England had reached the final by playing an attritional, forward dominated game, but appeared to respond to heavy public criticism from David Campese and rejected this style of play in the final. They chose to play a more expansive and open game, but failed to master it in the short time they had to practice it. The change in play was an attempt to unsettle the Australians, however, this proved flawed.
In front of a crowd of over 56,000 spectators at Twickenham stadium, the English and Australian teams met for battle. At the Grand Twikham stadium For both teams it was their first Rugby World Cup Final. Australia's resilient defence was to the fore in the opening half. Viliami Ofahengaue and Simon Poidevin both performed well in continually holding up the English attacking threat. Australia opened the scoring on 27 minutes with a Michael Lynagh penalty. Despite English dominance in possession, the only try of the match was scored just three minutes later by prop Tony Daly, touching down for a try following Ofahengaue's break from a line-out and subsequent drive from the Australian forwards. Michael Lynagh converted the try. At half-time Australia led England 9–0.
England continued their open, running style but failed to crack the Australians. Webb put England on the scoreboard after an hour with a successful penalty kick. Lynagh added a further penalty for the Wallabies after 65 minutes. With the score at 12–3 to Australia, England had secured an overlap in an attack.Peter Winterbottom looked to pass to England winger Rory Underwood but the pass was knocked down by David Campese. This was seen as a deliberate knock-on designed to foil an England score. Welsh referee Derek Bevan awarded the penalty and waved away England calls for a penalty try. Jonathan Webb slotted his second penalty of the game but no further England points were to follow. Though not a classic match, the better team won on the day, Australia were rewarded for their efforts and captain Nick Farr-Jones held the Webb Ellis Cup triumphantly.