1991 re­viewed

NZ Rugby World Tournament Guide - - CONTENTS -

The sec­ond World Cup had an en­tirely dif­fer­ent feel to the first. There was a sense of awak­en­ing – that the or­gan­is­ers had worked out the com­mer­cial po­ten­tial of the tour­na­ment and the op­por­tu­nity they had to make money.

Per­haps not sur­pris­ingly – de­spite it be­ing ap­par­ent there were is­sues with split­ting the host­ing rights across na­tions – the 1991 World Cup was played in five coun­tries. Not sur­pris­ingly be­cause it would be be­yond the IRB to ac­tu­ally make a bold de­ci­sion.

Lo­gis­ti­cally it was a night­mare and it had the feel of a cu­ri­ous Five Na­tions for­mat with each of the home unions play­ing many games at home. But de­spite the dis­con­nec­tion, crowds were good, TV broad­cast­ers lapped it up and the whole of the UK bought into it.


Be­cause the 1991 tour­na­ment had a qual­i­fi­ca­tion rather than in­vi­ta­tion process, there was more qual­ity and there­fore greater in­ten­sity in the pool rounds. Eng­land were paired with New Zealand; Scot­land and Ire­land were to­gether and so too were Wales and Aus­tralia. The big sur­prise, though, was Western Samoa who pulled off the shock of the tour­na­ment by beat­ing Wales in Cardiff.

It was, re­ally, in the last eight that the tour­na­ment came to life. Canada – who were gen­uinely good - pushed the All Blacks closer than any­one ex­pected; Eng­land were sur­prise win­ners in Paris to in­di­cate they were a se­ri­ous con­tender; Scot­land played su­perbly to beat Samoa – the dar­lings of the tour­na­ment - and Ire­land came within four min­utes of beat­ing the Wal­la­bies in Dublin.

A missed Gavin Hast­ings penalty in front of the posts cost Scot­land the chance of mak­ing the fi­nal and David Cam­pese, Tim Ho­ran and Nick Farr-Jones de­stroyed an age­ing All Blacks side.

Eng­land, strangely, de­cided to run the ball from ev­ery­where in the fi­nal and were well beaten as a re­sult.


The Samoa vic­tory against Wales was the big sur­prise and a hugely sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance in an­nounc­ing the ar­rival of a new rugby force on the world stage. But the best game was in Dublin where IRE­LAND nearly pulled off the im­pos­si­ble in the quar­ter­fi­nal. They dug deep to keep the WAL­LA­BIES within sight and then with four min­utes left, flanker Gor­don Hamil­ton scored a mir­a­cle try. The Ir­ish were still cel­e­brat­ing – be­liev­ing they were through, when Michael Ly­nagh or­ches­trated a bril­liant re­cov­ery try to see the Wal­la­bies home 19-18.


A few of the Samoans such as Apollo Pere­lini and Frank Bunce made a huge im­pres­sion but the tour­na­ment be­longed to the Wal­la­bies and in par­tic­u­lar one man – CAM­PESE. The wiz­ard on the wing was in his prime and in mag­i­cal form. He scored solo tries that will live in the mem­ory for­ever – his an­gled run to carve the All Blacks in the semi­fi­nal – and cre­ated plenty of oth­ers with his vi­sion and out­ra­geous skill set.


Welsh hard man PHIL MAY watch­ing from the bench in his num­ber ones, shoul­der dis­lo­cated, as Samoa smashed his team to pieces.

MICHAEL JONES re­peat­ing his feat of be­ing the open­ing try scorer in another World Cup.

CAM­PESE goad­ing Eng­land into run­ning the ball in the fi­nal.

ERIC CHAMP and MICKY SKIN­NER hav­ing one of those su­per tense mo­ments hard men of­ten do – fore­heads push­ing against each other, eye­balls bulging sort of thing dur­ing the quar­ter­fi­nal in Paris.

ADRIAN GAR­VEY of Zim­babwe scor­ing a spec­tac­u­lar long-range try against Scot­land. He was a prop.

HEART­BREAK: Michael Ly­nagh broke Ir­ish hearts.

David Cam­pese

Eng­land were un­lucky in 1991.

Michael Jones scored the open­ing

try – again.

Samoa were too good for Wales.

The Wal­la­bies get what they de­serve.

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