|Event||2003 Rugby World Cup|
|After extra time|
|Date||22 November 2003|
|Venue||Stadium Australia, Sydney|
|Referee||André Watson (South Africa)|
The 2003 Rugby World Cup Final was the final match in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and 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 people.
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 to 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 people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wilkinson and Flatley both scored penalties to put the score at 17–17. England got the ball back after the ensuing restart from a Mat Rogers kick, then won the line-out and advanced deep into Australian territory after a Matt Dawson line break off a dummy. With 26 seconds on the clock, Wilkinson kicked a right-footed drop goal to give England their first ever Rugby World Cup 20–17.
Wilson (sic) still in place for the drop goal! Australia come back, here it is for Jonny – has he done it? He sure has! Heartbreaker for the Wallabies! Seconds remaining, and that surely is the stairway to rugby heaven for England!
There's 35 seconds to go. This is the one. It's coming back for Jonny Wilkinson! He drops for World Cup glory! (Color commentator Rob Andrew in the background: "Yeah!") It's up – it's over! He's done it! Jonny Wilkinson is England's hero yet again! And there's no time for Australia to come back – England have just won the World Cup!
| Australia ||17–20 (a.e.t.)|
|Try: Tuqiri 6' m|
Pen: Flatley 47', 61', 80', 97'
|Report||Try: Robinson 38' m|
Pen: Wilkinson 11', 20', 28', 82'
Drop: Wilkinson 100'
|Nations||Tries||Conversions||Penalties||Dropped Goals||Scrums||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
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".
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.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.
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.
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