2003 Rugby World Cup Final

The 2003 Rugby World Cup Final was the final match of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the fifth edition of the Rugby World Cup competition organised by the International Rugby Board (IRB) for national rugby union teams. The match was played at Stadium Australia in Sydney on 22 November 2003, and was contested by Australia (the tournament hosts) and England. The 20-team competition consisted of a group stage, from which eight squads qualified for the knockout stage. En route to the final, Australia finished first in Pool A with four wins and no losses or draws before defeating Scotland in the quarter-final and New Zealand in the semi-final. England finished on top of Pool C and, like Australia, went undefeated with four victories and no draws before beating Wales in the quarter-final and France in the semi-final.

2003 Rugby World Cup Final
Stadium Australia, the match venue
Event2003 Rugby World Cup
After extra time
Date22 November 2003
VenueStadium Australia, Sydney
Man of the MatchJonny Wilkinson (England)
RefereeAndré Watson (South Africa)
Attendance82,957
1999
2007

The final was played in front of a Rugby World Cup record crowd of 82,957, with 22 to 30 million television viewers, and was refereed by André Watson of South Africa. Australia scored first when Lote Tuqiri scored a try in the sixth minute, but Elton Flatley failed to score the resulting conversion. England's first points were through a penalty goal scored by Jonny Wilkinson at 11 minutes; Wilkinson scored a second penalty nine minutes later to put his side ahead of Australia. A third Wilkinson penalty goal after 28 minutes and a 38th-minute try by Jason Robinson (which was unable to be converted by Wilkinson) gave England a 14–5 lead at half-time. The second half saw Flatley score three penalty goals in succession; regular time ended with both teams tied 14–14, and the match went into extra time. Wilkinson scored a fourth penalty goal to put England back ahead of Australia in the second minute of extra time before Flatley equalised again with his fourth penalty goal with two minutes of extra time to play. With 28 seconds remaining, Wilkinson scored a drop goal with his right foot to secure a 20–17 victory for England.

England's win was their first Rugby World Cup title. They were the first Northern Hemisphere team to win the tournament, ending 16 years of dominance by Southern Hemisphere teams. Wilkinson was named man of the match, and the England playing and senior coaching team were appointed to the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year Honours. England failed to defend their trophy at the following 2007 Rugby World Cup (hosted by France), losing 15–6 to South Africa in the final. Australia reached the tournament's quarter-final stage, where they were defeated by England.


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