"One Cup Wonders" - What Nations Have Only Played at ONE Rugby World Cup? - Ruck

“One Cup Wonders” – What Nations Have Only Played at ONE Rugby World Cup?

Throughout the nine iterations of the Rugby World Cup, a total of 25 different nations have been represented, with just the four sides of New Zealand, South Africa, England and Australia holding the honour of being crowned World Champions.

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – OCTOBER 12: The Webb Ellis trophy on display during a Rugby World Cup reception at Buckingham Palace on October 12, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Devlin – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Within these 25 nations, 10 have never missed out on reaching the Rugby World Cup Finals. There have been numerous sides with fleeting appearances at the competition, and only three so far to have made a solo venture at international rugby’s pinnacle showcase.

This list is soon set to add it’s latest member, as Chile will soon embark on their maiden voyage at the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Los Condores have successfully qualified for the tournament for the first time in their 87 year history, and take the seeding of ‘Americas 2’, following historic qualification victories over Canada and the USA.

Chile round-off the competitors within Pool D, and are set to leave it all on the line as they take on Japan, Samoa, Argentina and Steve Borthwick’s England side. A relative unknown to the wider rugby world, Chile are an exciting addition into this year’s competition, as they are led from the front by their captain, Doncaster Knights back-rower Martin Sigren.

Here are the three teams to have only competed in one Rugby World Cup so far, and a break-down of how each side performed at the competition.

1. Ivory Coast – 1995 Rugby World Cup

One of the fastest rising teams when they were first founded, Ivory Coast established their national rugby union side in March 1990, and within the same month they had a place on the International Rugby Union Board. The West African side took on great strides in their early years, and secured their first and only spot at a Rugby World Cup in 1995.

Ivory Coast became only the fourth African side to ever reach the tournament, following in the footsteps of that year’s winners South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe and Namibia. ‘Les Elephants’ were drawn into Pool D, alongside France, Scotland and Tonga, with the rugby world eager to witness their first test matches against tier one opposition.

Their historic opening match ended in a monumental defeat, as the Ivory Coast was shut out by a relentless Scotland side. The Scots pulled no punches against their newcomer opponents, and ran out 89-0 winners in Rustenburg, South Africa. Despite any potential boost from a home-continent fanbase, Ivory Coast buckled under the bright lights of their initial Rugby World Cup match.

Their second pool stage fixture had some positive takeaways, as Les Elephants recorded their first points at a major international competition. Winger Aboubacar Soulama and fly half Aboubacar Camara each scored tries against France, with fullback Victor Kouassi adding eight points from the boot. However, Les Bleus were not fazed by conceding these points, as France established a 54 point tally, with Ivory Coast taking another heavy defeat.

Ivory Coast and Tonga then met in their final pool stage match, with the fate of both sides already decided. The African and Pacific Island nations had both failed to qualify for the knock-out stages, with France and Scotland through to the next round. Ivory Coast put in an improved performance against the Tongans, with a respectable 29-11 defeat keeping the match competitive for the most part.