1999 Rugby World Cup

The 1999 Rugby World Cup was the fourth Rugby World Cup, the quadrennial international rugby union championship. It was principally hosted by Wales, and was won by Australia. This was the first Rugby World Cup to be held in the sport's professional era.[1]

1999 Rugby World Cup
Cwpan Rygbi'r Byd 1999
Tournament details
Host nation Wales
Dates1 October – 6 November (37 days)
No. of nations20 (65 qualifying)
Final positions
Champions  Australia
Runner-up  France
Third place  South Africa
Tournament statistics
Matches played41
Attendance1,562,427 (38,108 per match)
Top scorer(s) Gonzalo Quesada (102)
Most tries Jonah Lomu (8)

Although the majority of matches were played outside Wales (shared between England, France, Scotland and Ireland) the opening ceremony, the first match and the final were held in Cardiff.

Four automatic qualification places were available for the 1999 tournament; Wales qualified automatically as hosts, and the other three places went to the top three teams from the previous World Cup in 1995: champions South Africa, runners-up New Zealand and third-placed 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, 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]

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