All Blacks win the first World Cup

20 June 1987

David Kirk holding the Webb Ellis Cup (Alexander Turnbull Library, EP/1987/2998/22-F)

With Michael Jones, John Kirwan and David Kirk scoring tries, the All Blacks defeated France 29–9 at Eden Park, Auckland. Kirk became the first captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

The first Rugby World Cup was hosted jointly by New Zealand and Australia. Rugby powerhouse South Africa was excluded because of an international sports boycott in opposition to its apartheid policies.

Winger Kirwan opened the tournament by running almost the length of the field, beating most of the Italian team to score a memorable try. The All Blacks won 70–6 before comfortably beating Fiji and Argentina. In the knockout phase, Scotland was defeated 30–3 and Wales 49–6.

The Webb Ellis Cup subsequently proved elusive. Despite usually heading the world rankings, the All Blacks did not win the trophy again until 2011, when New Zealand hosted the tournament. The final – a rematch of 1987 – was a near thing as the All Blacks hung on to win 8-7.

In 2015, the All Blacks became the first team to win consecutive titles and the first to win the cup three times.

How to cite this page

'All Blacks win the first World Cup', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/all-blacks-win-the-first-world-cup, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 22-Dec-2016