Rugby World Cup – 10 top moments

Jonny Wilkinson’s drop-goal which secured the Webb Ellis Cup for England in 2003 has been voted the greatest moment in Rugby World Cup history.

In a survey of more than 4000 fans from 13 rugby nations, Wilkinson’s last-gasp kick, which sealed a 20-17 victory over hosts Australia in the Sydney final, polled 24 per cent of the vote.

Second place went to the moment when Nelson Mandela handed the Webb Ellis Cup to South African captain Francois Pienaar at Ellis Park Stadium after New Zealand had been defeated 15-12.

Irish patriotism appears to have skewed the third entry, which is Ireland’s 15-6 victory over Australia in the group stage of the 2011 World Cup, but there can be no doubting the credibility of fourth place.

Just over 10 per cent of those surveyed chose Jonah Lomu’s remarkable performance against England in 1995 when the giant All Black scored four tries.

Completing the top five is the comeback of all comebacks produced by France against New Zealand in their 1999 semi-final at Twickenham, when a 24-10 deficit was transformed into a scarcely believable 43-31 victory.

The triumphant All Blacks team of 2011 was voted the best World Cup side of all time, polling 27 per cent of the vote. England’s 2003 vintage came second with 18 per cent.

Lomu’s second try in the semi-final against England 20 years ago – in which Mike Catt, Will Carling and Tony Underwood were flattened – was the clear winner of the best try in the tournament’s history.


1 – Jonny Wilkinson’s winning drop-goal in 2003 (24.3 per cent)

2 – Nelson Mandela handing the trophy to Francois Pienaar in 1995 (23.5 per cent)

3 – Ireland’s 15-6 shock victory over Australia in 2011 (12.7 per cent)

4 – Jonah Lomu’s four tries against England in 1995 (10.8 per cent)

5 – France’s comeback against New Zealand in their 1999 semi-final (8.9 per cent)

6 – Australia score 22 tries v Namibia in the 2003 tournament (4 per cent)

7 – John Kirwan’s solo try for New Zealand v Italy in 1987 (2.3 per cent)

8 – David Kirk lifting the cup for NZ for the first time in 1987 (2 per cent)

9 – England’s Martin Johnson lifting the trophy in 2003 (1.9 per cent)

10 – Wallaby Stephen Larkham’s first drop goal – from 48 metres – in the 1999 semi-final (0.9 per cent)

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