SA Rugby magazine relives unforgettable World Cup moments.
2003 WORLD CUP
BRIAN’S BONE BREAKER
(SAMOA vs SOUTH AFRICA, BRISBANE)
It was Joost van der Westhuizen who gave Joel Stransky the pass that led to his 1995 World Cup-winning drop goal, and the scrumhalf was also responsible for one of the best hospital passes ever. In 2003, the Boks had to beat Samoa to progress to the quarter-finals. The Boks were well ahead when Van der Westhuizen darted away from a maul and passed inside to flyhalf Derick Hougaard. The ball came to Hougaard at head height and he juggled it momentarily before regaining control. However, that extra split second was all Brian Lima needed to make one of the most famous tackles in rugby history. The Samoan centre, nicknamed ‘The Chiropractor’, rushed up on defence and lifted Hougaard off his feet with a bone-crunching hit.
ALL BLACKS CHOKE AGAIN
(AUSTRALIA vs NEW ZEALAND, SYDNEY)
The Wallabies had been mediocre leading up to the semi-finals and weren’t expected to challenge the All Blacks, who had put 50 past them at home in the Tri-Nations. However, once again New Zealand crumbled under the pressure of a big World Cup match. The crucial moment came early on when Mils Muliaina went over in the corner, only for the TMO to rule out the try. From the resulting possession, flyhalf Carlos Spencer threw a poor pass that was intercepted by Wallabies centre Stirling Mortlock, who ran the length of the field to give his side a 10-0 lead. Australia went on to win 22-10, and captain George Gregan cruelly told the shattered All Blacks they’d have to wait at least another four years to have a shot at winning the trophy again.
(ENGLAND vs AUSTRALIA, SYDNEY)
Wallabies centre Elton Flatley had twice levelled the scores in the dying minutes of normal time to take the 2003 World Cup final into extra time. After another 19 minutes, the teams were still level and facing the prospect of a drop-goal shootout. However, England got their hands on the ball and their forwards patiently took play up into the Wallabies’ 22. Eventually, flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson stood back in the pocket and received a pass from scrumhalf Matt Dawson. The Wallabies, who had been desperate not to concede a penalty, came charging out of the blocks with flank Phil Waugh holding his arms above his head. But by then the ball had already sailed off Wilkinson’s boot and bisected the uprights. A minute later, England were world champions.
2007 WORLD CUP
FIJIANS SLAY WELSH DRAGONS
(FIJI vs WALES, NANTES)
With the Wallabies having secured top spot in Pool B, this match was a straight shootout to determine who would join them in the quarter-finals. Three tries in 24 minutes gave Fiji a 25-3 lead, but Wales hit back with four tries – including two against 14 men – to go 29-25 ahead after 50 minutes. Fiji regained the lead with two penalty goals, only to relinquish it when a poor pass saw Wales flank Martyn Williams score a 60m interception try in the 73rd minute. Fiji, though, grabbed their fourth try when prop Graham Dewes barged over with four minutes remaining, and they forced a turnover on their 22, a minute into stoppage time, to secure one of the biggest World Cup upsets.
FRENCH ‘PASS’ ALL BLACKS TEST
(FRANCE vs NEW ZEALAND, CARDIFF)
France came into this quarter-final as huge underdogs and looked set to be exiting the tournament when they trailed 13-0. However, Les Bleus fought back to level the scores at 13-13, before the All Blacks scored another try. With 12 minutes remaining, fullback Damian Traille put flyhalf Frédéric Michalak clean through a hole on halfway with what appeared to be a clear forward pass, but it was missed by referee Wayne Barnes and assistant referee Jonathan Kaplan. Michalak took play deep into the All Blacks’ 22 before offloading in the tackle to inside centre Yannick Jauzion, who scored his side’s second try. The conversion gave France a two-point lead that they never relinquished.
CUETO’S TOUCHLINE TORTURE
(SOUTH AFRICA vs ENGLAND, PARIS)
England were trailing 9-3 in the World Cup final at the Stade de France just a minute into the second half when outside centre Mathew Tait broke through the Bok defence. He was tackled just short of the tryline and England quickly recycled possession, with flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson tapping scrumhalf Andy Gomarsall’s pass to Mark Cueto on the left wing. Cueto dived over in the corner and England celebrated. However, Australian TMO Stuart Dickinson ruled that No 8 Danie Rossouw’s right arm had just nudged Cueto’s left foot on to the touchline and the try was disallowed.
By Simon Borchardt
Photo: Christophe Simon/AFP