Team profile series looking at the Rugby World Cup records of the 12 directly qualified teams for England 2015.
Australia are synonymous with success on the Rugby World Cup stage.
As the first country to lift the Webb Ellis Cup twice, in 1991 and 1999, they were the undisputed World Cup kings of that decade and their record of only twice having failed to reach the semi-finals marks the Wallabies down as serial achievers.
All the more surprising, then, that since Australia’s legendary second row John Eales joyously hoisted the famous trophy aloft at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff 13 years ago, they have failed to lay claim to the world champions’ crown a third time.
Victory at Rugby World Cup 1999 was Australia’s Wallabies finest hour.
It was certainly their most convincing win and the manner of their 35-12 final demolition of France left everyone in no doubt as to which was the greatest rugby team on the planet.
With Eales and playmaker-in-chief Tim Horan backing up their RWC Final success against England in 1991, the French – who had stunned New Zealand in the semi-finals – simply had no answer as tries from Ben Tune and Owen Finegan, augmented by 25 points from the imperious boot of Matt Burke, ensured a record winning margin that will take some beating. It also provided sweet revenge for Australia’s Wallabies 30-24 semi-final defeat by France that had dashed their hopes of winning the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987. Australia had entered that tournament in fine fettle with world superstars such as David Campese and Michael Lynagh looking to prove a point.
But after rushing through their pool unbeaten and then knocking out Ireland 33-15, the Wallabies were undone by an inspired French side courtesy of a dramatic last-gasp try from the peerless Serge Blanco that goes down in history as one of the greatest ever scored. It was a cruel luck on the Wallabies, who went on to lose the third place play-off match to… Read more>