The History of the Rugby World Cup tells the complete story of the greatest rugby show on earth.

The tournament was first held in 1987 when the co-hosts, the All Blacks beat France in the final. Four countries have since won the trophy: New Zealand three times, Australia and South Africa twice each; and England once.

Sixteen teams were invited to participate in the inaugural tournament while since 1999 twenty teams have taken part including in the latest contest which is held in Japan for the first time.

Peter Murray and Lorri Lynn’s fully-illustrated chronicle also includes profiles of the star performers over the years including Jonah Lomu, David Campese, Michael Lynagh, Thierry Lacroix, Gavin Hastings, Bryan Habana and Jonny Wilkinson, who holds the record for the most number of points in the competition.

The book concludes with a selection of the most memorable moments such as Western Samoa’s shock victory over Wales in 1991; Nelson Mandela’s handing over of the trophy to Springboks’ captain Francois Pienaar in 1995; and Jonny Wilkinson’s last minute winning drop goal in the 2003 final.

Priced at £19.95, the coffee-table book is released next month in time for the start of the tournament on September 20. G2 is also distributing The Rugby Paper’s Essential World Cup Guide 2019, RRP £4.95, which is available now.