scorer at a Rugby World Cup competition aged 19 years George North could be exactly what Wales needs this RWC.