Wales at the Rugby World Cup

Map of nations best results, excluding nations which unsuccessfully participated in qualifying tournaments.

The Wales national rugby union team have played in all eight Rugby World Cup tournaments. Their best finishes were third placing in 1987, when they beat Australia in the bronze final, and fourth placing in 2011.

The 1987 tournament was Wales' most successful; they won all three pool matches and their quarter-final, before losing to the All Blacks in the semi-finals. They then faced Australia in the third place play-off match, which they won 2221.[1]

In the next two tournaments in 1991 and 1995, Wales failed to progress beyond the pool stage, winning just one match in each tournament.[2] Both the 1999 and 2003 tournaments were more successful, with Wales qualifying for the quarter-finals both times. Wales hosted the event in 1999 and topped their pool only to lose to eventual winners Australia in the quarter-finals.[3] In 2003, they finished second in their pool to the All Blacks and faced England in the quarter-finals, where they lost to the eventual champions, despite scoring more tries than their opponents.[4] In the 2007 World Cup, Wales again failed to progress from the pool stage. After a loss to Australia, and two wins against Japan and Canada, they lost by four points to Fiji, despite scoring more tries than their opponents.[5]

By position

Year Round Position GP W D L PF PA
AustraliaNew Zealand 1987 (16) Third place3rd6501126104
United KingdomRepublic of IrelandFrance 1991 (16) Pool stage (11th) -31023261
South Africa 1995 (16) Pool stage (9th)-31028968
Wales 1999 (20) Quarterfinals (7th)-420212795
Australia 2003 (20) Quarterfinals (7th)-5302149126
France 2007 (20) Pool stage (9th)-4202168105
New Zealand 2011 (20) Fourth place4th740322874
England 2015 (20) Quarterfinals (8th)-530213085
Japan 2019

Team ranking

Pos. Team Champion Runner-up Third Fourth
1st  New Zealand 3 (1987, 2011, 2015) 1 (1995) 2 (1991, 2003) 1 (1999)
2nd  Australia 2 (1991, 1999) 2 (2003, 2015) 1 (2011) 1 (1987)
3rd  South Africa 2 (1995, 2007) - 2 (1999, 2015) -
4th  England 1 (2003) 2 (1991, 2007) - 1 (1995)
5th  France - 3 (1987, 1999, 2011) 1 (1995) 2 (2003, 2007)
6th  Wales - - 1 (1987) 1 (2011)
7th  Argentina - - 1 (2007) 1 (2015)
8th  Scotland - - - 1 (1991)

By matches

1987 Rugby World Cup

Pool 2 games -

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 Wales 330082316
 Ireland 320184414
 Canada 310265902
 Tonga 300329980
25 May 1987
Ireland 6 13  Wales
Pen: Kiernan (2) Try: Ring
Pen: Thorburn
Drop: Davies (2)
Athletic Park, Wellington
Referee: Kerry Fitzgerald Australia

29 May 1987
Tonga  16 29  Wales
Tries: Fielea
Con: Liava'a
Pen: Liava'a
Tries: Webbe (3)
Con: Thorburn (2)
Pen: Thorburn (2)
Drop: Davies
Showgrounds Oval, Palmerston North
Referee: David Bishop New Zealand

3 June 1987
Canada  9 40  Wales
Pen: Rees (3) Tries: Evans (4)
Con: Thorburn (4)
Rugby Park, Invercargill
Referee: David Bishop New Zealand

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
6 June - Lancaster Park, Christchurch        
  New Zealand  30
14 June - Ballymore, Brisbane
  Scotland  3  
  New Zealand  49
8 June - Ballymore, Brisbane
    Wales  6  
  Wales  16
20 June - Eden Park, Auckland
  England  3  
  New Zealand  29
7 June - Eden Park, Auckland
    France  9
  France  31
13 June - Concord Oval, Sydney
  Fiji  16  
  France  30 Third place
7 June - Concord Oval, Sydney
    Australia  24  
  Australia  33   Wales  22
 Ireland  15     Australia  21
18 June - Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua

8 June 1987
England  3 16  Wales
Pen: Webb Tries: Roberts
Con: Thorburn (2)
Ballymore, Brisbane
Referee: Rene Hourquet France

14 June 1987
New Zealand  49 6  Wales
Tries: Kirwan (2)
Shelford (2)
Con: Fox (7)
Pen: Fox
Try: Devereux
Con: Thorburn
Ballymore, Brisbane
Attendance: 22,576
Referee: Kerry Fitzgerald Australia

