1995 Rugby World Cup

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This article is about the rugby union event. For the rugby league event, see 1995 Rugby League World Cup.
1995 Rugby World Cup
Tournament details
Host nation  South Africa
Dates 25 May – 24 June 1995
No. of nations 16 (52 qualifying)
Final positions
Champions Gold medal blank.svg  South Africa
Runner-up Silver medal blank.svg  New Zealand
Third-place Bronze medal blank.svg  France
Tournament statistics
Matches played 32
Top scorer(s) France Thierry Lacroix (112)
Most tries New Zealand Jonah Lomu
New Zealand Marc Ellis
(7 tries each)

The 1995 Rugby World Cup was the third Rugby World Cup. It was hosted and won by South Africa, and was the first Rugby World Cup in which every match was held in one country.

The World Cup was the first major sporting event to take place in South Africa following the end of apartheid. It was also the first World Cup in which South Africa was allowed to compete; the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB, now World Rugby) had only readmitted South Africa to international rugby in 1992, following negotiations to end apartheid. The World Cup would also be the last major event of rugby union's amateur era; two months after the tournament, the IRFB opened the sport to professionalism.

In the final, held at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 24 June, South Africa defeated New Zealand 15–12, with Joel Stransky scoring a drop goal in extra time to win the match. Following South Africa's victory, Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa, wearing a Springboks rugby shirt and cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to the South African captain François Pienaar. Mandela and Pienaar's involvement in the World Cup is the subject of the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, its 2009 film adaptation Invictus, and the ESPN TV documentary The 16th Man in 2010.


Africa Americas Europe Oceania/Asia

The eight quarter-finalists from the 1991 Rugby World Cup all received automatic entry, as did South Africa, as hosts. The remaining seven of the 16 positions available in the tournament were filled by regional qualifiers. The qualifying tournaments were broken up into regional associations: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Côte d'Ivoire qualified through Africa, Japan through Asia, Argentina through the Americas, Italy, Romania and Wales through Europe, Tonga through Oceania.



The 1995 tournament was the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted by just one country, and thus, all the venues are within the one country. In total, nine stadiums were used for the World Cup, most being owned by local municipalities, and the majority of the venues were upgraded prior to the tournament. Six of the nine stadiums were South African Test grounds. The four largest stadiums were used for the finals, with the final taking place at Johannesburg's Ellis Park.

There were games originally scheduled to have been played in Brakpan, Germiston, Pietermaritzburg and Witbank, but these games were reallocated to other venues. This reduced the number of venues from 14 to 9. The reasons cited for this change had to do with facilities for both the press and spectators, as well as the security. The change in the itinerary occurred in January 1994. Further changes occurred in April, so that evening games were played at stadiums with good floodlighting. It is also thought that Potchefstroom was an original venue.

Venues were paired:

  • Pool 1: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Stellenbosch
  • Pool 2: Durban and East London
  • Pool 3: Johannesburg and Bloemfontein
  • Pool 4: Pretoria and Rustenburg
City Stadium Capacity
Johannesburg Ellis Park 63,000
Pretoria Loftus Versfeld 50,000
Cape Town Newlands 50,000
Durban Kings Park Stadium 50,000
Port Elizabeth Boet Erasmus Stadium 38,950
Bloemfontein Free State Stadium 40,000
Rustenburg Olympia Park 30,000
East London Basil Kenyon Stadium 22,000
Stellenbosch Danie Craven Stadium 16,000

Pools & format[edit]

Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D

 South Africa

 Western Samoa

 New Zealand

 Ivory Coast

The tournament was contested by 16 different nations using the same format that was used in 1987 and 1991 and in total 32 matches were played. The competition began on 25 May, when the hosts South Africa defeated Australia 27–18 at Newlands in Cape Town. The tournament culminated with the final between South Africa and the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 24 June. In total, the tournament ran for around one month. The nations were broken up into four pools of four, with each pool consisting of two teams that were automatically qualified and two that went through the qualifying tournaments.

