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champion england

2003 Rugby World Cup

The 2003 Rugby World Cup was the fifth rugby union world cup and was won by England. Originally planned to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, all games were shifted to Australia following a contractual dispute over ground signage rights between the New Zealand Rugby Football Union and Rugby World Cup Limited. The pre-event favourites were England and New Zealand, with France, South Africa and defending champions Australia all expected to make strong showings.

Venues

Venues
City Stadium Capacity
Sydney Telstra Stadium 83,500
Melbourne Telstra Dome 53,371
Brisbane Suncorp Stadium 52,500
Perth Subiaco Oval 42,922
Sydney Aussie Stadium 41,159
Adelaide Adelaide Oval 33,597
Townsville Dairy Farmers Stadium 24,843
Canberra Canberra Stadium 24,647
Gosford Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium 20,119
Launceston York Park 19,891
Wollongong WIN Stadium 18,484

Australia won the right to host the World Cup in 2003 without the involvement of New Zealand after a contractual dispute over ground signage rights between the New Zealand Rugby Football Union and Rugby World Cup Limited. The overall stadium capacity was reduced from the 1999 Rugby World Cup in Wales.

The Adelaide Oval underwent a AUS$20 million redevelopment for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, financed entirely by the South Australian Cricket Association, with two new grandstands built adjacent to the Victor Richardson Gates. The Suncorp Stadium was a new AUS$280 million venue designed specifically for rugby, and was opened just before the start of the 2003 World Cup. The Central Coast Stadium was also a newly built venue, and opened in February 2000 at a cost of AUS$30 million.

Aussie Stadium was one of two venues in Sydney that for football during the 2000 Olympic Games. The other venue in Sydney was the Telstra Stadium which was the centrepiece of the 2000 Olympic Games. Formerly known as Stadium Australia, Telstra Stadium was built at a cost of over AUS$600 million and was the biggest stadium used in the 2003 World Cup. The only stadium with a retractable roof used was the Telstra Dome in Melbourne.

Qualification

The following 20 teams, shown by region, qualified for the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Of the 20 teams, eight of those places were automatically filled by the teams that reached the quarter-final stages in 1999, including hosts and world champions Australia and did not have to play any qualification matches. A record 81 nations from five continents were involved in the qualification process designed to fill the remaining 12 spots, which began on 23 September, 2000.

  • Americas
    • (automatic qualifier)
  • Asia
  • Oceania
    • (automatic qualifier and host)
    • (automatic qualifier)

  • Africa
    • (automatic qualifier)
  • Europe
    • (automatic qualifier)
    • (automatic qualifier)
    • (first-time qualifier)
    • (automatic qualifier)
    • (automatic qualifier)

Squads

Format

The teams were divided into four pools of five nations, with the top two in each pool moving on to the knock-out quarter-final stage. For the first time, a bonus point system was implemented in pool play. This system is identical to that long used in Southern Hemisphere tournaments, and was soon adopted in most European competitions (though not in the Six Nations):

  • 4 points for a win
  • 2 points for a draw
  • 0 points for a loss (before possible bonus points)
  • 1 bonus point for scoring four or more tries, regardless of the final score
  • 1 bonus point for a loss by 7 points or fewer

Summary

First round

The ARU's main promotion for the event was "Show Your True Colours". The Australian media criticised the competition early in the tournament as the smaller nations were crushed by the rugby superpowers by 60 points or more. However, some of these smaller, third tier nations, such as Japan, acquitted themselves well in their opening matches. The South Pacific island countries of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa were reported as being handicapped as several of their key players who play abroad being warned by their clubs that their contracts would not be renewed if they played in the competition.

