2011 sees New Zealand hosting the seventh edition of the Rugby World Cup, and this edition promises to best yet. New Zealanders love their rugby, and they will be hoping that their national team, the All Blacks, can finally win the trophy again on home soil, having last won it in 1987, at the first ever tournament.
New Zealand have always been considered one of the two powerhouses of rugby, the other being South Africa. But South Africa were isolated from international rugby for many years due to political sanctions, and did not take part in the first two World Cups.
New Zealand on the other hand, have gone into every tournament as the odds on favorite, but in six attempts have only walked away with the cup once.
Back in 1987 they dominated the tournament, which was co hosted by Australia and New Zealand. In fact the only game in which the All Black did not destroy their opponents, was in the final, where they beat France 29 9, which was still a convincing win. All Black fans will be hoping with the cup returning to New Zealand soil for 2011, that they can repeat this situation.
The 1991 Rugby World Cup was co hosted by the United Kingdom and France, and this time it was Australia who came through the tournament victorious. They beat the All Blacks in the semi final to set up a tense final against hosts England, but managed to prevail 12 6 to take home the trophy.
The 1995 edition saw the return to the international fold for the South African national side, the Springboks. South Africa were also the hosts of this thrilling tournament, and if you saw the Clint Eastwood movie, Invictus, you will know that Nelson Mandela inspired the Springboks to victory. South Africa won the final against the mighty All Blacks, by the narrow score of 15 12.
In 1999 Australia won their second Rugby World Cup Trophy when they beat France 35 12 in the final. Once again, hosted by the United Kingdom and France, and once again The All Blacks went into the tournament as firm favorites but were upset in the semi finals by an adventurous French Team.
In 2003 the tournament was hosted by Australia, who were attempting to win the cup for the second time in a row. But it was Johnny Wilkinson and the English team who ended up victors. England beat Australia in a tight final, with the score being 20 17.
In 2007 France were the hosts, and were also responsible once more for knocking perennial favorites New Zealand out of the cup in the quarter finals. It was the Springboks though who took the trophy back to South Africa, when they saw off England in the final, beating them 15 6.
So with six tournaments played, South Africa and Australia have won it twice each, while New Zealand and England have held the trophy once each. Twenty teams will try and win the cup this time around, but if you are a betting man, the odds are that the winner will come from one of these four teams.
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