At a Rugby World Cup, the atmosphere is incredible as fans from many different parts of the world come together to celebrate all that is good about rugby, on and off the field.

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With fan zones strategically placed in the different cities where matches are played, the tournament becomes one big party and, as with any party, it helps if the host enjoys themselves too.

England 2015 bucked any notion that the success of a Rugby World Cup is entirely dependent on the results of the home team. But it goes without saying that it helps to add to the feel-good factor if the locals have plenty to cheer about.

Expectations will be high in that regard when England hosts the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025 and also at the two Rugby World Cups heading Australia’s way in 2027 and 2029.

For the USA, who have been handed the opportunity to showcase their country to the rest of the world in 2031 and 2033, the jury will be out in the men’s tournament as the Eagles have never made it out of the pool stages before.

However, with a long lead time until they become the host location, confidence is high that they can do the country proud and perform above and beyond what they have achieved at the game’s flagship tournament to date – and with significant backing from home-based fans.

Rugby World Cup Chief Operating Officer Alan Gilpin says the sceptics should cast their minds back to 2019.

“It is worth adding, even a couple of years out, people were saying to us about Japan 2019 that you’re never going to sell tickets for this tournament and every single game sold out,” Gilpin pointed out at the recent 10-year host location announcement.

“We’ve got a bit of history for doing this and what we’ve got here very deliberately is the right type of runway with the team to build that interest.

“Yes, there is a lot of work to do with building the sport in the US but this is a market that gets big events.”

Only time will tell if the USA or indeed the other host locations for the next five Rugby World Cups, and next year’s tournament in France, will deliver a home tournament win.

But history tells us that they are the exceptions rather than the norm. New Zealand’s Black Ferns will become the first host country to win the women’s Rugby World Cup at the ninth attempt if they lift the trophy later this year, while in the men’s event only New Zealand (1987 and 2011) and South Africa (1995) have delivered in that respect.

1987 men’s (New Zealand and Australia)

The inaugural Rugby World Cup was shared between the two leading rugby-playing countries from the Oceania region, with the All Blacks deserved winners after beating 29-9 in the final at Eden Park. 

New Zealand were on the front foot from the moment John Kirwan ran through several Italian defenders on a 70-metre run to the line in the very first game, and they never looked back.

Winners: New Zealand

1991 men’s (England, France, Ireland, Scotland & Wales)

The existing Five Nations countries were handed the responsibility of staging the second edition of the men’s Rugby World Cup. Nineteen different venues (eight more than in 1987) were used throughout the tournament with the final played at the home of English rugby, Twickenham. 

Again, it was another battle royal between the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere, Australia defeating England 12-6. 

Scotland were the best of the rest in terms of the hosts, reaching the semi-finals.

1991 women’s (Wales)

After pool victories over the Netherlands (7-0) and USSR (46-0), the USA got the better of New Zealand in the semi-finals, 7-0. All that stood between the Women's Eagles and glory was England, who had impressed on their way to the final.

The US Women’s Eagles returned home as world champions thanks to tries from Clare Godwin (two), Chris Harju and Patty Connell – the first American rugby side to taste success on the international stage since the USA men won the Olympic gold medal at Paris 1924.

Wales’ best result was a 9-9 draw against Canada in the pool stages.

Winner: USA

1994 women’s (Scotland)

A last-minute withdrawal from the original host country, the Netherlands, had put the tournament in doubt but Scotland stepped in to save the day.

Geographically this tournament was as close as we have got to a home win in the women’s Rugby World Cup. England took the trophy on the short journey back home with them after overturning their previous defeat to the USA three years earlier, with a resounding 38-23 victory.

Scotland finished fifth.

Winner: England

1995 men’s (South Africa)

A renewed South Africa was abuzz as the country returned to the international sporting fold following a long period in exile when the Rugby World Cup headed to its shores.

No one was quite sure how well South Africa would do given they’d only been back in the test arena for a few years. But with the whole country uniting behind them, the Springboks proved an irresistible force – even for the All Blacks and the late, great Jonah Lomu.

After the final went to extra time, Joel Stransky’s drop goal ensured there was a pot of gold at the end of it all for the Rainbow Nation

Winner: South Africa

1998 women’s (Netherlands)

Four years later than originally planned, the Rugby World Cup was held in the Netherlands and the outcome served as a portent of things to come for New Zealand’s rivals.

The USA made it through to a third straight final but the Black Ferns, then known as the ‘Gal Blacks’, ran in eight tries – five of them scored by Vanessa Cootes – in a dominant 44-12 win that set new standards in the women’s game.

New Zealand wouldn’t lose another Rugby World Cup match until they lost to Ireland at France 2014.

The Netherlands finished 13th.

Winner: New Zealand

1999 men’s (Wales)

Australia ended the decade as they started it, by lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in the UK.

While the 1991 success had been all about the panache of David Campese, the Wallabies’ 1999 triumph was built on a watertight defence that only conceded one try in six matches,

Not even the flamboyant French style of play could find a way through the solid gold brick wall and they were kept try-less in the final, which was won by the Wallabies as comfortably as the 35-12 scoreline suggests.

