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This is something that’s been worth considering every World Cup – look at history and see who has been the best over time.

You could measure it by World Cup championships, in which case New Zealand now joins Australia and South Africa as the tops with two each. You could measure it by appearances in the final, where New Zealand, Australia, France and England all have three.

What about wins? New Zealand has won 37 World Cup matches, five better than joint second place Australia and France. Winning percentage goes to South Africa, which is 26-3 (having missed the first two) for a brisk .897. New Zealand is at .860.

Well we at RUGBYMag.com decided to judge the best World Cup teams by overall record and their ability to get into, and perform in, the knockout stages.

Teams were awarded 50 points for winning a championship, 30 for second, 20 for third, 15 for fourth. If they lost in the Quarterfinals, they get 8 points. Then we add two points for a win (1 for a tie), and subtract a point for a loss.

We added in the win-loss thing late, and interestingly enough, it made only one change in how these teams are ranked, and that change being low in the list.

Here’s our list of the best performing World Cup teams


 

Team

Pts

1

New Zealand

261

2

Australia

236

3

France

203

4

England

196

5

South Africa

185

6

Scotland

73

7

Wales

68

8

Ireland

57

9

Argentina

51

10

Samoa

25

11

Fiji

20

12

Canada

8

 

Without worrying about wins and losses, Samoa and Fiji are actually tied. Samoa, however, has a slightly better won-loss record than Fiji.

This list, by the way, constitutes the 12 teams that have made the quarterfinals. Consider that since 1987 there have been 56 quarterfinal places, and only 12 teams have claimed them. New Zealand, Australia, France and England have all made the quarterfinals every year. Scotland missed for the first time in 2011, while South Africa has only missed when they weren’t allowed to play.