Pathway of fame - England Win Rugby World Cup

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England Win Rugby World Cup

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The story behind the plaque

They did it! Pessimists doubted England would ever win the Rugby World Cup and certainly did not expect them to when the tournament was staged in the southern hemisphere.

In the 2003 finals in Australia, England ran up a stack of points against Georgia but the underrated Samoans ran them close. However, England’s victory over South Africa by 25 points to 6 in the third pool match was their “statement of intent”. In the quarter-final Wales were seen off by Jonny Wilkinson’s boot before England played their best football of the tournament in their semi-final defeat of France, 24-7. In a nail-biting final against Australia, England broke the deadlock with a drop goal in extra time to take the William Webb Ellis trophy 20-17 against dogged hosts.

Australia’s coach was magnanimous in defeat, “The better team won. There’s no doubt about that. England deserve their moment because of the work they’ve put in, the coaching, and the character of the players”.

The Rugby World Cup had come not a moment too soon, as age, retirement and injury took their toll on this fine England squad. Three-quarters of a million people lined the streets of London in early December 2003 to cheer their heroes. The World Cup was back where the game began 180 years earlier.

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