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Rugby World Cup records: Most wins, most tries, biggest win and more

The previous nine editions of the Rugby World Cup have featured plenty of remarkable achievements and feats of sporting excellence, and the 2023 tournament should be no different.

France will play host to 20 teams from across the globe this autumn, all battling for the Webb Ellis Trophy, which is currently in the possession of South Africa.

The Springboks are one of only two sides to have won the World Cup three times, a record that kicks off our list of the tournament’s noteworthy and standout achievements.

What2023 Rugby World Cup
WhereVarious venues across France
WhenFriday 8th September - Saturday October 28th, 2023
How to watchITV
OddsFrance 11/4, New Zealand 11/4, Ireland 9/2, South Africa 9/2, Australia 17/2

Most Men's Rugby World Cup wins

Reigning champions South Africa and New Zealand are tied for the most World Cup wins with three apiece.

The All Blacks won the inaugural tournament in 1987 before back-to-back successes in 2011 and 2015 - the only time a team has retained the World Cup.

South Africa won their first title in 1995 as hosts before subsequent wins in 2007 and 2019, and are 9/2 to retain the title this autumn.

Most Men's Rugby World Cup finals

England, New Zealand and Australia have all made the Rugby World Cup final four times, with the All Blacks' sole final defeat coming in 1995.

England have only won the World Cup once in 2003, losing their three other final appearances in 1991, 2007 and 2019.

Australia won the World Cup in 1991 and 1999, but came up short in the 2003 and 2015 deciders.

Worst Men's Rugby World Cup record

Six teams have qualified for a World Cup but failed to win a game with Portugal, Spain, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Russia and Namibia exiting the tournament winless.

Of that group, Namibia's record of played 23, lost 22 and drawn one stands out as the worst in the competition's history.

Biggest Men's Rugby World Cup winning margin

One of Namibia's 22 defeats ranks as the heaviest ever suffered by a team after losing 142-0 to Australia in 2003.

That game saw the Wallabies also set the record for most tries in a single match as they ran in 22 scores.

Most Men's Rugby World Cup points in a single match

Unbelievably, New Zealand have managed to score more points in a single World Cup match.

In 1995, they defeated Japan 145-17, scoring 21 tries in the process, while Simon Culhane set the World Cup record for most points by an individual player in a game with his contribution of 45.

Marc Ellis also set the benchmark for most tries in a single match in that win when touching down six times.

Highest Men's Rugby World Cup point scorer overall

England's hero of 2003, Jonny Wilkinson, holds the record for most points in World Cup history having registered 277 points, 50 more than Scotland's Gavin Hastings in second.

Wilkinson also holds the World Cup record for most penalties (58) and drop goals (14) in tournament history.

Most points in a single Men's Rugby World Cup

New Zealand's Grant Fox notched a total of 126 points in the inaugural World Cup in 1987, a record for the tournament that still stands to this day.

The closest anyone has got to beating Fox’s score was in 2003 when Wilkinson registered 113 points.

Highest Men's Rugby World Cup tryscorer overall

Two players hold the record for most tries at the Rugby World Cup with Jonah Lomu and Bryan Habana both registering 15 apiece.

New Zealand wing Lomu scored his 15 tries across two tournaments in 1995 and 1999, while Springboks speedster Habana needed the 2007, 2011 and 2015 finals to match Lomu's total.

Lomu (1999), Habana (2007) and New Zealand’s Julian Savea (2015) share the record for most tries at a single tournament with eight.

Most Men's Rugby World Cup appearances

England's Jason Leonard and New Zealand great Richie McCaw share the record for most World Cup appearances with 22 apiece.

Wales' Alun Wyn Jones had the chance to surpass the duo at this year's tournament, having previously made 21 World Cup outings, only to make the shock decision to retire from international rugby in the summer.

New Zealand’s Sam Whitelock (19) could instead climb to the top of the rankings if he makes four appearances in France.

Highest attendance at a Men's Rugby World Cup match

Ireland's pool stage clash with Romania in 2015 attracted 89,267 people to Wembley Stadium in London.

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