1999 Rugby World Cup

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1999 Rugby World Cup
Tournament details
Host nation  Wales
Dates 1 October 1999 – 6 November 1999
No. of nations 20 (65 qualifying)
Final positions
Champions Gold medal blank.svg  Australia
Runner-up Silver medal blank.svg  France
Third-place Bronze medal blank.svg  South Africa
Tournament statistics
Matches played 41
Attendance 1,750,000 (42,683 per match)
Top scorer(s) Argentina Gonzalo Quesada (102)
Most tries New Zealand Jonah Lomu (8)

The 1999 Rugby World Cup was the fourth Rugby World Cup and was won by Australia. This was the first Rugby World Cup to be held in rugby union's professional era.[1] The principal host nation was Wales, although the majority of matches were played outside the country, shared between England, France, Scotland and Ireland. As the opening ceremony, first match and the Final would take place in Cardiff, Wales, the Welsh team were awarded the automatic qualification berth afforded the hosts. Only four automatic qualification places were available for the 1999 tournament; the other three went to the top three teams from the previous World Cup in 1995; champions (South Africa), runners-up (New Zealand), and third-place play-off winners (France). Qualification for the final 16 places took place between 63 other nations.

The tournament was expanded to 20 teams (from 16), divided into five pools of four teams, a scenario that necessitated a quarter-final play-off round involving the five runners-up and best third-placed team to decide who would join the pool winners in the last eight. The 1999 tournament saw the introduction of a repechage, effectively a second chance for teams that had finished runners-up in each qualifying zone. Uruguay and Tonga were the first nations to profit from the repechage, and took their places alongside fellow qualifiers Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa, Romania, Canada, Namibia, Japan, Spain and the United States.

The tournament began with the opening ceremony in the newly built Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, with Wales beating Argentina 23–18, and Colin Charvis scoring the first try of the tournament. Australia won the tournament, becoming the first nation to do so twice and also to date the only team ever to win after having to qualify for the tournament, with a 35–12 triumph over France, who were unable to repeat their semi-final victory over pre-tournament favourites New Zealand.[2][3]

The overall attendance for the tournament was 1.75 million.[4]


The following 20 teams, shown by region, qualified for the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Of the 20 teams, only four of those places were automatically allocated and did not have to play any qualification matches. These went to the champions, runners-up and the third-placed nations at the 1995 and the tournament host, Wales. A record 65 nations from five continents were therefore involved in the qualification process designed to fill the remaining 16 spots.

Africa Americas Europe Oceania/Asia


City Stadium Capacity
Paris Stade de France 80,000
London Twickenham Stadium 75,000
Cardiff Millennium Stadium 74,500
Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium 67,500
Glasgow Hampden Park 52,500
Dublin Lansdowne Road 49,250
Lens Stade Félix Bollaert 41,800
Bordeaux Parc Lescure 38,327
Toulouse Stadium Municipal 37,000
Huddersfield McAlpine Stadium 24,500
Bristol Ashton Gate 21,500
Béziers Stade de la Méditerranée 18,000
Leicester Welford Road Stadium 16,500
Wrexham Racecourse Ground 15,500
Limerick Thomond Park 13,500
Belfast Ravenhill 12,500
Llanelli Stradey Park 10,800
Galashiels Netherdale 6,000

Wales won the right to host the World Cup in 1999. The centrepiece venue for the tournament was the Millennium Stadium, built on the site of the old National Stadium at Cardiff Arms Park at a cost of £126 million from Lottery money and private investment. Other venues in Wales were the Racecourse Ground and Stradey Park. An agreement was reached so that the other unions in the Five Nations Championship (England, France, Ireland and Scotland) also hosted matches.

Venues in England included Twickenham and Welford Road, rugby union venues, as well as Ashton Gate in Bristol and the McAlpine Stadium in Huddersfield, which normally host football. Scottish venues included Murrayfield Stadium, the home of the Scottish Rugby Union, Hampden Park, the home of the Scottish Football Association and the smallest venue in the 1999 tournament, Netherdale, in Galashiels, in the Scottish Borders. Venues in Ireland included Lansdowne Road (since replaced on-site by the Aviva Stadium), the traditional home of the Irish Rugby Football Union, Ravenhill (now known as Kingspan Stadium) and Thomond Park. France used five venues, the most of any nation, including the French national stadium, Stade de France, which hosted the final of both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Pools and format[edit]

Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D Pool E

 South Africa

 New Zealand



 United States

With the expansion of the Rugby World Cup from 16 to 20 teams an unusual and complex format was used with the teams split into five pools of four teams with each team playing each other in their pool once.

