With the World Cup just over a month away I have decided to look at my top 10 World Cup matches since the competition began back in 1987. So let’s take you through the 10 games in order of the year.
- France 34 Australia 28 (1987) – The competition in its first year was where many pundits and experts predicted that Australia would play New Zealand in the final. However, still to this day we know France are unpredictable and it really does depend on what side shows up. They showed up for this game for sure beating their opponents by 6 points.
2 Western Samoa 16 Wales 13 (1991) – This was a massive shock back in 1991 when the Welsh were beaten by Samoa. Samoa were only coming onto the scene around to be fair and the win meant they would be even recognized more as a rugby-playing country. Former Connacht boss Pat Lam was apart of that winning team. Probably one of the greatest wins in World Cup history.
3 Australia 17 Ireland 16 (1991) – Ireland had home advantage for the World Cup in 1991 but they were still underdogs coming into the game, It would end in heartbreak for Ireland. Ireland led the game with just a couple of minutes to go only for David Campese to make a lung-bursting run which was held short, however, Michael Lynagh managed to get on the end of a pass to cross the line. Not a high-scoring game but full of excitement.
4 New Zealand 45 England 29 (1995) – Jonah Lomu had an excellent game here as did many of his teammates. Lomu was the star though with four tries. Zinzan Brooke also had an excellent game in terms of kicking from the tee. South Africa went on to win the final this year though.
5 France 43 New Zealand 31 (1999) – Not many expected a French win here due to the quality of opposition they faced in the All Blacks with the likes of Brooke, Lomu and Mehrtens. The win was even more remarkable for the Les Bleus as they trailed 23-10 in the game. It was to be France’s day at Twickenham Stadium.
6 England 20 Australia 17 (2003)
This wasn’t a classic by all accounts for a World Cup final but it was nail-biting and went right down to the wire. The game actually went to extra time. Then up stepped Johnny Wilkinson with his epic drop goal to give England the Webb Ellis trophy. In fact, they were the first side from the southern hemisphere to win it.
7 Fiji 38 Wales 34 (2007)
This was a cracking game to be fair. Yet again Wales were on the end of a big shock. It was an open contest that was finally settled in the latter stages by a try from Graham Dewes. A massive performance from them which sent the locals back on the Pacific Island wild.
8 Australia 35 Scotland 34 (2015)
I remember this game well and it was superb again it went right down to the wire. It looked as though Scotland were on the way to a semi-final with Argentina when Mark Bennett got a try with under 10 minutes to go. However, a controversial penalty was awarded to Australia which Bernard Foley to give the Aussies the win.