Rugby World Cup: Four games that shook the world

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S Africa 15 N Zealand 12

(at Johannesburg)

Although South Africa were the host nation, New Zealand were favourites after demolishing England in the semi-final when Jonah Lomu scored four sensational tries. But the tone was set early in the final when Lomu was dumped on his backside by Springbok scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen.The match was deadlocked at 12-12 at full-time, but South Africa fly-half Joel Stransky instantly became a national hero when his drop goal sealed victory in extra time.


Wales 13 Samoa 16

(at Cardiff)

Wales looked firmly on course for a quarter-final place as they took on the tough-tackling but often tactically naive South Sea islanders. With Ieuan Evans among the try scorers the Welsh looked to be on the way, but the Samoans matched them in every facet of the game with Vaega and Vaifale scoring tries and Vaea kicking two penalties and a conversion.


France 30 Australia 24

(at Sydney)

Australia were looking to set up a southern hemisphere dream ticket final against co-hosts New Zealand, but came spectacularly unstuck against an inspired French side. Ten minutes before the break, the Australians were nine points clear and all was going to plan. But Lorieux scored just before half-time and then Sella swept in for another to put France in front. The advantage went one way and then the other, and it was 21-21 with five minutes to go. It was still level as the sides exchanged penalties but in a dramatic finale the brilliant French full-back Serge Blanco went over for the decisive score.


Samoa 38 Wales 31

(at Cardiff)

Host nation Wales had high hopes of reaching at least the last four after their spectacular renaissance under coach Graham Henry. However, the Samoans, inspired by fly-half Stephen Bachop, played some dazzling running rugby and Wales tried to match their expansive game with disastrous results. Samoa faced by far the easier quarter-final task as a result of this win, but lost to Scotland. Wales came up against far tougher opponents in Australia and were predictably beaten.