Points system

The points system that was used in the pool stage was unchanged from both 1991 and 1995:

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

The five pool winners qualified automatically to the quarter-finals. The five pool runners-up and the best third place side qualified for the Quarter-final Play-offs.

Knock-out stage

The five pool runners-up and the best third-placed team from the pool stage (which was Argentina) contested the quarter-final play-offs in three one-off matches that decided the remaining three places in the quarter-finals, with the losers being eliminated. The unusual format meant that two pool winners in the quarter-finals would have to play each other. From the quarter-final stage it became a simple knockout tournament. The semi-final losers played off for third place. The draw and format for the knock-out stage was set as follows.

Quarter-final play-offs draw

  • Match H: Pool B runner-up v Pool C runner-up
  • Match G: Pool A runner-up v Pool D runner-up
  • Match F: Pool E runner-up v Best third-placed team

Quarter-finals draw

  • Match M: Pool D winners v Pool E winners
  • Match J: Pool A winners v Play-off H winners
  • Match L: Pool C winners v Play-off F winners
  • Match K: Pool B winners v Play-off G winners

Semi-finals draw

  • Match J winners v Match M winners
  • Match L winners v Match K winners

A total of 41 matches (30 pool stage and 11 knock-out) were played throughout the tournament over 35 days from 1 October 1999 to 6 November 1999.


Pool stage[edit]

The tournament began on 1 October 1999 in the newly built Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, with Wales beating Argentina in a hard fought game 23–18 to get their campaign off to a positive start. The Pool stage of the tournament played out as was widely expected with the Tri Nations teams of New Zealand (who inflected a massive 101–3 win against Italy at the McAlpine Stadium in Huddersfield), South Africa and Australia all winning their pools easily without losing a single game. For the then Five Nations Championship teams who all played their pool matches in their own countries it was a case of mixed fortunes with France winning their pool without losing a game. Host Wales also won their pool, though they suffered 31–38 defeat at the hands of Samoa in front of a home crowd at the Millennium Stadium. However, as expected England, Ireland and Scotland all finished second in their pools and were forced to try to qualify for the quarter-finals via the play-offs alongside fellow runners-up Samoa and Fiji, and Argentina as the best third placed side from all five pools.

Qualified for quarter-finals
Qualified for quarter-final play-offs

Pool A[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 South Africa 3 3 0 0 132 35 9
 Scotland 3 2 0 1 120 58 7
 Uruguay 3 1 0 2 42 97 5
 Spain 3 0 0 3 18 122 3
2 October 1999
15:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
Spain  15–27  Uruguay
Pen: Kovalenco (5) 7', 40', 48', 50', 68'
Report Try: Ormaechea 23' c
Penalty try 64' c
Cardoso 77' m
Menchaca 80' m
Con: Aguirre
Pen: Aguirre 15'
Netherdale, Galashiels
Attendance: 3,761
Referee: Chris White (England)

3 October 1999
17:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
Scotland  29–46  South Africa
Try: M. Leslie
Con: Logan (2)
Pen: Logan (4)
Drop: Townsend
Try: Le Roux
Van der Westhuizen
A. Venter
B. Venter
Con: De Beer (5)
Pen: De Beer (2)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Colin Hawke (New Zealand)

8 October 1999
16:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
Scotland  43–12  Uruguay
Try: Russell
M. Leslie
Con: Logan (5)
Pen: Logan
Pen: Aguirre (3)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Attendance: 9,463
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

10 October 1999
17:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
South Africa  47–3  Spain
Try: Vos (2)
Penalty try
Con: De Beer (6)
Pen: Velazco Querol
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Attendance: 4,769
Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand)

15 October 1999
17:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
South Africa  39–3  Uruguay
Try: Van den Berg (2)
Van der Westhuizen
Con: De Beer (4)
Pen: De Beer (2)
Pen: Aguirre
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Attendance: 3,500
Referee: Peter Marshall (Australia)

16 October 1999
15:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
Scotland  48–0  Spain
Try: Mather (2)
C. Murray
Penalty try
Con: Hodge (5)
Pen: Hodge
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Attendance: 17,593
Referee: Clayton Thomas (Wales)

