1968 Rugby League World Cup

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1968 (1968) World Cup  ()
Number of teams 4
Host countries  Australia
 New Zealand
Winner  Australia (2nd title)

Matches played 7
Attendance 220,683 (31,526 per match)
Points scored 227 (32.43 per match)
Top scorer Australia Eric Simms (56)
Top try scorers Australia Lionel Williamson (4)
Australia Ron Coote (4)
United Kingdom Clive Sullivan (4)
 < 1960

The 1968 Rugby League World Cup tournament was the fourth staging of the Rugby League World Cup and was held in Australia and New Zealand during May and June in 1968. Contested by the men's national rugby league football teams of the two host countries plus Great Britain and France, for the first time a final to determine the World Cup was specifically pre-arranged (previous finals having only been used when teams finished level on points). Financially it was a profitable venture for the competing nations.[citation needed]

The 1968 World Cup was the first to be played under limited tackles rules, the number then being four tackles. The round 1 match between Great Britain and Australia attracted an attendance of 62,256, the highest for a World Cup match until 1992.[1] The final was held at the Sydney Cricket Ground; a crowd of 54,290 watched Australia defeat France.[1] The stars of the Australian team in the tournament were skipper Johnny Raper, second-rower Ron Coote, who scored spectacular tries in each and every game, and the dead-shot kicker Eric Simms, who harvested a record 25 goals (50 points).



The Australian squad assembled for the tournament was coached by Harry Bath.


The France squad assembled for the tournament included Jean Claude Cros, Daniel Pélerin, Jacques Gruppi, Jean Pierre Lecompte, Jean Ledru, Jean Capdouze, Roger Garrigues, Christian Sabatie, Yves Begou, George Ailleres (c), Francis de Nadai, Henri Marracq and Jean Pierre Clar.

Great Britain[edit]

The Great Britain squad assembled for the tournament was coached by Bill Fallowfield & Colin Hutton:

New Zealand[edit]

The New Zealand squad assembled for the tournament was coached by Des Barchard,


25 May
New Zealand  10–15  France
Carlaw Park, Auckland
Attendance: 18,000
Referee: Col Pearce (AUS)

France: J Cros; D Pellerin, M Molinier, J Lecompte, A Ferren; Jean Capdouze, R Garrigues; G Ailleres (c), Y Begou, C Sabatie, Francis de Nadai, Henri Marracq, J Clar.
New Zealand: R Tait; R Mincham, H Sinel, P Schultz, E Wiggs; J Bond (c), J Clarke; O Danielson, Colin O'Neil, George Smith, B Lee, J Dixon, A Kriletich; Henry Tatana.

After only twelve minutes, New Zealand second-rower Brian Lee was sent off in a match in which the classy French stand-off Jean Capdouze bagged 13 points. The game was also notable for the first World Cup substitution when Adolphe Alesina replaced second-rower Francis De Nadai.

25 May
Australia  25–10  Great Britain
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Attendance: 62,256[1]
Referee: John Percival New Zealand

A record World Cup crowd of 62,256 saw New Zealand referee John Percival mercilessly penalising Great Britain, with debutant full-back Eric Simms booting a record eight goals in Australia's win.

1 June
Australia  31–12  New Zealand
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 23,608

Simms repeated the feat of kicking eight goals as he had in the previous match as Australia eventually killed off New Zealand at Brisbane after trailing for much of the game.

2 June
France  7–2  Great Britain
Carlaw Park, Auckland
Attendance: 15,760

France surprised Britain in a rain-ruined match at Auckland with an uncharacteristically stubborn defensive display and winger Jean Ledru, scoring the winning try to qualify for a World Cup Final showdown against Australia.

8 June
Australia  37–4  France
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 32,664

In the final preliminary game in Brisbane, Australia's scrum-half back Billy Smith dropped three goals. French winger Jean Ledru and Australia's prop Artie Beetson were both sent off.

8 June
Great Britain  38–14  New Zealand
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Attendance: 14,105

Final standings[edit]

Australia and France, having finished in first and second places respectively, qualified for the World Cup final.

Team Played Won Drew Lost  For  Against Difference Points
 Australia 3 3 0 0 93 26 +67 6
 France 3 2 0 1 26 49 −23 4
 Great Britain 3 1 0 2 50 46 +4 2
 New Zealand 3 0 0 3 36 84 −48 0


The final had been billed a 'debacle' following Great Britain's inexplicable loss to France in Auckland, resulting in France contesting the final against Australia despite having been beaten by Australia seven tries to none two days prior.[2] Nonetheless, it attracted a record crowd for a World Cup Final match.

10 June
Australia  20–2  France
Lionel Williamson (2)
Ron Coote
Johnny Greaves
Eric Simms (4)
Report Goals: Jean Capdouze (1)
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Attendance: 54,290[3]
Referee: John Percival New Zealand
Australia Posit.[4] France
Eric Simms FB Jean Claude Cros
Johnny Rhodes WG Daniel Pélerin
Graeme Langlands CE Jacques Gruppi
Johnny Greaves CE Jean Pierre Lecompte
Lionel Williamson WG Jean Ledru
Bob Fulton FE/SO Jean Capdouze
Billy Smith HB/SH Roger Garrigues
John Wittenberg PR Christian Sabatie
Fred Jones HK Yves Begou
Arthur Beetson PR George Ailleres (c)
Dick Thornett SR Francis de Nadai
Ron Coote SR Henri Marracq
Johnny Raper (c) LF Jean Pierre Clar
Harry Bath Coach

The undefeated Australians went into the tournament decider as favourites.[5] However France offered stern resistance and held the Australians to 0–7 at half-time and with quarter of an hour were only 0–12 down before losing 2–20. It was Australia's second World Cup title.



  1. ^ a b c McCann, 2006: 83
  2. ^ "Rugby league debacle". The Age. 10 June 1968. p. 21. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  3. ^ Paddy McAteer (22 December 2010) "Whole World in their Hands" Archived 5 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.›  North West Evening Mail
  4. ^ Various. "Australia vs. France". Rugby League Project. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2008. 
  5. ^ 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. 


External links[edit]