Points System

The points system that was used in the pool stage was unchanged from 1991:

  • 3 points for a win
  • 2 points for a draw
  • 1 point for playing

Knock-out Stage

Pool winners were drawn against opposite pool runners-up in the quarter-finals. For example, the winner of A faces the runner up of B, and the winner of B face the runner-up of A. The whole finals stage adopts a knock-out format, and the winners of the quarter-finals advance to the semi-finals, where winner 1 faces winner 2, and winner 3 faces winner 4. The winners advance to the final, and the losers contest a third/fourth place play-off two days before the final.

A total of 32 matches (24 Pool Stage & 8 Knock-out) were played throughout the tournament over 30 days from Thursday 25 May 1995 to Saturday 24 June 1995.

Pool stage[edit]

Pool A[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 South Africa 3 3 0 0 68 26 9
 Australia 3 2 0 1 87 41 7
 Canada 3 1 0 2 45 50 5
 Romania 3 0 0 3 14 97 3
25 May 1995
South Africa  27–18  Australia
Tries: Hendriks, Stransky
Con: Stransky
Pen: Stransky (4)
Drop: Stransky
Tries: Kearns, Lynagh
Con: Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 44,778
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

26 May 1995
Canada  34–3  Romania
Tries: Charron, McKenzie, Snow
Con: Rees (2)
Pen: Rees (4)
Drop: Rees
Pen: Nichitean

30 May 1995
South Africa  21–8  Romania
Tries: Richter (2)
Con: Johnson
Pen: Johnson (3)
Tries: Guranescu
Pen: Ivanciuc
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Ken McCartney (Scotland)

31 May 1995
Australia  27–11  Canada
Tries: Lynagh, Tamanivalu, Roff
Con: Lynagh (3)
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Tries: Charron
Pen: Rees (2)

3 June 1995
Australia  42–3  Romania
Tries: Smith, Wilson, Roff (2), Foley, Burke
Con: Burke (2), Eales (4)
Pen: Ivanciuc
Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Attendance: 15,542
Referee: Naoki Saito (Japan)

3 June 1995
South Africa  20–0  Canada
Tries: Richter (2)
Con: Stransky (2)
Pen: Stransky (2)

Pool B[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 England 3 3 0 0 95 60 9
 Western Samoa 3 2 0 1 96 88 7
 Italy 3 1 0 2 69 94 5
 Argentina 3 0 0 3 69 87 3
27 May 1995
Italy  18–42  Western Samoa
Tries: Vaccari, Cuttitta
Con: Dominguez
Pen: Dominguez
Drop: Dominguez
Tries: Lima (2), Harder (3), Kellet, Tatupu
Con: Kellet (2)
Pen: Kellet (1)
Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London
Attendance: 7,868
Referee: Joël Dume (France)

27 May 1995
Argentina  18–24  England
Tries: Arbizu, Noriega
Con: Arbizu
Pen: Arbizu (2)
Pen: Andrew (6)
Drop: Andrew (2)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

30 May 1995
Western Samoa  32–26  Argentina
Tries: Lam, Leaupepe, Harder
Con: Kellet
Pen: Kellet (5)
Tries: Penalty try, Crexell
Con: Cilley (2)
Pen: Cilley (4)

31 May 1995
England  27–20  Italy
Tries: R. Underwood, T. Underwood
Con: Andrew
Pen: Andrew (5)
Tries: Cuttitta, Vaccari
Con: Dominguez (2)
Pen: Dominguez (2)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 45,093
Referee: Stephen Hilditch (Ireland)

4 June 1995
Argentina  25–31  Italy
Tries: Martin, Penalty Try, Corral, Cilley
Con: Cilley
Pen: Cilley
Tries: Vaccari, Gerosa, Dominguez
Con: Dominguez (2)
Pen: Dominguez (4)

4 June 1995
England  44–22  Western Samoa
Tries: R. Underwood (2), Back, Penalty Try
Con: Callard (3)
Pen: Callard(5)
Drop: Catt
Tries: Sini (2), Umaga
Con: Fa'amasino (2)
Pen: Fa'amasino
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Patrick Robin (France)