In the event, the group stage of the competition played out largely as expected, with some tension as to whether some of the "developing" nations would overtake some of the weaker major countries for the second quarter-final qualification place in each pool — in pool A, Argentina lost to Ireland by only one point, which would otherwise have carried them into the quarter-finals in Ireland's place; similarly in pool B Fiji lost to Scotland by only two points, while Italy put up a good performance in pool D. In pool C, Samoa gave England a fright with an adventurous approach that allowed them to take an early lead. However, England's superior fitness saw them through. The big clashes ran mainly to form. A disappointing South Africa limped through the pool, eventually capitulating to England to relegate them to a difficult quarter final against New Zealand. Australia just beat Ireland to top their group, whilst Wales pushed the All Blacks to the wire, after adopting an outgoing style of play with a fringe selection. France beat Scotland to round out the quarter-finals.

Knock-out stage

The knock-out quarter-final stage produced the widely predicted set of semi-finalists, although England again made heavy weather of defeating a resurgent Wales. England were widely rated the world's best team, but they struggled against a Welsh side full of belief after their game against New Zealand. France destroyed an Irish side who had gone into the match hopeful of a win, scoring 31 early points to put the game out of reach. In the other quarter-finals, a disappointing South Africa fell to New Zealand and Australia defeated the Scots.

The first semi-final produced an upset, when Australia defeated the hugely fancied New Zealand to become the first defending champions to reach the following championship final. The match was decided by a Stirling Mortlock interception try, after a loose pass from highly-rated All Blacks fly-half, Carlos Spencer. Unfortunately, it was probably the last match for Australian star Ben Darwin, who injured his neck in a scrum. Although Darwin never played rugby again the actions of Kees Meeuws - who immediately stopped exerting pressure when he heard the call "neck neck neck" - may well have saved his opponent's life and certainly prevented further injury. The second semi-final saw France face England. The boot of Jonny Wilkinson was the difference between the two sides, with England coming out victors.

Final

The final between Australia and England was played at Sydney's Telstra Stadium in front of a crowd of 82,957. Australia opened the scoring after they decided to run a penalty instead of kicking for touch. Lote Tuquiri beat England's right wing, Jason Robinson, to a high cross-field kick and went over for the first try, but Elton Flatley was not able to add the conversion.

England dominated the rest of the half, opening up a 9-5 lead after Australian indiscipline gave away several penalties, but were unable to capitalise on their dominance. They nearly crossed the line on one occasion, when the Australian defence was stretched after a mistake and Ben Kay was given a potential try-scoring pass. He fumbled the ball over the line. Television replays showed Kay's reaction in four-letter words. Towards the end of the first half, England stretched their lead further. Lawrence Dallaglio made a break and popped the ball inside to Jonny Wilkinson, who drew the defence before putting Robinson away in the corner for a try. The conversion was missed, but England went in at half time leading by 14-5.

In the second half Australia tightened their discipline, and solid play forced mistakes from England. The game swung from end to end, with both sides having try-scoring opportunities, but neither able to take them. Australia managed to get points on the board and Elton Flatley scored two penalties to make the score 14-11 to England. In the 79th minute, Australia were putting pressure on England in their half. England had a scrum and just needed to keep hold of the ball until time elapsed. Several scrums were reset after the front rows failed to engage properly and finally, the referee, André Watson, gave a controversial penalty to Australia, despite England's scrum dominating the rest of the game. Flatley converted it with the last kick of normal time to tie the score 14-14 and take it to 20 minutes' extra time.

England opened the scoring in extra time with another Wilkinson penalty, but with two and a half minutes of extra time remaining Australia were awarded another penalty, which Flatley kicked successfully. With 21 seconds left before sudden death, Wilkinson scored a drop goal to win the match and with it the world championship.

Post-final

Three days after the final, the new World Champion England team landed at Heathrow Airport in the early hours of the morning, emerging from their plane to a huge reception, despite the time. On December 8 a national day of celebration took place in the form of a massive victory parade in the streets of London.

