1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup

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1989–1992 (1989–1992) World Cup  ()
Number of teams 5
Winner  Australia (7th title)

Matches played 21
Attendance 300,059 (14,289 per match)
Points scored 834 (39.71 per match)
Top scorer Australia Mal Meninga (70)
Top try scorer Australia Mal Meninga (7)

The 1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup was the tenth staging of the Rugby League World Cup, and continued to use the three-year format, stretching across the years 1989 to 1992. As with the 1985–1988 World Cup, teams played each other on a home-and-away basis. These matches were fitted into the normal international programme of three-match test series between the nations, with a pre-designated match from each series counting as the World Cup fixture.

The matches went strictly to form, with Australia undefeated and certain to claim a world cup final berth as early as 1991. France and Papua New Guinea were uncompetitive, leading to a straight fight between New Zealand and Great Britain for the right to meet the Kangaroos in the final. In the event the Lions were able to just edge out the Kiwis on points difference.

The final, at Wembley, was a surprisingly close affair, with Great Britain leading with only 12 minutes to go. The game's only try was then scored by Steve Renouf and Australia were able to claim their fourth consecutive World Cup title before a record crowd of 73,631.[1]



23 July 1989
New Zealand  14–22  Australia
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Attendance: 15,000

11 November 1989
Great Britain  10–6  New Zealand
Central Park, Wigan
Attendance: 20,346

3 December 1989
France  0–34  New Zealand


2 June 1990
Papua New Guinea  8–40  Great Britain
Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
Attendance: 7,837

27 June 1990
Australia  34–2  France

15 July 1990
New Zealand  21–18  Great Britain

11 August 1990
Papua New Guinea  10–18  New Zealand
Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
Attendance: 7,837

24 November 1990
Great Britain  0–14  Australia
Headingley, Leeds
Attendance: 32,500

9 December 1990
France  10–34  Australia
Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan
Attendance: 3,428


27 January 1991
France  10–45  Great Britain
Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan
Attendance: 3,965

23 June 1991
New Zealand  32–10  France

7 July 1991
Papua New Guinea  18–20  France
Danny Leahy Oval, Goroka
Attendance: 11,485

31 July 1991
Australia  40–12  New Zealand
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 29,139

13 October 1991
Papua New Guinea  6–40  Australia
Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
Attendance: 14,500

9 November 1991
Great Britain  56–4  Papua New Guinea
Central Park, Wigan
Attendance: 4,193

24 November 1991
France  28–14  Papua New Guinea


7 March 1992
Great Britain  36–0  France

In addition to being an allocated World Cup match, this was the third, deciding test of the 1992 Ashes series.

3 July 1992
Australia  16–10  Great Britain
Meninga (4)
Eastwood (3)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 32,313
Man of the Match: Paul Sironen (Australia)

This six-point margin of defeat meant that New Zealand would need to beat Papua New Guinea by 109 points in the following match to prevent a Great Britain-Australia World Cup final at Wembley in October.[2]

5 July 1992
New Zealand  66–10  Papua New Guinea
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Attendance: 3,000

15 July 1992
Australia  36–14  Papua New Guinea


Team Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Difference Points
 Australia 8 8 0 0 236 68 +168 16
 Great Britain 8 5 0 3 215 79 +136 10
 New Zealand 8 5 0 3 203 120 +83 10
 France 8 2 0 6 80 247 −167 4
 Papua New Guinea 8 0 0 8 84 304 −220 0


24 October 1992
Australia  10–6  Great Britain
Meninga (3/4)
Fox (3/4)
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 73,631[3]
Referee/s: Dennis Hale (New Zealand)
Man of the Match: Steve Walters (Australia)
Australia Posit. Great Britain
Tim Brasher 1. FB Joe Lydon
Willie Carne 2. WG Alan Hunte
Steve Renouf 3. CE Gary Connolly
Mal Meninga (c) 4. CE Garry Schofield (c)
Michael Hancock 5. WG Martin Offiah
Brad Fittler 6. FE/SO Shaun Edwards
Allan Langer 7. HB/SH Deryck Fox
Glenn Lazarus 8. PR Kevin Ward
Steve Walters 9. HK Martin Dermott
Mark Sargent 10. PR Andy Platt
Paul Sironen 11. SR Denis Betts
Bob Lindner 12. SR Phil Clarke
Bradley Clyde 13. LF Ellery Hanley
David Gillespie Res. John Devereux
Kevin Walters Res. Alan Tait
John Cartwright Res. Kelvin Skerrett
Chris Johns Res. Richard Eyres
Bob Fulton Coach Mal Reilly

This match set a new world record attendance for a rugby league international of 73,631, beating the previous record of 70,204 set at the Sydney Cricket Ground during the 1932 Ashes series.[4] As they had done in 1988, Australia won the right to host the World Cup Final. However, in the interests of rugby league (and the potential for a much larger attendance), the ARL agreed to Great Britain hosting the final at Wembley.

The hard-fought final was a one-try affair, with Great Britain leading 6–4 with only 12 minutes remaining.[5] The only try of the match was then set up by Australian replacement back Kevin Walters, who, with a clever cut-out pass, put his Brisbane Broncos teammate Steve Renouf into a gap not covered by replacement Lions centre John Devereux, to score in the corner.[6] Otherwise, the two teams' kickers (Mal Meninga and Deryck Fox) were called upon to score most of the points, including Meninga's pressure sideline conversion of Renouf's try. The rain started pouring in the second half and Australia was able to hold Great Britain out and maintain their lead until the final siren.

Australia's triumph saw them win their fourth World Cup in a row after winning the previous cups in 1975, 1977 and 1988. It also ended a mini-hoodoo for them Kangaroos at London's Wembley Stadium. The Kangaroos had previously left the arena 21–12 losers in 1973 and the 1990 Kangaroos were outplayed by Great Britain 19–12, but when it mattered most this time around Australia proved themselves as worthy World Cup champions.

The match was telecast live late at night throughout Australia on the Nine Network, with commentary provided by Ray Warren, Peter Sterling and Paul Vautin, with sideline comments from Chris Bombolas. The game broke Australia's midnight-to-dawn television ratings record which was set a year earlier the by rugby union's 1991 Rugby World Cup Final.[7]


  1. ^ Kdouh, Fatima (28 November 2013). "We take a look back at the greatest Rugby League World Cup finals of all time". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Meninga breaks Britain's resistance (independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ RLWC 1989-92 at Rugby League Project
  4. ^ Wilson, Andy (4 November 2011). "Wembley Rugby League internationals - in pictures". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "1989 - 1992: AUSTRALIA". rlwc2013.com. Rugby League International Federation. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Roberts, Michael (2008). Great Australian Sporting Moments. Australia: The Miegunyah Press. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-522-85547-0. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Oliver, Robin (27 October 1992). "'Roos give 9 early-hours record". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Digital). p. 6. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 

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