Rugby World Cup Final, Sydney

New South Wales

England 20, Australia 17

Australia Wallabies logo


The Party!

Crazy Wallabies fans

Our host, Peter Freedman

Steve O and Larry the O at the Rugby World Cup
Peter Freedman at the Rugby World Cup

The Big Game!

The World Cup occurs every four years, and it's the top prize in the national rugby union world. The 2003 Rugby World Cup was the third-largest sporting event in the world that year after the Olympics and the Soccer World Cup, with a global television audience estimated at 4 billion. A spirited crowd of 82, 957 packed the stadium.

We supported the defending champion Australia Wallabies, who were defeated 20-17 at Telstra Stadium in a very exciting and incredibly close game that was tied at 14-14 just before the end of regulation ("full") time, then tied again at 17-17 during the extra time. England had never won the Webb Ellis Cup before, and winning it took last-second heroics by their superstar Jonny Wilkinson, whose drop-goal with 34 seconds left in extra time won the game. The International Rugby Board declared it the finest World Cup ever. The BBC's Mike Bushell called it "English sport's greatest moment since 1966." For a breakdown of the tournament and the final game from an English viewpoint, click here.

"In the U.S. it is impossible to grasp how big the Rugby World Cup is. We may think the World Series is big, but its not really a "World" Series at all. Same with the Super Bowl. The Rugby World Cup is watched on television by 300 million people around the globe. It's big, in fact, by most assessments the biggest sporting event in the world. The crowd in the stadium was a bit under 83,000 to watch the Australians square off against the English (a grudge match, to be sure) in a steady rain. (Rugby is an all-weather sport, the next World Cup will be held in Paris in November!) The game was incredible. It seesawed back and forth and, just as Australia was about to lose, they scored a field goal to tie it up in the last ten seconds of the game. So it went into Extra time, and was tied at the end of Extra time. It nearly went into double Extra time when the English kicker, a flippin' footie genius, kicked a field goal on the run to win the game for the Brits in the last seconds. Everyone there on both sides said it was one of the greatest games of all time." - Larry the O mlog


Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremonies were colorful and included a presentation by Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Howard was suffering politically at the time, in part because of his support for Australian involvement in the U.S.'s invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Opening Ceremonies, Telestra Stadium, Rugby World Cup
Opening Ceremonies, Telestra Stadium, Rugby World Cup
Opening Ceremonies, Telestra Stadium, Rugby World Cup


Views of Telestra Stadium

screen in Telestra Stadium
Telestra Stadium


On the Field

The Australians are in gold, the English in white.

Rugby World Cup action
Rugby World Cup action
Rugby World Cup action
Rugby World Cup action

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