Pool C[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 New Zealand 3 3 0 0 222 45 9
 Ireland 3 2 0 1 93 94 7
 Wales 3 1 0 2 89 68 5
 Japan 3 0 0 3 55 252 3
27 May 1995
Japan  10–57  Wales
Tries: Ota (2) Tries: G. Thomas (3), I. Evans (2), Moore, Taylor
Con: N. Jenkins (5)
Pen: N. Jenkins (4)

27 May 1995
Ireland  19–43  New Zealand
Tries: Corkery, McBride, Halpin
Con: Elwood (2)
Tries: Lomu (2), Kronfeld, Bunce, Osborne
Con: Mehrtens (3)
Pen: Mehrtens (4)
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 38,000
Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

31 May 1995
Ireland  50–28  Japan
Tries: Francis, Geoghegan, Corkery, Halvey, Hogan, 2 Penalty Tries
Con: Burke (6)
Pen: Burke
Tries: Latu, Izawa, Hirao, Takura
Con: Yoshida (4)

31 May 1995
New Zealand  34–9  Wales
Tries: Ellis, Little, Kronfeld
Con: Mehrtens (2)
Pen: Mehrtens (4)
Drop: Mehrtens
Pen: N. Jenkins (2)
Drop: N. Jenkins
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

4 June 1995
Japan  17–145  New Zealand
Tries: Kajihara (2)
Con: Hirose (2)
Pen: Hirose
Tries: Ellis (6), Rush (3), Wilson (3), R. Brooke (2), Osborne (2), Loe, Culhane, Henderson, Dowd, Ieremia
Con: Culhane (20)
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: George Gadjovic (Canada)

4 June 1995
Ireland  24–23  Wales
Tries: Halvey, Popplewell, McBride
Con: Elwood (3)
Pen: Elwood
Tries: Humphreys, Taylor
Con: N. Jenkins (2)
Pen: N. Jenkins (2)
Drop: A. Davies
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Ian Rogers (South Africa)

Pool D[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 France 3 3 0 0 114 47 9
 Scotland 3 2 0 1 149 27 7
 Tonga 3 1 0 2 44 90 5
 Ivory Coast 3 0 0 3 29 172 3
26 May 1995
Ivory Coast  0–89  Scotland
Tries: G. Hastings (4), Logan (2), Walton (2), Wright, Chalmers, Stanger, Burnell, Shiel
Con: G. Hastings (9)
Pen: G. Hastings (2)
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Felise Vito (Western Samoa)

26 May 1995
France  38–10  Tonga
Tries: Lacroix (2), Hueber, Saint-André
Con: Lacroix (3)
Pen: Lacroix (3)
Drop: Delaigue
Tries: Va'enuku
Con: Tu'ipulotu
Pen: Tu'ipulotu
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: Steve Lander (England)

30 May 1995
France  54–18  Ivory Coast
Tries: Lacroix (2), Benazzi, Téchoueyres, Viars, Accoceberry, Saint-André, Costes
Con: Deylaud (2), Lacroix (2)
Pen: Lacroix (2)
Tries: Soulama, Camara
Con: Kouassi
Pen: Kouassi (2)
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Han Moon-Soo (South Korea)

30 May 1995
Scotland  41–5  Tonga
Tries: S. Hastings, Peters, G. Hastings
Con: G. Hastings
Pen: G. Hastings (8)
Tries: Fenukitau
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 21,000
Referee: Barry Leask (Australia)

3 June 1995
Ivory Coast  11–29  Tonga
Tries: Okou
Pen: Dali (2)
Tries: Penalty Try, Latukefu, 'Otai, Tu'ipulotu
Con: Tu'ipulotu (3)
Pen: Tu'ipulotu
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Don Reordan (United States)

3 June 1995
France  22–19  Scotland
Tries: Ntamack
Con: Lacroix
Pen: Lacroix (5)
Tries: Wainwright
Con: G. Hastings
Pen: G. Hastings (4)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 39,000
Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)
  • Three minutes into the match between Côte d'Ivoire and Tonga, the Ivorian winger Max Brito was crushed beneath several other players, leaving him paralyzed below the neck.[1]

Knock-out stage[edit]

