Twenty years in the past on November 22, England gained the Rugby World Cup on an unforgettably dramatic night time in Sydney at Stadium Australia in entrance of 82,597 spellbound followers. They continue to be the one northern hemisphere aspect to have lifted the Webb Ellis Cup. Categorical Sport’s chief sportswriter Neil Squires scrolls again by means of that additional time victory over Australia with among the heroes of ‘03, together with a memorable story involving Prince Harry.
Labelled ‘Dad’s Military’ by the Australian media, Clive Woodward’s vastly skilled England staff arrived Down Beneath as Six Nations champions and favourites for the match. After being given a fright by Wales within the quarterfinal, England swept apart France within the rain to arrange the dream last towards a Wallabies aspect coached by Eddie Jones.
Jason Robinson – “We knew what it was prefer to beat New Zealand in New Zealand and Australia in Australia. There was a quiet confidence that we might end the job. There was virtually a relaxed about us. Simply wanting across the group we knew we might win that last. This was what all of the onerous work was for.”
Trevor Woodman – “We had been staying in Manly in a lodge with a balcony that seemed out on the seashore. I bear in mind the Australian supporters had been there on the day of the sport singing Waltzing Matilda to attempt to get into our heads.”
After Australia took a shock early lead by means of a strive by Lote Tuqiri, England hit again with one in every of their very own from Jason Robinson and raced right into a 14-5 half time lead.
Jason Robinson – “Lawrence (Dallaglio) made a half break and handed to Jonny (Wilkinson). We might labored for years on having any individual both aspect in help and I used to be fortunate sufficient that it got here my approach. It might so simply have been Ben Cohen’s strive but it surely went to me and I simply needed to get a shift on.”
Nevertheless, England might by no means fairly get out of vary and with South African referee Andre Watson mystifyingly penalising a dominant England scrum, Elton Flatley saved the Wallabies in it within the second half. When he landed a stress kick within the final minute to stage the scores at 14-14 the competition went to additional time.
Wilkinson and Flatley exchanged penalties and because the pressure grew to become virtually insufferable, England referred to as their drop objective play – coded Zigzag – from a lineout as the ultimate went into its final extraordinary moments.
Ben Kay – “To be truthful to Clive, by means of years of build-up to the World Cup we might end numerous coaching periods with our drop objective technique. Once we had been saying: ‘for f***’s sake, not once more’, he would say: ‘nicely it would come all the way down to it within the final minute of a World Cup last.’ Everybody knew their function completely off by coronary heart.
“The lineout hadn’t gone nicely for us. We had been coaching on the Manly Sea Eagles floor that week and proper subsequent to it was a financial institution of homes on a hillside that overlooks it. We tried to discover a nook the place we’d not be seen to do our lineout observe within the week main as much as it however let’s simply say the Aussies had been fairly nicely versed with somebody’s window on that aspect!
“Steve Thompson was a bit nervous after I referred to as that throw to the again however we knew he would be capable of throw it into Lewis Moody’s chest if he wished as a result of there can be no-one up for it on the Australian aspect. They might be marking the center. That is what occurred.”
Possession secured, Mike Catt smashed into the guts of Australia’s defence however England nonetheless weren’t in snug vary. That was when Matt Dawson made his transfer.
Matt Dawson – “The night time earlier than the sport Paul Grayson wrote me a letter and put it underneath my door. In that letter was private stuff describing our friendship but additionally him saying he was satisfied that if I used to be in the appropriate zone, as a result of the main target was on Jonny, there can be a possibility for me to do one thing.
“Australia had been underneath numerous stress, they had been pondering: ‘s***, that is it they’re going for the drop objective’ so the world was taking a look at Jonny. I used to be analysing all of that. They jumped the gun, I made the ten yards after which we had been all arrange for the drop objective.”
Yet one more carry from Johnson and Dawson was in a position to fizz the move again to the ready Wilkinson. He had missed with two drop targets earlier within the sport however, with 30 seconds, he wasn’t about to overlook the one which mattered.
Jason Robinson – “I had among the finest seats in the home for the drop objective. I used to be doing a really poor effort as a ruck guard. What a good looking sight it was. There was a two-second celebration then we needed to get again. For the primary time in that sport we had been out of place. Australia kick off and Trevor Woodman, who’s smaller than me, finally ends up catching it.”
Trevor Woodman – “The issue for Australia was that they did not ship the appropriate individual to chase it. Phil Waugh was after it and he was shorter than me! If it had been Lote Tuqiri he’d have gained it simply!”
Ball unconventionally secured, England labored the ball again to Catt and with a lazy stroke of his proper foot put it the pitch to finish the sport. England had been world champions.
Jason Robinson – “I can not clarify the combination of feelings in that second. I have been in numerous stress video games in rugby union and rugby league however no sport has ever come near the stress of that one. In that second all of it launched. There was ecstasy, aid, all types.”
Prince Harry performs the bongos
The celebration afterwards within the Cargo Membership at Darling Harbour was as epic as the sport itself. At one level Dallaglio was enjoying the bongos with Prince Harry. However an exhausted Wilkinson, after a celebratory coke, made his excuses and left early. Robinson too.
Jason Robinson – “I did not exit. It was a bit too wild for me. It was ridiculously late anyway. If I might have gone out with the boys I in all probability would not have been seen once more. Jason Leonard – The Enjoyable Bus – and Mike Tindall would have destroyed me. I lived to inform the story.”
In some way so did the remaining, heading house as conquering heroes.
Ben Kay – “I believe Tinds tried to beat David Boon’s consuming report on the flight house. He wasn’t in a very good state by Singapore.”