008. 19 Things About 2019 #8

#8  The Winner of Rugby World Cup 2019 will win every match they play.

The skinny

In all eight Rugby World Cups played so far, the winner of the Webb Ellis trophy has won every match they played, in the pool stage and (obviously) the knockout stage.


Why this matters

It shows that the pool stages of the tournament are critically important in establishing a winning mindset. If you want to win the tournament, you go out to win every match and not just finagle your way through with a bit of mathematics.

Compare this to the football world cup, where it is unusual for the tournament winner to have won all their matches:

  • in 2018 France, the eventual winner, drew one of their pool matches, while the defeated finalist (Croatia) had won all of theirs.
  • in 2014 Germany, the eventual winner, drew one of their pool matches, as did Brazil (the defeated finalist).
  • and in 2010 Spain, the eventual winner, actually lost one of their pool matches (to Switzerland).

And that’s before you get to all the nonsense of penalty shoot outs in the knock outs, when you may as well just play a fast game of euchre to decide the winner.

It’s another way of saying that rugby is the better game.



As I said, in all eight Rugby World Cups, the winner has won every single match they played.

Interestingly, in four of those tournaments, the defeated finalist had not won all their pool matches:

  • in 1987, France had drawn with Scotland.
  • in 1991, England had lost their pool match against New Zealand.
  • in 2007, England had lost a pool match against South Africa 0-36. (Ouch)
  • in 2011, France had lost two of their pool matches (17-37 against New Zealand, and 14-19 against Tonga) and just scraped through on bonus points.


Bonus Bonus

For the pub quiz tie-breaker, and just to show how nutty football world cups can be:

New Zealand was the only undefeated team at the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa.  We drew all three pool matches (1-1 against Italy and Slovakia, and 0-0 against Paraguay), while Spain, the eventual champion, had lost 0-1 to Switzerland in the pools.

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