History of Rugby World Cup: 1999

Australia became the first country to land two Rugby World Cups as the millennium ended. Of all the Rugby World Cups, 1999 may be the least memorable overall, but it perhaps contained the most memorable match.

A peculiar format resulted in a set of playoffs before the quarter finals, after which all of the Home Unions had been eliminated (England was drop-kicked out 44-21 by defending champion South Africa, for whom Jannie de Beer hit five field goals among 34 individual points).

As they had earlier in the year in the Cricket World Cup, Australia and South Africa played out a semi-final tie which resulted in Australian progression, this time after extra time. The other semi-final provided the most bizarre quarter hour in the history of the tournament. Jonah Lomu had New Zealand strolling to another comfortable semi-final win against France, when suddenly it all just went horribly wrong. Flowing, passing, running rugby saw the All Blacks shell shocked by four unanswered converted tries in direct succession.

Everyone was left stunned, even the French, who crumbled in the final 35-12 to the rampant Australians.

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