2003 Rugby World Cup Final

2003 Rugby World Cup Final
NRL Grand Final 2006.JPG
Event2003 Rugby World Cup
After extra time
Date22 November 2003
VenueStadium Australia, Sydney
RefereeAndré Watson (South Africa)

The 2003 Rugby World Cup Final was the final match in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the fifth Rugby World Cup. The match was played between England and Australia on 22 November 2003 at Telstra Stadium in Sydney in front of a crowd of 82,957.

England won 20–17 to win the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time, also becoming the first European side to win the cup. The scores were tied 14–14 at full time, and Jonny Wilkinson kicked a drop goal in the final minute of extra time to win the match. The final was the second to go to extra time.

The British television audience peaked at 15 million viewers, making it the most watched sports program of 2003; the worldwide television audience was 22 million.[1]

Path to the final[]

Australia opened the 2003 Rugby World Cup at Stadium Australia in Sydney, where they beat Argentina 24–8. The next two pool games were against tier 2 nations Romania and Namibia. The match against Namibia resulted in a 142–0 victory. The last pool match was against Ireland at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne, where the Wallabies escaped with a one-point win, 17–16. They finished on top of their pool, with 18 table points and a massive for and against.

England were in Pool C, and kicked off their campaign with an 84–6 win over Georgia, which was then followed by a match against their biggest opposition in the pool, South Africa. However, England beat the Springboks 25–6. Their third pool match against Samoa was a lot closer, England winning 35–22. Their final pool match was against Uruguay, which England won 111–13. England finished first in their pool, four table points ahead of the Springboks.

Australia met Scotland in the quarter finals at Lang Park in Brisbane, and beat them 33–16 to go through to the semis, where they would take on their old rivals, the All Blacks. England beat Wales in their quarter final, 28–17, and went through to meet France in the semis. The Wallabies prevailed 22–10 over New Zealand at Stadium Australia. The following day England beat France 24–7 at the same venue.

Match summary[]

Kick-off was preceded by performances including Kate Ceberano singing True Colours (a theme throughout the World Cup), the Sydney's Children Choir and the Rugby World Choir singing the Rugby World Cup's official theme song, World in Union. The national anthems of Australia (Advance Australia Fair) and England (God Save the Queen) were then performed.

First half[]

The first points of the final were scored by Australia. In the sixth minute, Lote Tuqiri outjumped the much shorter Jason Robinson and scored a try, following a sensational cross field kick from Wallaby fly-half Stephen Larkham. The conversion unsuccessfully crashed against a post. Jonny Wilkinson kicked a penalty goal for England in the 11th minute, bringing the score to 5–3. A further penalty goal by Wilkinson in the 20th minute took England into the lead, 6–5. In the 28th minute, following a Wallabies infringement Wilkinson slotted a penalty to make it 9–5. Following a flowing attacking move involving English forwards and backs, Robinson slid into the corner for a try for England in the 38th minute. England led at half-time 14–5.

Second half[]

Flatley kicked a penalty goal for Australia in the 47th minute, after the England scrummage was penalized by referee Andre Watson, taking the score to 14–8. With England dominant in possession but lacking in finishing Wilkinson made 2 unsuccessful drop goal attempts. England's forwards were again penalized by Watson in the 61st minute, and Flatley kicked the penalty goal for Australia. England were again to suffer when Flatley kicked a penalty goal on the 80th minute, taking the score to 14-14, and the match headed into extra time.

Extra time[]

Wilkinson and Flatley both scored penalties to put the score at 17–17. After having the ball returned to England from a Mat Rogers kick, and with 26 seconds on the clock, Wilkinson kicked a drop goal right-footed and England held on to win their first and only (so far) Rugby World Cup 20–17.