Pool B[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 New Zealand 3 3 0 0 176 28 9
 England 3 2 0 1 184 47 7
 Tonga 3 1 0 2 47 171 5
 Italy 3 0 0 3 35 196 3
2 October 1999
17:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
England  67–7  Italy
Try: Wilkinson
De Glanville
Con: Wilkinson (6)
Pen: Wilkinson (5)
Try: Dominguez
Con: Dominguez
Twickenham, London
Attendance: 73,470
Referee: Andre Watson (South Africa)

3 October 1999
15:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
New Zealand  45–9  Tonga
Try: Lomu (2)
Con: Mehrtens (4)
Pen: Mehrtens (4)
Pen: Taumalolo (3)
Ashton Gate, Bristol
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

9 October 1999
16:30 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
England  16–30  New Zealand
Try: De Glanville
Con: Wilkinson
Pen: Wilkinson (3)
Try: Kelleher
Con: Mehrtens (3)
Pen: Mehrtens (3)
Twickenham, London
Attendance: 72,000
Referee: Peter Marshall (Australia)

10 October 1999
19:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
Italy  25–28  Tonga
Try: Moscardi
Con: Dominguez
Pen: Dominguez (6)
Try: Taufahema
Con: Tuipulotu (2)
Pen: Tuipulotu (2)
Drop: Tuipulotu

14 October 1999
13:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
New Zealand  101–3  Italy
Try: Wilson (3)
Osborne (2)
Lomu (2)
Con: Brown (11)
Pen: Brown (3)
Pen: Dominguez
McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield
Attendance: 24,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

15 October 1999
13:00 WEST/GMT+01 (UTC+01)
England  101–10  Tonga
Try: Guscott (2)
Greening (2)
Luger (2)
Healey (2)
Greenwood (2)
Con: Grayson (12)
Pen: Grayson (4)
Try: Tiueti
Con: Tuipulotu
Pen: Tuipulotu
Twickenham, London
Attendance: 72,485
Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

Pool C[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 France 3 3 0 0 108 52 9
 Fiji 3 2 0 1 124 68 7
 Canada 3 1 0 2 114 82 5
 Namibia 3 0 0 3 42 186 3

2 October 1999
14:00 CEST/GMT+2 (UTC+02)
France  33–20  Canada
Try: Ntamack
Con: Dourthe (2)
Pen: Dourthe (3)
Try: Williams (2)
Con: Ross
Pen: Ross

8 October 1999
21:00 CEST/GMT+2 (UTC+02)
France  47–13  Namibia
Try: Mola (3)
Con: Dourthe (4)
Pen: Dourthe (3)
Try: Samuelson
Con: Van Dyk
Pen: Van Dyk (2)

9 October 1999
13:30 CEST/GMT+2 (UTC+02)
Fiji  38–22  Canada
Try: Satala (2)
Con: Little (3)
Pen: Little (3)
Drop: Little
Try: James
Con: Rees
Pen: Rees (4)
Drop: Rees

14 October 1999
20:30 CEST/GMT+2 (UTC+02)
Canada  72–11  Namibia
Try: Stanley (2)
Snow (2)
Nichols (2)
Con: Rees (9)
Pen: Rees (3)
Try: Hough
Pen: Van Dyk (2)

16 October 1999
14:00 CEST/GMT+2 (UTC+02)
France  28–19  Fiji
Try: Juillet
Penalty try
Con: Dourthe (2)
Pen: Dourthe (2)
Try: Uluinayau
Con: Little
Pen: Little (4)

Pool D[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 Wales 3 2 0 1 118 71 7
 Samoa 3 2 0 1 97 72 7
 Argentina 3 2 0 1 83 51 7
 Japan 3 0 0 3 36 140 3
1 October 1999
15:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Wales  23–18  Argentina
Try: Charvis
Con: Jenkins (2)
Pen: Jenkins (3)
Pen: Quesada (6)

3 October 1999
13:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Samoa  43–9  Japan
Try: Lima (2)
So'oialo (2)
Con: Leaegailesolo (3)
Pen: Leaegailesolo (4)
Pen: Hirose (3)

10 October 1999
13:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Argentina  32–16  Samoa
Try: Allub
Pen: Quesada (8)
Drop: Quesada
Try: Paramore
Con: Leaegailesolo
Pen: Leaegailesolo (3)

