The inaugural Rugby World Cup was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 1987. Sixteen teams were invited to participate by the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB), contesting the Webb Ellis Cup. New Zealand won the first tournament with a 29-9 victory over France.
The 1991 tournament was jointly hosted by England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France and that honour passed to South Africa in 1995. In 1999 the tournament was expanded to include 20 teams and also saw the introduction of a quarter-final play-off. The final was hosted by Wales, with games held in England, France Ireland and Scotland.
In 2003 the tournament was staged in Australia, with the quarter-final play-off abandoned. The 2007 event was hosted by France with games also taking place in Wales and Scotland.
New Zealand will host the 2011 tournament while a ground-breaking decision on who will host the 2015 and 2019 tournaments will be made in 2009.