Since its inception in 1987, the Rugby World Cup has been a showcase to highlight some of the most talented ruggers ever to play the game. While the tournament has a relatively short history, it is still rich is major upsets, tries, dramatic late clinchers, and eye-opening individual performances. In this article, we will look at some of these iconic moments as we explore the greatest moments in Rugby World Cup history.
The man-mountain known as Jonah Lomu exploded on the scene in the 1995 Rugby World Cup with an incredible performance against England in the semi-final match. Lomu at six feet and 5 inches weighing 19 stone pulverised the English defense and ran through them as if they weren’t even there. Mike Catt witness this firsthand as he was flattened in the process of Lomu scoring the first of his four tries in the match.
In the 1999 Rugby World Cup semi-final match, the tournament favorites New Zealand squared up against France. Led by Jonah Lomu, everyone was expecting a routine victory for the All Blacks, and things had started to go according to plan as New Zealand jumped to an early 24-10 lead. However, France had a different ending in mind. Les Bleus stormed back scoring 33 points on the favorites without a single reply from the All Blacks. Even with Jeff Wilson scoring a consolation try, it wasn’t enough to stop perhaps one of the greatest upsets in Rugby World Cup history as France won 43-31.
In the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, Jonny Wilkinson won the game with a late kick which, ironically, he took on his weaker right foot. With only twenty seconds left on the clock, it was enough for England to secure their first ever Rugby World Cup victory with a narrow score of 20-17. This was one of the most unforgettable moments for English rugby fans, although it is one that Wallabies would like to forget.
Another upset from the tournament came in the 1991 tournament when the massive underdogs, Western Samoa shocked not only Wales but the rest of the world of rugby with their victory in the group stages. The Western Samoans came out with a narrow victory of 16-13. Wales, who were playing at home were expected to come out with an easy victory. However, the Samoans had different plans in mind.