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
10 June – Ellis Park, Johannesburg        
  South Africa  42
17 June – Kings Park Stadium, Durban
  Western Samoa  14  
  South Africa  19
10 June – Kings Park Stadium, Durban
    France  15  
  France  36
24 June – Ellis Park, Johannesburg
  Ireland  12  
  South Africa (a.e.t.)  15
11 June – Newlands, Cape Town
    New Zealand  12
  England  25
18 June – Newlands, Cape Town
  Australia  22  
  England  29 Third place
11 June – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
    New Zealand  45  
  New Zealand  48   France  19
  Scotland  30     England  9
22 June – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria


10 June 1995
France  36–12  Ireland
Tries: Saint-André, Ntamack
Con: Lacroix
Pen: Lacroix (8)
Pen: Elwood (4)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

10 June 1995
South Africa  42–14  Western Samoa
Tries: Williams (4), Rossouw, Andrews
Con: Johnson (3)
Pen: Johnson (2)
Tries: Tatupu, Nu'uali'itia
Con: Fa'amasin (2)
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 54,169
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

11 June 1995
England  25–22  Australia
Tries: T. Underwood
Con: Andrew
Pen: Andrew (5)
Drop: Andrew
Report Tries: Smith
Con: Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh (5)
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 35,448
Referee: David Bishop (New Zealand)

11 June 1995
New Zealand  48–30  Scotland
Tries: Little (2), Lomu, Mehrtens, Bunce, Fitzpatrick
Con: Mehrtens (6)
Pen: Mehrtens (2)
Tries: Weir (2), S. Hastings
Con: G. Hastings (3)
Pen: G. Hastings (3)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 28,000
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)


17 June 1995
South Africa  19–15  France
Tries: Kruger
Con: Stransky
Pen: Stransky (4)
Pen: Lacroix (5)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 49,773
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

18 June 1995
England  29–45  New Zealand
Tries: Carling (2), R. Underwood (2),
Con: Andrew (3)
Pen: Andrew
Report Tries: Lomu (4), Kronfeld, Bachop
Con: Mehrtens (3)
Pen: Mehrtens
Drop: Z. Brooke, Mehrtens
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 43,414
Referee: Stephen Hilditch (Ireland)

Third-place play-off[edit]

22 June 1995
France  19–9  England
Tries: Olivier Roumat, Ntamack
Pen: Lacroix (3)
Pen: Andrew (3)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 44,000
Referee: David Bishop (New Zealand)


The final was contested by New Zealand and hosts South Africa. Both nations finished undefeated at the top of their pools. South Africa defeated Western Samoa in the quarter finals, and then France in the semi-finals to reach the final; New Zealand defeated Scotland in the quarter-finals, and England in the semi-finals, a game in which Jonah Lomu famously scored four tries for the All Blacks. The final was played at Ellis Park in Johannesburg and refereed by Ed Morrison of England.

South Africa led 9–6 at half time, and New Zealand levelled the scores at 9–9 with a drop goal in the second half. Though Andrew Mehrtens almost kicked a late drop goal for the All Blacks, the score remained tied at full-time, forcing the game into extra time. Both teams scored penalty goals in the first half of extra time, but Joel Stransky then scored a drop goal to win the final for South Africa.

What happened after the match has become an iconic moment in the history of the sport. Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok rugby jersey and baseball cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to South African captain François Pienaar to the delight of the capacity crowd. The moment is thought by some to be one of the most famous finals of any sport.[2]

24 June 1995
South Africa  15–12 (a.e.t.)  New Zealand
Pen: Stransky (3)
Drop: Stransky (2)
Report Pen: Mehrtens (3)
Drop: Mehrtens
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 59,870
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)


The event was broadcast in Australia by Network Ten and in the United Kingdom by ITV.

Commemorative coins[edit]

The South African Mint issued a one-ounce gold proof "Protea" coin with a total mintage of 406 pieces to commemorate the event being hosted by South Africa.


  1. ^ Pirate Irwin (4 October 2007). "Max Brito at end of tether after 12-year struggle". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "Rugby World Cup history". BBC. 7 October 2003. Retrieved 7 October 2006. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
1991 Rugby
World Cup
Rugby World Cup
South Africa
Succeeded by
1999 Rugby
World Cup