18 June 1987
Australia  21 22  Wales
Tries: Burke
Con: Lynagh (2)
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Drop: Lynagh
Tries: Roberts
Con: Thorburn (2)
Pen: Thorburn (2)

1991 Rugby World Cup

Pool C games -

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against Points
 Australia 30079259
 Western Samoa 20154347
 Wales 10232615
 Argentina 00338833

6 October 1991
Wales  13 16  Western Samoa
Tries: Emyr, Evans
Con: Ring
Pen: Ring
Tries: Vaega, Vaifale
Con: Vaea
Pen: Vaea (2)
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Referee: Patrick Robin France

9 October 1991
Wales  16 7  Argentina
Tries: Arnold
Pen: Ring (3), Rayer
Tries: Simon
Pen: Del Castillo
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Referee: Rene Hourquet France

12 October 1991
Wales  3 38  Australia
Pen: Ring Tries: Roebuck (2), Slattery, Campese, Horan, Lynagh
Con: Lynagh (4)
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Referee: Keith Lawrence New Zealand

1995 Rugby World Cup

Pool C games -

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against Points
 New Zealand 300225459
 Ireland 20193947
 Wales 10289685
 Japan 003552523
27 May 1995
Japan  10 57  Wales
Tries: Osamu Ota (2) Tries: Gareth Thomas (3), Ieuan Evans (2), Andrew Moore, Hemi Taylor
Con: Neil Jenkins (5)
Pen: Neil Jenkins (4)
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 12 000
Referee: Efrahim Sklar Argentina

31 May 1995
New Zealand  34 9  Wales
Tries: Marc Ellis, Walter Little, Josh Kronfeld
Con: Andrew Mehrtens (2)
Pen: Andrew Mehrtens (4)
Drop: Andrew Mehrtens
Pen: Neil Jenkins (2)
Drop: Neil Jenkins
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 38 000
Referee: Ed Morrison England

4 June 1995
Ireland 24 23  Wales
Tries: Eddie Halvey, Nick Popplewell, Denis McBride
Con: Eric Elwood (3)
Pen: Eric Elwood
Tries: Jonathan Humphreys, Hemi Taylor
Con: Neil Jenkins (2)
Pen: Neil Jenkins (2)
Drop: Adrian Davies
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 35 000
Referee: Ian Rogers South Africa

1999 Rugby World Cup

Pool 4 games -

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against Points
 Wales 201118714
 Samoa 20197724
 Argentina 20183514
 Japan 003361400
1 October 1999
Wales  23 18  Argentina
Tries: Colin Charvis, Mark Taylor
Con: Neil Jenkins (2)
Pen: Neil Jenkins (3)
Pen: Gonzalo Quesada (6)

14 October 1999
Wales  31 38  Samoa
Tries: Gareth Thomas, Penalty try (2)
Con: Neil Jenkins (2)
Pen: Neil Jenkins (4)
Tries: Stephen Bachop (2), Filiga Falaniko, Patrick Lam, Silao Leaegailesolo
Con: Silao Leaegailesolo
Pen: Silao Leaegailesolo
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Ed Morrison England

Quarter finals -

23 October 1999
Wales  9 24  Australia
Pens: Neil Jenkins (3) Tries: George Gregan (2), Ben Tune
Con: Matthew Burke (3)
Pen: Matthew Burke
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 74,499
Referee: Colin Hawke New Zealand

2003 Rugby World Cup

Group D games -

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against BP Points
 New Zealand 40028257420
 Wales 30113298214
 Italy 2027712308
 Canada 1035413515
 Tonga 0044617811

12 October 2003
Wales  41 10  Canada
Tries: Parker, Cooper, M. Jones, Charvis, Thomas
Con: Harris (5)
Pen: Harris (2)
Tries: Tkachuk
Con: Pritchard
Drop: Ross
Telstra Dome, Melbourne
Attendance: 24,874
Referee: Chris White England

19 October 2003
Wales  27 20  Tonga
Tries: Cooper, M. Williams
Con: S. Jones
Pen: S. Jones (4)
Drop: M. Williams
Tries: Hola, Kivalu, Lavaka
Con: Hola
Pen: Hola
Canberra Stadium
Attendance: 19,806
Referee: Paul Honiss New Zealand

25 October 2003
Italy  15 27  Wales
Pen: Wakarua (5) Tries: M. Jones, Parker, D. Jones
Con: Harris (3)
Pen: Harris (3)
Canberra Stadium
Attendance: 22,641
Referee: Andrew Cole Australia

2 November 2003
New Zealand  53 37  Wales
Tries: Rokocoko (2), MacDonald, Williams, Howlett (2), Spencer, Mauger
Con: MacDonald (5)
Pen: MacDonald
Tries: Taylor, Parker, Charvis, S. Williams
Con: S. Jones (4)
Pen: S. Jones (3)
Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 80,012
Referee: André Watson South Africa