14 October 1999
15:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Wales  31–38  Samoa
Try: Thomas
Penalty try (2)
Con: Jenkins (2)
Pen: Jenkins (4)
Try: Bachop (2)
Con: Leaegailesolo (5)
Pen: Leaegailesolo

16 October 1999
19:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Argentina  33–12  Japan
Try: Albanese
Con: Contepomi
Pen: Quesada (7)
Pen: Hirose (4)

Pool E[edit]

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 Australia 3 3 0 0 135 31 9
 Ireland 3 2 0 1 100 45 7
 Romania 3 1 0 2 50 126 5
 United States 3 0 0 3 52 135 3
2 October 1999
19:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Ireland  53–8  United States
Try: Wood (4)
Elwood (2)
Con: Humphreys (5)
Pen: Humphreys
Report Try: Dalzell
Pen: Dalzell
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 30,000
Referee: Joël Dume (France)

3 October 1999
19:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Australia  57–9  Romania
Try: Kefu (3)
Roff (2)
Con: Burke (5)
Report Pen: Mitu (3)
Ravenhill, Belfast
Attendance: 12,500
Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand)

9 October 1999
19:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
United States  25–27  Romania
Try: Shuman
Con: Dalzell (2)
Pen: Dalzell (2)
Report Try: Petrache (2)
Solomie (2)
Con: Mitu (2)
Pen: Mitu
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

10 October 1999
15:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Ireland  3–23  Australia
Pen: Humphreys
Report Try: Tune
Con: Burke (2)
Pen: Burke (2)

14 October 1999
17:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Australia  55–19  United States
Try: Staniforth (2)
Con: Burke (5)
Pen: Burke
Report Try: Grobler
Con: Dalzell
Pen: Dalzell (4)
Thomond Park, Limerick
Attendance: 13,000
Referee: Andre Watson (South Africa)

15 October 1999
19:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Ireland  44–14  Romania
Try: O'Shea (2)
Con: Elwood (5)
Pen: Elwood (2)
Drop: O'Driscoll
Report Try: Sauan
Pen: Mitu (3)
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 33,000
Referee: Brian Campsall (England)

Ranking of third-placed teams[edit]

Qualified for quarter-final play-offs
Team W D L PF PA Pts
 Argentina 2 0 1 83 51 7
 Canada 1 0 2 114 82 5
 Uruguay 1 0 2 42 97 5
 Romania 1 0 2 50 126 5
 Tonga 1 0 2 47 171 5

Play-off stage[edit]

The quarter-final play-offs were three one-off knock-out matches between the runners-up of each pool and the best third-placed side from all five pools to decide the remaining three places in the quarter-finals. The matches were played in mid-week between the completion of the pool stage and the start of the quarter-finals. The matches produced fairly easy wins for England, beating Fiji 45–24, and also for Scotland, beating Samoa 35–20. However, the final match produced the shock of the round where Argentina upset Ireland 28–24 in Lens.

Quarter-final play-offs[edit]

20 October 1999
13:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
England  45–24  Fiji
Try: Luger
Con: Dawson
Pen: Wilkinson (7)
Report Try: Satala
Con: Little (3)
Pen: Serevi
Twickenham, London
Attendance: 55,000
Referee: Clayton Thomas (Wales)

20 October 1999
15:30 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Scotland  35–20  Samoa
Try: C. Murray
M. Leslie
Penalty try
Con: Logan
Pen: Logan (5)
Drop: Townsend
Report Try: Lima
Con: Leaegailesolo (2)
Pen: Leaegailesolo (2)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: David McHugh (Ireland)

20 October 1999
20:30 CEST/GMT+2 (UTC+02)
Argentina  28–24  Ireland
Try: Albanese
Con: Quesada
Pen: Quesada (7)
Report Pen: Humphreys (7)
Drop: Humphreys
Stade Félix Bollaert, Lens
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

Knock-out stage[edit]