Results

Pool stage

Qualified for the quarterfinals
Eliminated, automatic qualification for RWC 2007
Eliminated
All times French time (UTC+2)

Group A

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against BP Points
4 0 0 273 32 2 18
3 0 1 141 56 3 15
2 0 2 140 57 3 11
1 0 3 65 192 1 5
0 0 4 28 310 0 0









Group B

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against BP Points
4 0 0 204 70 4 20
3 0 1 102 97 2 14
2 0 2 98 114 2 10
1 0 3 86 125 2 6
0 0 4 79 163 0 0









Group C

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against BP Points
4 0 0 255 47 3 19
3 0 1 184 60 3 15
2 0 2 138 117 2 10
1 0 3 56 255 0 4
0 0 4 46 200 0 0









Group D

Team Won Drawn Lost For123 Against BP Points
4 0 0 282 57 4 20
3 0 1 132 98 2 14
2 0 2 77 123 0 8
1 0 3 54 135 1 5
0 0 4 46 178 1 1









Knockout stage

Quarter-finals




Semi-finals


Third-place play-off

Final

Statistics

Team

Team statistics
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points Difference Tries Scored Conversions Penalties Drop Goals Yellow Cards Red Cards

7 7 0 0 239 36 27 23 8 1 0

7 6 0 1 267 43 32 21 1 1 0

7 6 0 1 260 52 40 6 1 1 0

7 5 0 2 112 29 22 22 4 5 0

5 3 0 2 104 27 17 7 1 1 0

5 3 0 2 63 20 16 9 1 1 0

5 3 0 2 23 17 14 11 1 2 0

5 3 0 2 -12 12 8 13 1 1 0

4 2 0 2 83 18 13 6 2 1 0

4 2 0 2 -16 10 6 12 0 3 0

4 2 0 2 21 18 12 8 0 1 0

4 2 0 2 -46 5 5 14 0 2 0

4 1 0 3 -39 9 7 9 0 1 0

4 1 0 3 -81 4 2 9 1 1 0

4 1 0 3 -127 8 5 5 0 1 0

4 1 0 3 -199 6 4 6 0 0 0

4 0 0 4 -84 6 5 12 1 0 0

4 0 0 4 -132 7 4 1 0 4 0

4 0 0 4 -154 1 1 12 1 2 0

4 0 0 4 -282 4 4 0 0 1 0

Top point scorers

Top ten point scorers
Player Team Position Played Tries Scored Conversions Penalties Drop Goals Total Points Yellow Cards Red Cards
Jonny Wilkinson align="left" Fly-half 6 0 10 23 8 113 0 0
Frédéric Michalak align="left" Fly-half 6 2 17 18 1 101 0 0
Elton Flatley align="left" Centre 6 1 16 21 0 100 0 0
Leon MacDonald align="left" Centre 7 4 20 5 0 75 0 0
Chris Paterson align="left" Fly-half 5 3 7 13 1 71 0 0
Mat Rogers align="left" Full-back 7 5 16 0 0 57 1 0
Mike Hercus align="left" Fly-half 4 2 7 9 0 51 0 0
Rima Wakarua align="left" Fly-half 3 0 4 14 0 50 0 0
Earl Va'a align="left" Fly-half 4 1 10 8 0 49 0 0
Daniel Carter align="left" Centre 5 2 19 0 0 48 0 0

Top try scorers

Top ten try scorers
Player Team Position Played Tries Conversions Penalties Drop Goals Total Points Yellow Cards Red Cards
Doug Howlett align="left" Wing 7 7 0 0 0 35 0 0
Mils Muliaina align="left" Full-back 7 7 0 0 0 35 0 0
Joe Rokocoko align="left" Wing 5 6 0 0 0 30 0 0
Will Greenwood align="left" Centre 6 5 0 0 0 25 0 0
Chris Latham align="left" Full-back 1 5 0 0 0 25 0 0
Josh Lewsey align="left" Full-back 5 5 0 0 0 25 0 0
Mat Rogers align="left" Full-back 7 5 16 0 0 57 1 0
Lote Tuqiri align="left" Wing 7 5 0 0 0 25 0 0
Pablo Bouza align="left" No. 8 2 4 0 0 0 20 0 0
Christophe Dominici align="left" Wing 5 4 0 0 0 20 1 0
Caleb Ralph align="left" Wing

2 4 0 0 0 20 0 0

Notes and references

External links

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