Quarter finals -

9 November 2003
England  28 17  Wales
Try: Greenwood 44' c
Con: Wilkinson
Pen: Wilkinson (6)
Drop: Wilkinson 80+1'
Tries: S. Jones 30' m
Charvis 35' m
M. Williams 71' c
Con: Harris
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Attendance: 45,252
Referee: Alain Rolland Republic of Ireland

2007 Rugby World Cup

Pool B games -

Team Pld W D L TF PF PA +/- BP Pts
 Australia 44003021541+174420
 Fiji 43011411413622315
 Wales 420223168105+63412
 Japan 401376421014613
 Canada 40136511206902
Australia 37 – 6 55 – 12 91 – 3 32 – 20
Canada 16 – 29 12 – 12 17 – 42
Fiji 35 – 31 38 – 34
Japan 18 – 72

2011 Rugby World Cup

Pool D games -

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against BP Points
 South Africa 40028257420
 Wales 30113298214
 Samoa 2027712308
 Fiji 1035413515
 Namibia 0044617811
11 September 2011
South Africa  17 16  Wales
Tries: F. Steyn 3' ,
Hougaard 65'
Con: M. Steyn (2)
Pen: M. Steyn
(Report) Tries: Faletau 54'
Con: Hook
Pen: Hook (3)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Attendance: 24,874
Referee: Wayne Barnes England

18 September 2011
Wales  17 10  Samoa
Tries: Williams 67'
Con: S. Jones
Pen: Hook (2)
Priestland (2)
(Report) Tries: Perenise 42'
Con: Williams
Pen: Williams
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Attendance: 19,806
Referee: Alain Rolland Republic of Ireland

26 September 2011
Wales  81 7  Namibia
Tries: S. Williams (3) 7', 46', 70'
Brew 14'
Faletau 17'
Jenkins 49'
North (2) 60', 66'
Davies 62'
L. Williams 75'
Byrne 77'
A. Jones 80+'
Con: S. Jones (6)
Priestland (3)
Pen: S. Jones
(Report) Tries: Koll 52'
Con: Kotzé
Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth
Attendance: 80,012
Referee: Steve Walsh Australia

2 October 2011
Wales  66 0  Fiji
Tries: Roberts (2) 5', 50'
S. Williams 16'
North 32'
Warburton 39'
Burns 59'
Halfpenny 68'
Williams 72'
Davies 80+'
Con: Priestland (5)
S. Jones (4)
Pen: Priestland
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Attendance: 22,641
Referee: Wayne Barnes England

Quarter Final

8 October 2011
Ireland  10 22  Wales
Tries: S. Jones 30' m
Charvis 35' m
M. Williams 71' c
Con: Harris
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Attendance: 45,252
Referee: Craig Joubert South Africa

Semi Final

15 October 2011
Wales  8 9  France
Try: Phillips
Pen: Hook
Pen: Parra (3)
Eden Park, Auckland
Attendance: 45,252
Referee: Alain Rolland Republic of Ireland

Bronze Medal Match

21 October 2011
Wales  18 21  Australia
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, where Wales play their home games

2015 Rugby World Cup


Wales started by beating Uruguay, England & Fiji, to then lose to Australia. Then South Africa knocked them out in the quarter-finals.


Main article: Rugby World Cup hosts

The Rugby World Cup is held every four years, and up to and including 2015, alternated between traditional rugby heartlands in the southern hemisphere and those in Europe. Wales hosted the tournament in 1999, with Cardiff's Millennium Stadium built to coincide with the event. However, it is common for Rugby World Cups to have matches played outside their official host country, and all four tournaments hosted in Europe have used Wales to some degree as a World Cup venue. After the 2015 event, Cardiff's Millennium Stadium and its predecessor will have hosted a total 21 matches over a total of four world cups. This is the largest number of world cup games hosted by one venue.

1991 Rugby World Cup

England was billed as the main host of the second tournament in 1991, hosting the opening ceremony, and final, though the hosting duties were shared between all countries which competed in the Five Nations Championship. France hosted eight games, England and Wales each hosted seven, and Scotland and Ireland five. The National Stadium in Cardiff hosted the third place playoff, whilst all of Pool C's matches were played in Wales. Wales were scheduled to feature in this pool, and all three of their pool matches were hosted in the National Stadium. One game each was played at the club grounds of Pontypridd, Pontypool and Llanelli.