For Wales, the tournament will be best remembered for the wrong reasons – the defeat to outsiders Western Samoa.

Winner: Australia

2002 women’s (Spain)

At the time Spain were a top-tier European team but the hosts could only finish eighth in a tournament where New Zealand continued to raise the standards of women’s rugby.

The Black Ferns went one better than Australia’s men in not conceding a try the whole tournament while also scoring 30 themselves in just four matches.

England’s Sue Day was on fire, crossing for a tournament-best nine tries, but not even she could find a way through in the final. A 19-9 win in the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona handed New Zealand a second world title.

Spain came eighth.

Winner: New Zealand

2003 men’s (Australia)

Building on the euphoria of the Sydney Olympics, Australians’ passion for sporting events was abundantly clear as big crowds turned up for even the least glamorous fixtures.

Indeed, Australia delivered a successful tournament on every count bar a home win, England becoming the first, and so far only, northern hemisphere champions of the world after Jonny Wilkinson’s extra-time heroics handed Clive Woodward’s men a 20-17 extra-time win in Sydney.

2006 women’s (Canada)

Having previously won in 1998 and 2002, New Zealand were going for their third straight title as the Rugby World Cup headed to North America for the first and, to date, only time.

New Zealand won their first match against the hosts 66-7 and followed it up with victories over Samoa and Scotland, without conceding a single point.

After France were brushed aside 40-10, New Zealand met England in a repeat of the 2002 final.

England put in a monumental effort in a bid to end New Zealand’s monopoly of the tournament but they came up just short, the Black Ferns winning 25-17.

A 17-8 defeat to France cost Canada the bronze medal.

Winner: New Zealand

2007 men’s (France)

A strange old tournament for the hosts saw them lose to Argentina not once but twice but also stun the All Blacks with a famous quarter-final win in Cardiff in between.

Instead, ultra-consistent South Africa claimed a second title after a tense 15-6 win over England in Paris.

It was a final few would have considered after the pool stages but England galvanised themselves after losing 36-0 to the Springboks two games into their campaign to push Jake White’s side all the way.

Argentina denied France the bronze medal.

Winner: South Africa

2010 women’s (England)

This was England’s best chance to break New Zealand’s stranglehold. They knew it and blew it.

At 10-10 with 15 minutes left in the Twickenham Stoop final, England started to believe what could be possible. But the inability to punish the Black Ferns more severely for losing three players to the sin bin ultimately cost them dearly, as Kelly Brazier stepped up to kick her second, and match-wining, penalty.

New Zealand’s 13-10 victory provided Black ferns legend, Anna Richards, with a fourth winner’s medal.

2011 men’s (New Zealand)

The weight of expectation that comes with being the host nation was never felt so keenly as the All Blacks in 2011.

The New Zealand public has waited 24 years to celebrate a second men’s world crown with the All Blacks having earned a reputation for peaking between tournaments.

There was to be no slip-ups this time, Graham Henry’s side delivering the win that the rugby-mad nation of four million craved.

However, they had to withstand a barrage from the French first, edging the lowest-scoring Rugby World Cup final of all time, 8-7.

Winner: New Zealand

2014 women’s (France)

With New Zealand finally beaten, by Ireland, and out of contention for the medals, England knew they would never have a better opportunity to be crowned world champions for a second time.

And the Red Roses successfully put 20 years of hurt and near-misses behind them, lifting the black cloud hanging over them with a 21-9 win over first-time finalists.

The game in Paris was by no means a classic but superbly-taken tries from Nollie Waterman and Emily Scarratt were fitting for any stage.

Hosts France had to settle for the bronze medal after seeing off Black Ferns’ conquerors Ireland, 25-18, in the third-place play-off.

Winner: England

2015 men’s (England)

England famously became the first men’s host country to be eliminated at the pool stages as defeats to Wales and Australia proved fatal.

Australia went all the way and gave New Zealand a run for their money in their second Twickenham final. But another masterclass from Dan Carter ensured the All Blacks went back-to-back.

Winner: New Zealand

2017 women’s (Ireland)

Normal service resumed as New Zealand put aside the disappointment of France 2014 to sweep all before them.

Pool victories over Wales, Hong Kong and Canada were followed by a 45-12 win over the United States in the semi-final.

With England defeating France in the other semi, the gold medal match saw old rivalries renewed and the Black Ferns and Red Roses produced a brilliant spectacle in the final, New Zealand winning 41-32.

Ireland’s campaign fell away after wins in the first two games, against Australia and Japan, and they had to settle for eighth place.

Winner: New Zealand

2019 men’s (Japan)

Buoyed by fantastic home support, the Brave Blossoms broke new ground by reaching the quarter-finals.

Japan’s challenge may have ended there at the hands of eventual champions South Africa but they showed the world what they were made of in pool wins over Ireland and Scotland.

For the second time in Rugby World Cup history, South Africa defeated England in the final, tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe helping them to a 32-12 victory in Yokohama.

Winner: South Africa