1995 Rugby League World Cup
|Number of teams||10|
|Host country||United Kingdom|
|Winner||Australia (8th title)|
|Attendance||265,609 (17,707 per match)|
|Points scored||718 (47.87 per match)|
|Top scorer||Andrew Johns (62)|
|Top try scorer||Steven Menzies (6)|
The 1995 Rugby League World Cup was held during October in the United Kingdom. It was the eleventh staging of the Rugby League World Cup and was marketed as the Halifax Centenary World Cup, reflecting the tournament's sponsorship and the fact that 1995 marked the 100th birthday of the sport. Envisaged as a celebration of rugby league football, the size of the competition was doubled, with four additional teams invited and Great Britain split into England and Wales. (Scotland and Ireland took part in the Emerging Nations Tournament that was held alongside the World Cup.)
The tournament had been preceded by doubts and pessimism; many feared that it would produce one-sided-matches that would be unattractive to supporters. The forthcoming Super League war hung over the tournament, with the Australian Rugby League refusing to select players who had signed for the rival competition.
In the event, the fears proved unfounded, and the tournament was acclaimed a great success. Although many early matches did prove as one-sided as feared, fans still flocked to see newer rugby league nations such as Fiji, Tonga and South Africa. Large home crowds for the group involving Wales proved particularly encouraging for the sport.
The final between Australia and England drew a crowd of 66,540 to Wembley Stadium. Australia won the tournament, their eighth World Cup win.
Ten teams competed in the Centenary World Cup: Australia, England, Fiji, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Tonga, Wales and Western Samoa. It was the first time since the 1975 World Series that the Great Britain team was split into England and Wales. Fiji, South Africa, Tonga and Western Samoa were all making their World Cup débuts.
|Wembley Stadium (2 games, Opening ceremony and Final)||London||England||N/A||82,000|
|Old Trafford (1 game - Semi-final)||Manchester||England||N/A||44,000|
|Alfred McAlpine Stadium (1 game - Semi-final)||Huddersfield||England||Huddersfield RLFC (RFL Div 2)||20,000|
|Central Park (1 game)||Wigan||England||Wigan RLFC (RFL)||30,000|
|Ninian Park (2 games)||Cardiff||Wales||N/A||21,508|
|Headingley Stadium (1 game)||Leeds||England||Leeds RLFC (RFL)||20,000|
|Knowsley Road (1 game)||St Helens||England||St Helens RLFC (RFL)||17,500|
|Gateshead International Stadium (1 game)||Gateshead||England||N/A||11,800|
|Vetch Field (1 game)||Swansea||Wales||N/A||11,500|
|The Boulevard (1 game)||Hull||England||Hull F.C. (RFL Div 2)||10,000|
|Wilderspool Stadium (1 game)||Warrington||England||Warrington RLFC (RFL)||9,000|
|Cougar Park (1 game)||Keighley||England||Keighley Cougars (RFL Div 2)||7,800|
The tournament opened with a match between hosts England and current World Cup holders Australia at Wembley Stadium. It was a grey and showery day and Diana Ross provided pre-match entertainment. Australia were weakened by the absence of any player aligned with Super League, who the ARL refused to select. England were weakened by injuries, most notably that of star winger Martin Offiah.
|Saturday, 7 October
||England||20–16||Australia||Wembley Stadium, London
England got away to an early first half lead of 10-6, with a try each to Andy Farrell and Chris Joynt both coming about through mistakes from Australia's fullback, Tim Brasher. A try to Mark Coyne levelled the score at 10-10. But England's Jason Robinson scored after another Australian handling error with twelve minutes remaining. Another England try, this time from an interception by Paul Newlove put the result beyond doubt.
||Fiji||52–6||South Africa||Cougar Park, Keighley
||Australia||86–6||South Africa||Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead
||England||46–0||Fiji||Central Park, Wigan
Referee: Dennis Hale
||Australia||66–0||Fiji||McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield
Referee: Eddie Ward
||England||46–0||South Africa||Headingley Stadium, Leeds
||New Zealand||25–24||Tonga||Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington
||Papua New Guinea||28–28||Tonga||The Boulevard, Hull
||New Zealand||22–6||Papua New Guinea||Knowsley Road, St Helens
|Papua New Guinea||2||0||1||1||34||50||−16||1|
||Wales||28–6||France||Ninian Park, Cardiff
This match featured eight former Welsh rugby union internationals.
