The Rugby World Cup is a tournament of the Rugby Union that takes place in every four years among the top international rugby teams. This tournament was held for the first time in the year 1987. In this year it was co hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Once again, the most recent tournament that took place in the year 2011 was hosted by New Zealand. In the 2011 match, the New Zealand national rugby team won the tournament by defeating the team of France in the finals.
In the Rugby World Cup tournaments the winners are honoured with the William Webb Ellis Cup. The winning cup is named after the popular Rugby School student William Webb Ellis. According to the popular myth of the invention of Rugby, William Webb Ellis had picked up a ball during the game of football and that is how rugby was invented. The trophy has been achieved twice by three teams – New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. England however managed to win it only once.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) which is the international governing body for the sport administers the Rugby World Cup tournaments. The first year of the tournament in 1987 had 16 teams participate in the matches, which increased to 20 teams in the year 1999.
The inaugural tournament did not have qualifying tournaments; however they were introduced for the second year of the World Cup. The current model of the Rugby World Cup features twenty nations who compete in the host nations and it goes on for almost a month. The competition involves two stages, the first one being a group and the next one knock out.
The next Rugby World Cup tournament will be held in the year 2015 and will be hosted by England. The tournament that will be held in the year 2019 will be hosted by Japan.