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The shock results that shook the Rugby World Cup
We could do with a couple of these over the coming weeks.

Wales 31 Samoa 38

Pool D; October 14th, 1999

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

IT WAS A bittersweet day for the Welsh on home turf; their euphoria at seeing Neil Jenkins surpass Michael Lynagh’s world-leading points tally ruined on a chaotic afternoon when they were beaten by the Pacific Islanders. Again.

Yes, eight years previously they were also humbled (see below) but no one could have forecasted this as they were flying high under Kiwi coach Graham Henry.

But Samoa had other ideas and after serving up a feast of running rugby they ran in five tries for a seven-point win.

Ruddy Darter / YouTube

Ireland 15 Australia 6

Pool C; September 17th, 2011

Eden Park, Auckland

Having lost all four of their previous World Cup meetings, Ireland finally got the better of Australia at the fifth attempt.

Entering the game as strong favourites and reigning Tri-Nations champions, Australia – minus the services of David Pocock were beaten into submission by an ultra-dominant Irish front-five in a heart-stopping clash.

That there were no tries in the game but that didn’t take from it as a spectacle as the sides traded blow for blow. Ronan O’Gara came off the bench to replace the injured Gordon D’Arcy with Jonathan Sexton moving to the centre. O’Gara kicked two crucial penalties to add to a Sexton brace as well as a drop goal.

rugbyworldcup / YouTube

Fiji 38 Wales 34

Pool B; September 29th, 2007;


In this winner-takes-all clash, Wales looked to have won it after fighting back from 25-3 down to lead. But a late try from Graham Dewes capped a remarkable turnaround and not only ended the Fijians nine-game losing streak to the Welsh but saw them advance to their first quarter-final in 20 years.

Such was the fallout that Wales coach Gareth Jenkins was sacked in the aftermath.

Кирилл Добычин / YouTube

Tonga 19 France 14

Pool A; October 1st, 2011

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Tonga, with a population of around 100,000, caused one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history when they downed France in Wellington during the pool phase of the 2011 tournament. Kurth Morath was on song with four penalties for the Islanders for whom Sukanaivalu Hufanga scored a try.

The defeat wasn’t enough to knock France out, who salvaged a bonus point through Vincent Clerc’s try and still qualified as second in their group.

EllliotJack1 / YouTube

Samoa 16 Wales 13

Pool 3; October 6th, 1991

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

With a playing population of around 2,000 Western Samoa were pretty much an unknown quantity when they took on high-flying Welsh in the pool stages of the 1991 tournament.

Soft tacklers they weren’t as they crashed into the hosts with sometimes reckless abandon which led to some strong words being exchanged in the aftermath.

The result meant Wales didn’t get out of their group while Western Samoa did, but they were hammered by Scotland in the last eight.

rugbyworldcup / YouTube

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South Africa 15 New Zealand 12

Final; June 24th, 1995

Ellis Park, Johannesburg

After steam-rolling England in the last four, New Zealand were the hot favourites to win a second World Cup but with the weight of a nation willing them over the line, the Springboks held on for a narrow win.

The new South African President Nelson Mandela sent the crowd wild before the game when greeted the sides dressed in a replica of skipper Francois Pienaar’s jersey.

The game was a nerve-shredder that required extra-time but Joel Stransky kept his cool to score a winning drop goal.

Setanta Sports / YouTube

France 43 New Zealand 31

Semi-final; October 31st, 1999


It’s rare that a game can be billed as so much but no one can deny this was a) one of the best games ever played, b) featured some of the best tries ever scored and c) became one of the biggest shocks of all time.

They were less than convincing in coming through a group featuring Namibia, Canada and Fiji but in the semi-final the French turned on the style, recovering from going 24-10 behind.

Out-half Christophe Lamaison was superb with the boot and also scored a try as Les Bleus dumbfounded their opponents and critics with an exhibition of free-running rugby.

rugbyworldcup / YouTube

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