RWC 1987: Brave new world

Within the first instalment of a World Cup sequence, SA Rugby journal appears again on the inaugural match in 1987, which was hosted and received by New Zealand.

Rugby union has at all times been resistant to vary, and the introduction of a World Cup was no completely different. The primary opposition to the idea was from the House Unions (England, Eire, Scotland and Wales) who regarded themselves because the guardians of the sport.

Nevertheless, in 1985 members of the Worldwide Rugby Soccer Union (IRFU) had been requested to vote on a proposal to determine a ‘world rugby cup’.

As Gerald Davies explains in The Historical past of the Rugby World Cupthis was a call that had been a very long time coming. The IRFU was first approached by two corporations within the early Nineteen Eighties. Each had been rejected. In 1983, one other two proposals had been turned down.

In 1984, Australia and New Zealand submitted separate proposals, which had been rejected. However they finally determined to hitch forces and made one other submission to the board in 1985, which proposed holding the primary match in 1987 so it wouldn’t conflict with the Olympics, Commonwealth Video games or Fifa World Cup.

The Rugby World Cup obtained the inexperienced mild from six member nations (together with South Africa, who knew they wouldn’t be capable to participate as a consequence of apartheid), whereas Eire and Scotland voted towards it.

In contrast with latest World Cups, the 1987 match was a small occasion. Solely 604 500 followers attended matches (in contrast with over 2.4 million in 2015) and 300 million watched on TV (in contrast with 857 million in 2019).

The primary World Cup was additionally devalued by the absence of the Springboks, who had overwhelmed the New Zealand Cavaliers 3-1 in a four-match sequence the yr earlier than. Though it’s inconceivable to understand how they’d have carried out, the Boks would have been anticipated to succeed in the ultimate, if not win it.

With no critical challengers, the All Blacks cruised to the inaugural title, smashing France 29-9 within the Eden Park remaining.

New Zealand arrived in Auckland as enormous favourites, having scored 269 factors to 43 of their earlier 5 video games and having run in 40 tries to 3. Buck Shelford had managed the pack expertly from the again of the scrum, whereas captain David Kirk led the backline at scrumhalf.

Each performed a giant half within the remaining, nevertheless it was flyhalf Grant Fox who dominated the sport with a 17-point haul. Flank Michael Jones, Kirk and winger John Kirwan scored the hosts’ tries, with scrumhalf Pierre Berbizier scoring France’s solely attempt within the final minute.

For sheer drama, the perfect recreation of the 1987 World Cup was France’s 30-24 semi-final win towards the Wallabies in Sydney. With full time approaching and the groups locked at 24-24, France counter-attacked and the ball was handed by means of a number of palms to the legendary Serge Blanco. The fullback, who was carrying an damage, went for the nook, dived over and famously threw his head again in celebration.

Within the different semi-final, in Brisbane, Wales had been thrashed 49-6 by the All Blacks, however recovered effectively to beat the Wallabies 22-21 within the playoff for third place in Rotorua.

The Welsh had reached the ultimate 4 by beating arch-rivals England 16-3 and will mirror on a fairly profitable marketing campaign.

1987 Participant of the Event

Michael Jones made his All Blacks debut throughout the 1987 World Cup, having performed a Check for Samoa the yr earlier than. The flanker was at his good finest throughout the match with ball in hand and on the breakdown.

He scored the primary World Cup attempt in New Zealand’s 70-6 thrashing of Italy and grabbed the primary attempt of the ultimate after Grant Fox’s drop kick had been charged down. The All Blacks free forwards overpowered the French that day, with Jones the standout performer.

Sadly, Jones’ profession was to be badly affected by damage (he performed 55 Exams out of a potential 90). He was additionally unnoticed of the 1995 World Cup squad due to his refusal to play on Sundays as he’s a religious Christian.

1987 Playoff outcomes

New Zealand 30 Scotland 3
Australia 33 Eire 15
France 31 Fiji 16
Wales 16 England 3

France 30 Australia 24
New Zealand 49 Wales 6

Third-place playoff
Wales 22 Australia 21

New Zealand 29 France 9

By Simon Borchardt

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Revealed : 2023-07-19 12:01:23

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