Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Rugby World Cup – A brief history of time

For those of you not paying attention, there happens to be a major global rugby tournament kicking off in New Zealand in less than a couple of months.

A great opportunity, I thought, to take the uninitiated on a whirlwind trip through RWC history, having been fortunate (old) enough to have witnessed every Rugby World Cup tournament since its inception in 1987:

1987

Hosts: New Zealand, with matches also staged in Australia

Summary: Professionally prepared All Blacks stroll to inaugural World Cup success while the rest of the rugby world appears to treat it as an end of season jolly, particularly the English.

Winners: New Zealand
Runners up: France
Poster boy: Michael Jones/ John Kirwan.


1991

Hosts: England, with matches also staged in France, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Summary: England grind their way to the final only to be outsmarted by the canny Aussies. Wales beaten in the group stage by Western Samoa, prompting the comment that thank heavens they weren’t playing the whole of Samoa.

Winners: Australia
Runners up: England

Poster boy: David Campese


1995

Hosts: South Africa

Summary: Apartheid-free South Africa take their World Cup bow. New Zealand dominate the tournament but are undone in the final by fierce Springbok defence and the alleged intervention of Suzie the waitress.

Winners: South Africa
Runners up: New Zealand

Poster boy: Jonah Lomu


1999

Hosts: Wales with matches also staged in France, England, Ireland and Scotland

Summary: Dull tournament brought to life by two stunning semi finals at Twickenham, one of which saw the previously hopeless France come back from the dead to shatter All Black hopes only to fold weakly to Australia in the final.

Winners: Australia
Runners up: France

Poster boy: Tim Horan


2003

Hosts: Australia

Summary: “Is that all you’ve got?” ask the Aussie press. The answer is a resounding “yes, but it’s enough” as Jonny Wilkinson drop kicks England to a last gasp victory in Sydney, a victory from which England are yet to recover.

Winners: England
Runners up: Australia

Poster boy: Jonny Wilkinson


2007

Hosts: France with matches also staged in Wales and Scotland

Summary: Hosts France again stun the All Blacks, this time in a Cardiff ¼ Final. Distinctly mediocre England team somehow reach the final again before being overpowered by ruthless Springboks.

Winners: South Africa
Runners up: England

Poster boy: Sébastien Chabal
And now, gazing into my crystal ball...
2011?

Hosts: New Zealand (a safe prediction)

Summary: All Blacks shake off the injury losses of the talismanic Dan Carter and Richie McCaw to reach the final but are undone by a breathtaking display of running rugby from the resurgent English.

Winners: England
Runners up: New Zealand

Poster boy: Mike Tindall (OK, OK it’s getting silly now).



4 comments:

tinlegs said...

Sounds good to me TF...

Craig Anthony said...

That is a very long post for a punch line involving Mike Tindall!

Total Flanker said...

@Craig
Yes, but well worth the wait, eh?

Wenq said...
This comment has been removed by the author.