Match details[]

22 November 2003
20:00 AEDT (UTC+11)
Australia  17–20 (a.e.t.)  England
Try: Tuqiri 6' m
Pen: Flatley 47', 61', 80', 97'
Report Try: Robinson 38' m
Pen: Wilkinson 11', 20', 28', 82'
Drop: Wilkinson 100'
Stadium Australia, Sydney
Attendance: 82,957[2]
Referee: André Watson (South Africa)
FB 15 Mat Rogers
RW 14 Wendell Sailor Substituted off 71'
OC 13 Stirling Mortlock
IC 12 Elton Flatley
LW 11 Lote Tuqiri
FH 10 Stephen Larkham Substituted off temp'
SH 9 George Gregan (c)
N8 8 David Lyons Substituted off 57'
OF 7 Phil Waugh
BF 6 George Smith
RL 5 Nathan Sharpe Substituted off 48'
LL 4 Justin Harrison
TP 3 Al Baxter
HK 2 Brendan Cannon Substituted off 57 '
LP 1 Bill Young Substituted off 92'
HK 16 Jeremy Paul Substituted in 57'
PR 17 Matt Dunning Substituted in 92'
LK 18 David Giffin Substituted in 48'
N8 19 Matt Cockbain Substituted in 57'
SH 20 Chris Whitaker
FH 21 Matt Giteau Substituted in temp'
WG 22 Joe Roff Substituted in 71'
Australia Eddie Jones
2003 Rugby World Cup final.svg
FB 15 Josh Lewsey Substituted off 85'
RW 14 Jason Robinson
OC 12 Mike Tindall Substituted off 79'
IC[a] 13 Will Greenwood
LW 11 Ben Cohen
FH 10 Jonny Wilkinson
SH 9 Matt Dawson
N8 8 Lawrence Dallaglio
OF 7 Neil Back
BF 6 Richard Hill Substituted off 93'
RL 5 Ben Kay
LL 4 Martin Johnson (c)
TP 3 Phil Vickery Substituted off 86'
HK 2 Steve Thompson
LP 1 Trevor Woodman
HK 16 Dorian West
PR 17 Jason Leonard Substituted in 86'
LK 18 Martin Corry
FL 19 Lewis Moody Substituted in 93'
SH 20 Kyran Bracken
FH 21 Mike Catt Substituted in 79'
FB 22 Iain Balshaw Substituted in 85'
England Sir Clive Woodward

Touch judges:
Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)
Paul Honiss (New Zealand)
Television match official:
Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Fourth official:
Joël Jutge (France)
Fifth official:
Alain Rolland (Ireland)


Team statistics
Nations Tries Conversions Penalties Dropped Goals Scrums Yellow Cards Red Cards
 England 1 0 4 1 12 0 0
 Australia 1 0 4 0 9 0 0

After the final[]

Celebrations in London.

The English squad arrived at London's Heathrow Airport to a huge reception of English fans. Captain Martin Johnson, holding the trophy, was the first player to appear, which resulted in a celebration of singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". Scrum-half Matt Dawson described the reception as "mind blowing" and hooker Steve Thompson said that "Walking through Heathrow was breathtaking".[3]

A national day of celebration was held on Monday, 8 December. Thousands of fans lined the streets of London to pay tribute to the World Cup victory, as the team paraded in open-top buses from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, awarded the whole squad the freedom of Greater London.[4] The English squad then went on to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace, followed by a reception at Downing Street with then Prime Minister Tony Blair.[5]

In the subsequent New Year's Honours List, the entire English team and coaching staff was also either appointed to or promoted within the Order of the British Empire, with each man awarded at least an MBE. Jason Robinson, Wilkinson, Leonard, head assistant Andy Robinson and RFU chief executive Francis Baron were awarded OBEs, while Johnson was appointed a CBE and Woodward was knighted.[6]

See also[]


a. ^ Will Greenwood, for superstitious reasons, prefers to play wearing the number 13 shirt, even when selected to play inside centre.


  1. ^ "RWC final tops TV viewing figures". ESPN. 16 December 2003. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ "England wins World Cup". Australia: ABC. Archived from the original on 21 April 2006. Retrieved 18 September 2006.
  3. ^ BBC Sport (25 November 2003). "England rugby heroes arrive home". BBC. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
  4. ^ "Rugby fans bring London to a standstill". The Guardian. 8 December 2003. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  5. ^ London Evening Standard (9 December 2003). "Rugby team meet the Queen and Tony Blair". LES. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  6. ^ BBC Sport (31 December 2003). "Woodward leads England honours". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 March 2016.

External links[]