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Rugby; a Thug’s Game Played by Gentlemen? – Part III – Rugby World Cups Continued

Rugby; a Thug’s Game Played by Gentlemen? – Part III – Rugby World Cups Continued

In the 3rd part of our series on rugby union, we continue looking at the history of Rugby World Cups (RWCs).

The 2003 RWC was supposed to be held in Australia and New Zealand. However, following a contractual dispute over ground signage rights between the New Zealand Rugby Union and Rugby World Cup Limited, all the games were moved solely to Australia.

The pre-tournament favourites were England, who were considered at the time to have the best squad around. The tournament began with host nation Australia beating Argentina 24–8 in Sydney. Australia went on to beat New Zealand 22–10 in the semi-final, to play England in the final.

In the final, a try from Jason Robinson was added to by Jonny Wilkinson’s 4 penalties and a dramatic drop-goal in extra time to win the game 20–17 for England, who became the first northern hemisphere team to win the RWC.

The 2007 RWC was mainly hosted by France. The competition consisted of 48 matches over 44 days, as 42 matches were played in 10 cities throughout France, as well as 4 in Wales, and 2 in Scotland.

In the final, the game was completely try-less and was decided by kicking alone. 4 penalties by Percy Montgomery and 1 from Francois Steyn were enough for South Africa as England could only manage 2 from the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.

Each team had one major try-scoring opportunity; South Africa’s came late in the first half, while England’s came early in the second. England’s Mark Cueto had a try disallowed in the 42nd minute after he was ruled to have put a foot in touch before grounding the ball. Television match official Stuart Dickinson stood by his decision, although he encountered a language barrier with the French broadcaster, which prevented his access to frame-by-frame pictures.

To be continued..

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