The winners from the quarter-final play-offs joined the pool winners (who unlike their counterparts had enjoyed a week long rest) in the quarter-finals, with England, hosts Wales and Scotland all being knocked out, and with France (who beat Argentina in their quarter-final) being the only team left from the Northern Hemisphere. The Semi-finals, which were both played at Twickenham, produced two of the closest matches of the tournament, with Australia beating South Africa 27–21 in extra-time after normal time ended with the scores locked at 21–21. The second semi-final between favourites New Zealand and underdogs France was an all-time classic, as France overturned a 10–24 half time deficit to win 43–31 and reach their second World Cup final. France and Australia met at the Millennium Stadium on 6 November 1999 with Australia overcoming France 35–12 to become the first team to win the Webb Ellis Cup twice. The Cup was presented by HM Queen Elizabeth II to Australian captain John Eales.[2][3]

The overall attendance for the tournament was 1.75 million[5]

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
24 October – Stade de France, Paris        
  South Africa  44
30 October – Twickenham, London
  England  21  
  South Africa  21
23 October – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
      Australia (a.e.t.)  27  
  Australia  24
6 November – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
  Wales  9  
  Australia  35
24 October – Murrayfield, Edinburgh    
    France  12
  New Zealand  30
31 October – Twickenham, London
  Scotland  18  
  New Zealand  31 Third place
24 October – Lansdowne Road, Dublin
      France  43   4 November– Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
  France  47
  South Africa  22
  Argentina  26  
  New Zealand  18


23 October 1999
15:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Wales  9–24  Australia
Pen: Jenkins (3)
Report Try: Gregan (2)
Con: Burke (3)
Pen: Burke
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 72,000
Referee: Colin Hawke (New Zealand)

24 October 1999
14:00 CEST/GMT+2 (UTC+02)
South Africa  44–21  England
Try: Van der Westhuizen
P. Rossouw
Con: De Beer (2)
Pen: De Beer (5)
Drop: De Beer (5)
Report Pen: Grayson (6)
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Attendance: 75,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

24 October 1999
18:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Scotland  18–30  New Zealand
Try: C. Murray
Con: Logan
Pen: Logan
Drop: Townsend
Report Try: Umaga (2)
Con: Mehrtens (2)
Pen: Mehrtens (2)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Attendance: 59,750
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

24 October 1999
15:30 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Argentina  26–47  France
Try: Pichot
Con: Quesada (2)
Pen: Quesada (3)
Report Try: Garbajosa (2)
Bernat-Salles (2)
Con: Lamaison (5)
Pen: Lamaison (4)
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)


30 October 1999
15:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
 Australia 27–21
 South Africa
Pen: Burke (8)
Drop: Larkham
Report Pen: De Beer (6)
Drop: De Beer
Twickenham, London
Attendance: 72,000
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

31 October 1999
15:00 WET/GMT (UTC+00)
 France 43–31  New Zealand
Try: Lamaison
Con: Lamaison (4)
Pen: Lamaison (3)
Drop: Lamaison (2)
Report Try: Lomu (2)
Con: Mehrtens (2)
Pen: Mehrtens (4)
Twickenham, London
Attendance: 70,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

Third-place play-off[edit]

4 November 1999
20:00 WET/GMT (UTC+00)
New Zealand  18–22  South Africa
Pen: Mehrtens (6)
Report Try: Paulse
Con: Honiball
Pen: Honiball (3)
Drop: Montgomery (2)
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 60,000
Referee: Peter Marshall (Australia)


6 November 1999
15:00 WET/GMT (UTC+00)
Australia  35–12  France
Try: Tune
Con: Burke (2)
Pen: Burke (7)
Report Pen: Lamaison (4)
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 72,500
Referee: André Watson (South Africa)


British television rights holders ITV acted as the host broadcaster for the tournament,[6] with coverage shown in 209 countries, to an audience of 3.1 billion viewers.[7] In Australia, the event was broadcast by Seven Network.


  1. ^ The International Rugby Board did not open up the sport to professionals until August 1995, after the previous World Cup had been completed.
  2. ^ a b "1999: France 43–31 N Zealand – BBC Sport". BBC News. 24 September 2003. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "1999: Aussies rule world again – BBC". BBC News. 24 September 2003. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "New Zealand Wins 2011 Rugby World Cup – Background and History". Goaustralia.about.com. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Rugby World Cup Background and History". Goaustralia.about.com. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Cain, Nick; Growden, Greg (2011). "17". Rugby Union for Dummies 3rd Edition. John Wiley & Sons. p. 261. ISBN 9781119991823. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
1995 Rugby
World Cup
Rugby World Cup
Succeeded by
2003 Rugby
World Cup