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Sports / Rugby

The most iconic Rugby World Cup moments of all time

Posted 10 Jul 2023

Like in Football, the World Cup is held after 4 years. And when it comes to the World Cup for Rugby we can expect to see even more iconic moments. For now, let’s focus on Rugby. We’ve all experienced it… the Rugby World Cup history is filled with all sorts of emotions. Ones we don’t even want to forget, and the ones we’d rather not remember ever happened. We’ve all been there. Don’t worry.

Let’s dive right into the most iconic Rugby World Cup moments of all time:

Jonah Lomu's rampage in 1995

Jonah Lomu’s is a force to be reckoned with and his performance in the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup against England was one of the most captivating performances done by a player in a very long time. 

Lomu took on the entire defense of England by himself it seemed, and he was successful in all his attempts. He broke through multiple tackles in order to score tries, pushing over men who were almost twice his size. He scored a total of 4 tries which was one of the most amazing and dominant displays seen in the tournament that year. It was clear to see on the pitch that day just how much of a respected player he was.

The Brighton Miracle of 2015

When it comes to Rugby, Japan is not the most successful of teams. Especially if they’re up against South Africa who in this tournament were the favourites and had never lost in a game to Japan. 

However, in 2015, the Brave Blossoms pulled of an upset that left the rugby world stunned. In a game later dubbed the “Miracle of Brighton” Japan pulled off a last minute try to win the game, 34-32. 

Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in 2003

In 2003 England and Australia played each other in the Rugby World Cup final and the match itself was iconic. The score was tied at 17-17 and the match had gone into extra time. 

Jonny Wilkinson, a key player for England attempted a drop kick goal – not only was it from a difficult angle, but it only just made it over the post. The moment sealed England’s first ever victory and was redemption for Wilkinson who had missed a crucial kick in the previous RWC. The final score was 20-17.

Nelson Mandela and the '95 final

In South Africa in mid 90s, things were still tense, and the country was still recovering from the apartheid. However, rugby became the symbol of unity for the nation.

After The Springboks victory over New Zealand, the South African president (host country of that year’s tournament), handed over the Rugby World Cup trophy to the South African captain. Another important moment for South African culture.

Australia's extra-time triumph of 1999

In 1999 Australia and France faced-off in the final. The match was a low scoring in the beginning as both were focusing on a defensive style of play. The game led to extra time with the score tied at 12-12. However, Stephen Larkham helped take Australia to victory after a successful 48-meter-long kick – the longest drop goal in RWC history. The game ended 35-12, giving Australia their second World Cup triumph – the perfect comeback. 

South Africa's redemption in 2007

South Africa won their second world cup title in 2007. It seemed they were experiencing a bit of a dry run at the time, however they put on such a dominating display against England, leaving everyone a little in awe of what had happened.

South Africa won the match 15-6 against England leading to John Smit being presented with the Webb Ellis Cup. It was another huge moment of the South Africans. 

Without a doubt these are the most iconic Rugby World Cup moments, and every tournament brings us something different. With the new tournament kicking off soon, we can expect to see even more moments that will be one for the history books. So, until then, let’s cherish these moments, and these memories!

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