The History of Rugby World Cup Finals

Since its inception in 1987, there have been 8 Rugby World Cup Finals to date and following the Boks’ recent triumph over England in Japan, South Africa draws level with the All Blacks for lifting the Webb Ellis Cup three times.
Now that the Boks have written a new chapter in the annals of the Rugby World Cup books, let’s have a look at past World Cup finals.

1987: All Blacks Triumphant

The first Rugby World Cup final was played between New Zealand (the host nation) and France. The All Blacks got out the blocks quickly, scoring in the 14th minute of the game after fly-half Grant Fox scored a drop kick.

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The All Blacks surged on from that point onwards and never looked in danger of losing the match. A late try by Pierre Berbizier only served as consolation as the game ended in a 29-9. This victory not only set the tone in terms of New Zealand’s dominance in the Rugby World Cup tournament, but the rugby fraternity as a whole.

1995: A Land of Hope

A year earlier, South Africa had just celebrated its independence and enjoyed its first non-racial democratic election. Could this have been a catapult to what the Boks achieved the following year?
Playing the All Blacks in Johannesburg, South Africa employed a simple but effective strategy, double-team star winger Jonah Lomu. The game ended in a 9-9 score line seeing the tournament’s first extra time. Both teams continued to score drop goals but it was South Africa’s John Stransky’s deciding drop goal deep into extra time that proved telling.
This victory marked South Africa’s emergence on the international stage post-apartheid and what a way to arrive.

2003: Jonny Wilkinson’s Drop Goal Decider


The Aussie’s were the first team to compete in back-to-back finals when they faced England at the Telstra Stadium in Sydney. Ask any English rugby fans and they’ll tell you the sequence of events that led up to Jonny Wilkinson’s famous drop goal.
The then scrumhalf, Matt Dawson makes a sharp run and is stopped only for the ball to be recycled. The ball is flung-out to Jonny Wilkinson who, despite being wrong-footed, goes for the drop goal and scores in dramatic fashion.
With 27 seconds left on the clock, the Aussies were left devastated as England went on to with the final 20-17.

2015: King Carter is Crowned

The All Blacks came into this World Cup tournament as clear favourites following a long period of dominance led by star flyhalf, Dan Carter.
Tries on either side of the half saw the All Blacks wallop the Aussie’s 34-17 at Twickenham making New Zealand the only team to successfully defend the Webb Ellis Cup after lifting it four years earlier.

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Published: 11/11/2019