2003 Rugby World Cup Final
|Event||2003 Rugby World Cup|
|Date||22 November 2003|
The 2003 Rugby World Cup Final was won by England who defeated Australia 20 points to 17. The match went into extra time, in which Jonny Wilkinson kicked a dropped goal in the final minute to seal England's win.
Path to the final
Australia opened the 2003 Rugby World Cup at Telstra Stadium in Sydney, where they beat Argentina 24–8. The next two pool games were against tier 3 nations Romania and Namibia. The match against Namibia resulted in a 142–0 smashing. The last pool match was against Ireland at Telstra Dome in Melbourne, where the Wallabies escaped with a one point win, 17–16. They finished clearly on top of their pool, with 18 table points and a massive for and against.
England were in Pool C, and kicked off their campaign with an 84–6 win over Georgia, which was then followed by a match against their biggest opposition in the pool, South Africa. However, England beat the Springboks 25–6. Their third pool match against Samoa was a lot closer, England winning 35–22. Their final pool match was against Uruguay, which England won 111–13. England finished first in their pool, four table points ahead of the Springboks.
Australia met Scotland in the quarter finals at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, and beat them 33–16 to go through to the semis, where they would take on their old rivals, the All Blacks. England beat Wales in their quarter final, 28–17, and went through to meet France in the semis. The Wallabies prevailed 22–10 over New Zealand at Telstra Stadium. The following day England beat France 24–7 at the same venue.
Kick-off was preceded by performances including Kate Ceberano singing True Colours (a theme throughout the World Cup), the Sydney's Children Choir and the Rugby World Choir singing the Rugby World Cup's official theme song, World in Union. Following these performances, the traditional national anthems were performed by Australia (Advance Australia Fair) and England (God Save the Queen).
The first points of the final were scored by Australia, in six minutes, Lote Tuqiri outjumped the much shorter Jason Robinson and scored a try, following a sensational cross field kick from Wallaby fly-half Stephen Larkham, the conversion unsuccessfully crashed against a post. Jonny Wilkinson kicked a penalty goal for England in the 11th minute, bringing the score to 5–3. A further penalty goal by Wilkinson in the 20th minute took England into the lead, 6–5. In the 28th minute, following a Wallabies infringement Wilkinson slotted a penalty to make it 9–5. Following a flowing attacking move involving English forwards and backs Robinson slid into the corner for a try for England in the 38th minute. England led at half-time 14–5.
Flatley kicked a penalty goal for Australia at the 47th minute, following the England scrummage being penalized by referee Andre Watson taking the score to 14–8. With England dominant in possession but lacking in finishing Wilkinson made a number of unsuccessful drop goal attempts. England's forwards were again penalized by Watson in the 61st minute, and Flatley kicked the penalty goal for Australia. England's World Cup dream was in the balance in the final quarter with only 3 points separating the teams. England were again to suffer when Flatley kicked a penalty goal on the 80th minute, taking the score to 14-all, and the match headed into extra-time.
With nerves frayed among both sides and the thousands of fans in the Telstra Stadium Wilkinson and Flatley both scored penalties to put the score at a tantalising 17–17. After having the ball returned to England from a Mat Rogers kick, and with 26 seconds on the clock, Wilkinson kicked right footed a final drop goal and England won their first Rugby World Cup 17–20.
|Australia||17 – 20 (a.e.t.)||England|
|Try: Tuqiri 6' m
Pen: Flatley 47', 61', 80', 97'
|Try: Robinson 38' m
Pen: Wilkinson 11', 20', 28', 82'
Drop: Wilkinson 100'
Team statistics Nations Tries Conversions Penalties Dropped Goals Scrums Yellow Cards Red Cards England 1 0 4 1 12 0 0 Australia 1 0 4 0 9 0 0
The English squad arrived at London's Heathrow Airport to a huge reception of English fans. Captain Martin Johnson, holding the World Cup trophy was the first player to appear, which resulted in a celebration of singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Scrum-half Matt Dawson described the reception as "mind blowing" and hooker Steve Thompson said that "Walking through Heathrow was breathtaking".
A national day of celebration was held on Monday, 8 December for the English rugby team. Hundreds of thousands of fans lined the streets of London to pay tribute to the World Cup victory. The English team waited at the Marble Arch, until the Mayor of Westminster cut a red ribbon to signify the start of the parade. The two open-buses started to make their way down Oxford St, accompanied by numerous police (Scotland Yard estimated 500 were to be used for the parade). The players were all dressed in grey suits with blue shirts and red ties, and some had video cameras and cameras, as they took turns holding the trophy as the bus rolled through the ticker-tape parade and amidst thousands of white balloons and streets at a stand-still, with people even hanging off lamp posts and traffic lights to get a look at the team. Jason Leonard said to reporters on board that "We've got the best fans in the world".
The buses then turned down Regents St and thousands of fans started to sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot as the buses made their way onto Piccadilly Circus. The buses then made their way through Haymarket and onwards toward Trafalgar Square where hundreds of thousands of people were waiting. As the buses became visible from Trafalgar Square, the crowd started to sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot as the squad approached. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London then awarded the whole squad the freedom of London. The English squad then went on to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace, followed by a reception at Downing Street with then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
a. ^ Will Greenwood, for superstitious reasons, prefers to play wearing the number 13 shirt, even when selected to play inside centre.
- "England wins World Cup". Australia: ABC. Archived from the original on 21 April 2006. Retrieved 18 September 2006.
- BBC Sport (25 November 2003). "England rugby heroes arrive home". BBC. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
- London Evening Standard (9 December 2003). "Rugby team meet the Queen and Tony Blair". LES. Retrieved 1 February 2013.