| England Winners miniature sheet 2003.|
|Great Britain 1991 stamp.|
The Rugby World Cup was first held in 1987 with Australia and New Zealand as the host countries and the competition was won by New Zealand. The competition is a rugby union tournament held every 4 years where the winning team is awarded the William Webb Ellis Cup which was named after the pupil at Rugby School in Warwickshire who is said to have invented rugby by picking up the ball during a game of football.
Host countries of Finals following the 1987 competition have been:-
1991 - England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - winner:- Australia,
1995 - South Africa - winner:- South Africa,
1999 - Wales - winner:- Australia,
2003 - Australia - winner:- England,
2007 - France - winner:- South Africa,
2011 - New Zealand - winner:- New Zealand.
The 2015 tournament will be held in England from 18 September to 31 October this year and Royal Mail has announced that a special issue of stamps will be issued to commemorate the event on 18 September although all the details of the issue have not yet been released.
The 2019 competition will be held in Japan.
Previous stamp issues:-
1987 - neither Australia nor New Zealand released any special stamps for the event.
1991 - The British Post Office issued a single stamp as part of a set of 4 sports events stamps (the other 3 commemorated the World Student Games being held in Sheffield) on 11 June 1991.
The New Zealand Post Office issued 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet (with a face value of $1.80c but sold for $2.40c) on 21 August 1991. The issue also commemorated children's rugby, women's rugby and senior rugby):-
The design of the miniature sheet was also used for a $1.80c miniature sheet which was issued to commemorate the PhilaNippon '91 philatelic exhibition which was held in Japan. This is mentioned as a footnote in Stanley Gibbons Catalogue because it was only sold from the New Zealand stand at the exhibition and from the philatelic bureau in Wanganui:-
25 May 1995 - South Africa issued a set of 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet as well as 2 x 6R booklets each containing 10 x 60c "Standardised Postage" values:-
Additionally, South Africa also issued 2 stamps on 28 June 2015 to commemorate the South African team's victory in the competition:-
The postal service of Ireland also issued 2 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 6 April 1995 to commemorate the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The issue was designed by C. Harrison and lithographed by Walsall Security Printers:-
1 October 1999 - the British Post Office issued a counter booklet of 4 x 1st class orange gummed "Machin Head" definitives with an attached commemorative label (the label had no postal validity). Printed in photogravure by Walsall Security Printers and sold for £1.04p:-
8 October 2003 - the Australian Post Office issued 3 stamps, 1 miniature sheet and 1 prestige booklet to commemorate the 2003 Rugby World Cup held in Australia:-
The 50c value was also issued in sheets of 10 with personalisable labels attached to them:-
Royal Mail issued a miniature sheet of 4 different stamps on 19 December 2003 to commemorate the English team's victory in the finals. The issue was designed by Why Not Associates and printed in lithography by Walsall Security Printers:-
2007 - The finals were held in France. Again, the Irish postal service issued stamps on 20 August 2007 to commemorate the competition - 2 stamps and 2 miniature sheets. The issue was designed by Design Factory and lithographed by Irish Security Stamp Printing Ltd.:-
Although South Africa won the 2007 competition, the South African Post Office did not issue any stamps to commemorate the country's success - at the time the South African Post Office was busy releasing a number of new issues in advance of the Football World Cup which was to be held in South Africa in 2010.
In anticipation of the 2011 Rugby World Cup which was to be hosted by New Zealand, New Zealand Post issued 2 stamps and 2 personalised stamps on 9 September 2010. The issue was designed by New Zealand Post and lithographed by Southern Colour Print:-
Earlier, on 9 June 2010, 2 stamps had been issued by New Zealand Post to commemorate the Centenary of Maori Rugby. The stamps had been designed by Len Hetet and lithographed by Southern Colour Print:-
On 4 August 2010 New Zealand Post issued 1 miniature sheet containing 4 stamps (2 x 60c and 2 x $1.90c values) which depicted the All Black's fern emblem:-
A premium sheetlet of 10 x 60c "All Blacks" stamps with labels was issued on 1 September 2010. The labels depict members of the New Zealand "All Blacks" team:-
On 7 September 2011 a self-adhesive $15 "3-D" stamp was issued in a pack and depicted the Webb Ellis Cup. The issue was designed by New Zealand Post Stamps and Collectables Business and printed by Outer Aspect of Auckland in Motionstamp HDR 3D technology.
On 25 October 2015, 2 days after New Zealand's victory in the competition, New Zealand Post issued a sheetlet of 6 x $1.90c "All Blacks" stamps. The victorious team was depicted in an illustration at the centre of the sheetlet:-
The All Blacks 60c stamp was reissued on 23 May 2012 revalued to 70c to cover the increase in domestic potal rates in July 2012. The issue took the form of a miniature sheet of 4 stamps and a sheetlet of 10 stamps:-
18 September 2015 - Royal Mail will issue special stamps to commemorate the holding of the Rugby World Cup in England. The issue will include a £3.78p counter booklet of self-adhesive stamps (4 x Machin Head 1st class stamps in a new colour which commemorates Queen Elizabeth II becoming Britain's longest reigning monarch plus 2 x different 1st class stamps from the Rugby World Cup set). The Irish postal administration appears not to have any plans to release a 2015 Rugby World Cup issue.
Post scriptum - see also Blog 611 for Royal Mail and New Zealand Post issues of 2015.