The following Welsh stadiums were used:

City Stadium Capacity
Cardiff National Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park 53,000
Llanelli Stradey Park 10,800
Pontypool Pontypool Park 8,800
Pontypridd Sardis Road 7,200

1999 Rugby World Cup

Wales was chosen by the International Rugby Board as the principal host for the 1999 event. The centrepiece venue of the tournament, hosting the opening ceremony and final was the Millennium Stadium, a new structure built on the site of the old National Stadium at Cardiff Arms Park at a cost of £126 million from private investment. An agreement was reached with the unions of all four rivals in the Five Nations Championship (England, France, Ireland and Scotland), so that, like 1991, the majority of the matches would take place outside the official host nation. In a unique tournament format there were five pools in the opening round. Each of the five unions competed in a separate pool, and acted as host for all of the matches within that pool. All Pool A games were held in Scotland, Pool B games in England, Pool C games in France and Pool E games in Ireland.

Wales hosted Pool D, also featuring Argentina, Samoa and Japan. Four of the pool games were at the Millennium Stadium, with one match each at Stradey Park, Llanelli's rugby stadium, and at The Racecourse, Wrexham, which usually featured Association Football.

Of eleven knock-out games, the Millennium Stadium only hosted three; Australia's defeat of Wales in the quarter final stage, and the third place play-off and final. The other fixtures were played for at a variety of European venues.

The following Welsh stadiums were used:

City Stadium Capacity
Wales Cardiff Millennium Stadium 74,500
Wales Wrexham Racecourse Ground 15,500
Wales Llanelli Stradey Park 10,800

2007 Rugby World Cup

In a more public bidding process, France beat England to win the right to host the 2007 World Cup. The WRU supported the French bid, in accordance with an agreement between the nations over the 1999 cup.[6] As a result of that agreement, world cup rugby returned to the Millennium Stadium for three pool matches (including two featuring Wales), and a quarter-final.

Ironically, as France were unexpected runners-up to Argentina in their group, the hosts found themselves competing in this, the only knock-out match held outside of their borders. The game was one of the highlights of the tournament, notable for a large number of reasons, though largely for being New Zealand's earliest exit from a Rugby World Cup, after the New Zealand Herald ran the hubristic headline 'France pose absolutely no threat to All Blacks'.[7] The French squad's reply to the Haka, where the squad dressed in red, white and blue shirts, drew some attention, with a number of images of Sebastien Chabal's stony face appearing in the media the following day.[8] Several controversial decisions by referee Wayne Barnes,[9] provoked death threats from some fans.[10] Statistical analysis by New Zealand company Verusco showed the match's playing time, that is time the ball is in play, was the longest of any of the 1,500 games they had ever recorded.[11]

City Country Stadium Capacity Further reading
Cardiff Wales Millennium Stadium 73,350 Overview

2015 Rugby World Cup

A giant promotional rugby ball was placed on Cardiff Castle as part of the 2015 Rugby World Cup

In 2009 England were awarded the rights to stage the 2015 tournament. Owing to the proximity of Cardiff, the RFU made it clear that they intended to use the Millennium Stadium as part of its bid,[12] despite initial reluctance from the IRB for multiple hosting nations.[13] The Millennium Stadium is hosting eight games in the tournament, more than in any previous world cup. These include two quarter-finals. This made Cardiff the only venue hosting knock-out matches with the exception of England's national stadium, Twickenham, as well as the venue with the second highest number of games. As Wales and England have been drawn in the same group, Wales only have home advantage for two of their games, against Uruguay and Fiji.

Cardiff is using the world cup to promote tourism in the city,[14] with estimates that the games will add over £300 million to the local economy.[15] A 'Fan Zone' has been created within the grounds of Cardiff Arms Park with a large screen, for enjoying match days.[16] Cardiff Council has commissioned an art installation to mark the tournament, grafting a rugby ball to the prominent Cardiff Castle, to make it appear the ball has smashed straight through the wall.[17] This is similar to a publicity stunt from the 2007 World Cup, where a rugby ball hung from the centre of the Eiffel Tower. No such other sculptures have been created in the other 2015 venue cities.

City Country Stadium Capacity Further reading
Cardiff Wales Millennium Stadium 73,350 Overview


  1. "1987 Rugby World Cup Results". Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  2. "Pool B". Rugby News. 38 (9). 2007. p. 38.
  3. "1999 Rugby World Cup Results". Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  4. "2003 Rugby World Cup Results". Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  5. "Thomas lifts lid on World Cup woe". 2007-10-26. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
  9. Gower (2007)
  10. BBC News (2007)
  11. Lampp (2007)
  13. , Doubt over Wales' 2015 Cup role
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