2003 Rugby World Cup

The fifth Rugby Union World Cup was held from 10 October to 22 November 2003 in Australia. There were 20 teams in 48 successive games. Originally a common discharge with New Zealand had been provided, but all the games were awarded after disputes between the New Zealand Association and the World Federation of Australia.

Before the start of the World Cup England, New Zealand, France, Australia and South Africa were considered favorites to win the title. Became world champion for the first time England, which beat in the final to hosts after extra time. It was the first time ever that a team in the northern hemisphere could win the world title.

  • 5.1 quarterfinals
  • 5.2 Semi-finals
  • 5.3 3rd place match
  • 5.4 final
  • 6.1 Teams
  • 6.2 Most points scored
  • 6.3 Most scored tests


The 48 games were held in eleven different stages, which were distributed over the whole country, but with an emphasis on the regions on the east coast.

The Adelaide Oval, actually a cricket stadium was expanded in terms of the Rugby World Cup in 2003 and expanded by two tribunes. The cost of 20 million AUD took over the South Australian Cricket Association. The Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane is a specially tailored to the needs of rugby new building. The construction costs amounted to AUD 280 million and the stadium was opened a few days before the World Cup. Also relatively new is the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, it cost 30 million AUD and opened in February 2000.

Sydney was represented with two venues. The Aussie Stadium served as the main stadium for the football tournament of the Summer Olympics 2000., The Telstra Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park was the centerpiece of the Olympic Games. It cost over 600 million AUD and is the second largest stadium in Australia, according to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The only stadium with a sliding roof was the Telstra Dome in Melbourne.


Twenty teams had qualified for the World Cup 2003. The eight participants in the quarter-finals of the 1999 World Cup were automatically eligible to start, including the reigning world champion and host Australia (each marked with *). For the remaining twelve starting positions contributing 80 teams, more than ever before, qualifiers from.

  • Africa Namibia Namibia
  • South Africa South Africa *
  • America Argentina Argentina
  • Canada Canada
  • United States United States
  • Uruguay Uruguay
  • Oceania Australia Australia *
  • Fiji Fiji
  • New Zealand New Zealand *
  • Samoa Samoa
  • Tonga Tonga
  • Asia Japan Japan
  • Europe England England *
  • France France *
  • Georgia, 1990 Georgia
  • Ireland Ireland
  • Italy Italy
  • Romania Romania
  • Scotland Scotland *
  • Wales *


The field was divided into four groups of five teams. In each case, the two first of a group qualified for the quarter-finals. For the first time ever came in the group stage is a bonus points system for use. This has been proven in the Southern Hemisphere years ago and was later introduced in Europe; but not in the Six Nations:

  • 4 points for a win
  • 2 points for a draw
  • 0 points for a loss (before possible bonus points )
  • 1 bonus point for four or more unsuccessful attempts, regardless of the Final
  • 1 bonus point for a loss by fewer than seven points difference

Preliminary round

In the early phase of the Australian media had the quality of the tournament criticized because the "small" teams were put under enormous pressure by Rugby " superpowers " with 60 or more points difference. The South Pacific teams Fiji, Samoa and Tonga were further weakened because they had to do without many key players operating in foreign leagues. They had been warned by their clubs that their contracts would not be renewed in case of participation.

The group stage of the tournament went about as expected in advance. The only tension was whether a "small" team would manage to make a significant team behind and reach the quarter -finals. In Group A, Argentina lost by only one point difference against Ireland in Group B defeated the Scots Fiji with only two points. Italy was in Group D a satisfactory overall performance. In Group C, Samoa managed almost a sensation and was initially against England in the lead, but had to due to the better condition of the English yet beaten.

In the encounters between the major teams decided usually form on the day. South Africa played a total disappointing and had to settle for second behind England place, which gave them the strong New Zealanders quarter-final opponents. Defending champion Australia Ireland could only just behind and pressed the New Zealand All Blacks Wales. France did not have much trouble with Scotland.

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Final round

In the quarterfinals, each translated by the favorites, albeit fairly England has replied to the stubborn Welsh team effort. France decided the game against Ireland already in the starting phase and managed the Tab safe. South Africa could not increase compared to the group matches against New Zealand and had never had a chance. Australia continued its way through against Scotland.

The first semi-final ended with a surprise when Australia defeated the favored New Zealanders. It was thus possible for the first time ever, the reigning world champions move into the next World Cup final. In the second semi-final of the English Jonny Wilkinson struck the opposing team from France almost single-handedly, scoring all the points, especially were the transformed Penalties crucial.

In the finals, the teams from Australia and England faced each other in the Telstra Stadium in Sydney. Of the 82 957 spectators were around 40 % of England. While Australia took an early lead, but then dominated England the rest of the first half and went with 14:5 at the break. In the second half of the Australians forced their opponents propagated errors and outdated point to point on. After a controversial decision of the arbitrator Australia equalized shortly before the end of regular time with a penalty and force an extra. 21 seconds before the end of the extension, it was now 17:17, Jonny Wilkinson scored a hard -to-play drop goal. He decided to make the game and secured England the first World Championship title.



3rd Place Match




Three days after the final landed the English world champion team at Heathrow Airport and in spite of the early hour (about 4:30 am ) enthusiastically welcomed by thousands of fans. On December 8, an impressive victory parade was held to Trafalgar Square through the streets of London.

The Rugby Union World Cup 2003, on television a cumulative audience of 3.5 billion. Estimated 40,000 international spectators had traveled to Australia during the World Cup. This resulted in the tourism sector to a sharp increase in revenue, estimated at about 100 million AUD. In April 2004, the International Rugby Board issued a report that pointed out new records in all areas of the Rugby World Cup. The Australian Rugby Union announced that revenue had exceeded all expectations and the surplus amounted to 44.5 million AUD. Had to host the Rugby World Cup in Australia, an increase of the number of spectators at the Rugby League Super 12 as well as in the number of junior players result.