England v Australia: Five previous Rugby World Cup showdowns

England v Australia: Five previous Rugby World Cup showdowns

Ahead of Saturday’s crunch Rugby World Cup clash, we look back at the five times England has met Australia on the sport’s grandest stage. 

1987 Rugby World Cup Pool: England 6-19 Australia
Concord Oval, Sydney, Australia

This game took place at the inaugural Rugby World Cup with Australia entering the contest as the pre-tournament favourites.

Tries from David Campese and Simon Poidevin plus three penalties and a conversion from Michael Lynagh was enough to see off England in Sydney.

The men in white scored one try through Mike Harrison with Jonathan Webb converting.

1991 Rugby World Cup Final: England 6-12 Australia 
Twickenham, London, England

Australia undid England’s dream of winning their home World Cup with Michael Lynagh, who had kicked the Wallabies to victory four years earlier, again proving the difference.

Tony Daly touched down the only try of the game for the Aussies with Lynagh kicking a conversion and two penalties while Jonathan Webb made up the men in whites scoring with two kicks from the tee.

1995 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final: England 25-22 Australia 
Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa

Following successive defeats against Australia at the two previous Rugby World Cups, England got their first win against the Wallabies on the sport’s grandest stage in dramatic fashion during the quarter-finals in 1995.

Each side touched down a try with Tony Underwood crossing for England while Damian Smith touched down for the Aussies.

Nothing could even separate the kickers with Rob Andrew and Michael Lynagh both kicking five penalties and a conversion from the tee, meaning the score at full-time was 22-22.

Into extra time it went, and as England got within sniffing distance, Dewi Morris swept a superb pass to Andrew who in turn unleashed a perfect drop-goal from 45 metres to win the game.

2003 Rugby World Cup Final: England 20-17 Australia 
Telstra Stadium, Sydney, Australia

England revenged their loss in 1991 with an astonishing last-gasp victory over the Wallabies in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final in Sydney.

Australia initially took the lead through Lote Tuqiri before Jason Robinsons’s try plus three Jonny Wilkinson penalties give England a 14-5 lead.

Three penalties from Elton Flatley dragged Australia level, sending the match to extra time. Wilkinson then edged the men in white back in front from the tee but Flatley levelled again for The Wallabies.

Then, just 26 seconds from the end, Wilkinson spectacularly kicked a drop-goal, securing the win for England after a dramatic extra-time finale.

Millions then watched from around the world as  Martin Johnson became the first northern hemisphere, Captain, to hoist the Webb Ellis Cup.

2007 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final: England 12-10 Australia 
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France

The pair met again in 2007 with fly-half Jonny Wilkinson again being the difference as the number 10 kicked four penalties as England narrowly overcame the Wallabies to reach the semi-final.

Like four year’s earlier Lote Tuqiri touched down Australia’s only try with Stirling Mortlock’s conversion and penalty making up the Wallabies scoring.


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