1991 Rugby World Cup: how the Wallabies won the cup

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The Wallabies claimed their first World Cup in 1991.

Australia 12 (Tries: Daly Conversions: Lynagh Penalties: Lynagh 2) def England 6 (Penalties: Webb 2)

Date: November 2, 1991

Venue: Twickenham, London

Attendance: 56, 208

In just the second World Cup final, Australia found themselves facing England at Twickenham in the final.

A thrilling quarter-final win over Ireland, decided by a last-gasp Michael Lynagh try, was a perfectly timed wake-up call for Australia as they progressed through the competition.

The Wallabies had beaten New Zealand in a tight semi-final a week earlier and winger David Campese was electrifying the competition.

While their attack was attracting attention, the Wallabies’ defence had let through just three tries in the competition.

Campese would go on to be crowned player of the tournament after scoring six tries through the World Cup.

He played a critical role in the decider as well, though the only try of the match came through prop Tony Daly.

Willie Ofahengaue took an England line out in the 28th minute, five metres from the Australia try line.

Daly crashed over to score the critical four-pointer, giving the Wallabies a 7-0 lead, three minutes after fly half Michael Lynagh slotted the opening score of the match - a penalty.

The teams traded penalties early in the second half, making scores 12-3.

It was a 70th minute knock on by Campese that prevented England from closing the gap to three points, with 10 minutes to go.

Campese cut off an England pass with a deliberate knock on that stopped the hosts’ momentum as they attempted to score a try.

The English were awarded a penalty, duly slotted by Jonathan Webb, but time and distance proved too much for the home side as the Wallabies claimed their first world crown.

Australia captain Nick Farr-Jones said after the game that his team had been physically drained by the final.