||France||10–56||Western Samoa||Ninian Park, Cardiff
||Wales||22–10||Western Samoa||Vetch Field, Swansea
|21 October - Old Trafford, Manchester
Man of the Match: Bobbie Goulding
|28 October - Wembley Stadium, London
|22 October - McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield
World Cup Final
|Sunday, 28 October 1995||Australia||16 - 8||England||Wembley Stadium, London
Referee/s: Stuart Cummings
Man of the Match: Andrew Johns
Andrew Johns (4)
Bobbie Goulding (2)
|Tim Brasher||1. FB||Kris Radlinski|
|Rod Wishart||2. WG||Jason Robinson|
|Mark Coyne||3. CE||Gary Connolly|
|Terry Hill||4. CE||Paul Newlove|
|Brett Dallas||5. WG||Martin Offiah|
|Brad Fittler (c)||6. SO||Tony Smith|
|Geoff Toovey||7. HB||Bobbie Goulding|
|Dean Pay||8. PR||Karl Harrison|
|Andrew Johns||9. HK||Lee Jackson|
|Mark Carroll||10. PR||Andy Platt|
|Steve Menzies||11. SR||Denis Betts (c)|
|Gary Larson||12. SR||Phil Clarke|
|Jim Dymock||13. LF||Andy Farrell|
|Jason Smith||Res.||Mick Cassidy|
|Bob Fulton||Coach||Phil Larder|
Even though they were favored to win, Australia went into the final having lost three of their past four games at Wembley (the only win being the World Cup final of 1992), and had already lost the opening match of the tournament there to the English. Also, due to the ARL's policy of not selecting Super League aligned players, the Kangaroos went into the game with 11 of their 17 players under the age of 24. Although considered mostly a 'second string' team without the likes of Laurie Daley, Allan Langer, Andrew Ettingshausen, Steve Renouf, Steve Walters and Glenn Lazarus, most of the Kangaroos had played in the 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman series earlier in the year.
The Australians had reached the final after a hard fought 30-20 Semi-final win over New Zealand at the McAlpine Stadium which had gone into extra time after the score was locked at 20-all after 80 minutes. Their opponents and tournament host England, had an easier time defeating Wales 25-10 in their Semi at Old Trafford.
Kangaroos coach Bob Fulton named young Newcastle halfback Andrew Johns as the team hooker, and indeed he packed into the scrums. Like in the Semi against NZ, Johns played at halfback in general play with Geoff Toovey having the dummy-half duties. The ploy worked with Johns named man-of-the-match in the final, as well as kicking four goals. Kangaroos captain Brad Fittler and fullback Tim Brasher were the only surviving members of Australia's 1992 World Cup Final win at Wembley, with both players in the same positions as they had been three years previously.
Team of the Tournament
The following players were selected as the 1995 World Cup "Team of the Tournament"
- Iestyn Harris
- Jason Robinson
- Paul Newlove
- Richard Blackmore
- Anthony Sullivan
- Brad Fittler
- Adrian Lam
- Mark Carroll
- Lee Jackson
- David Westley
- Denis Betts
- Steven Menzies
- Andy Farrell
- Menzies, Steve; Tasker, Norman (2008). Beaver: The Steve Menzies Story. Australia: Allen & Unwin. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-74175-560-2.
- Hadfield, Dave (1995-10-01). "Celebration a slow burn". The Independent. London: independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- Hadfield, Dave (1995-10-06). "Team-by-team guide to Centenary Celebrations". The Independent. London: independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- Wilson, Andy (4 November 2011). "Wembley Rugby League internationals - in pictures". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- Thomsen, Ian (1995-10-09). "The Cream Is Curdled In Rugby's Other Cup". The New York Times (the New York Times Company). Retrieved 2009-12-04.
- Hadfield, Dave (15 October 1995). "Rugby League World Cup: Flying Fittler floors Fiji". The Independent (London). Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Paddy McAteer (22 December 2010) "Whole World in their Hands" North West Evening Mail
- Johnson, Martin (30 October 1995). "Nothing focuses an Aussie sportsman more than stuffing the Poms". The Independent (UK: independent.co.uk). Retrieved 28 November 2010.
- 1995 RLWCF at Rugby League Project
- Ian, Thomsen (28 October 1995). "Australia Faces England at Wembley : A Final of Rugby Favorites". The New York Times (nytimes.com). Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- Ian, Thomsen (1995-10-30). "Australians Retain Rugby League Title". The New York Times (nytimes.com). Retrieved 2009-10-05.
- 1995 World Cup audio highlights
- 1995 World Cup Final at rlphotos.com
- 1995 World Cup data at hunterlink.net.au
- 1995 World Cup at rlwc2008.com
- 1995 World Cup at rlhalloffame.org.uk
- 1995 World Cup at rugbyleagueproject.com
- 1995 World Cup at 188-rugby-league.co.uk