ADVERTISEMENT

If you can get your head around it, these 3 fierce rivalries make for another fascinating Rugby World Cup

BY Stephen Brunsdon  ·  Tuesday Dec 15, 2020

The draw for the 2023 Rugby World Cup had a strangely familiar look to it in some of the pools. For the third consecutive competition, Wales, Australia and Fiji all line up each other while England will face Argentina for the third time in four tournaments.

ADVERTISEMENT

It does beg the question about how random the draw – based on the world rankings and three years out from the World Cup itself – actually is.

But forgetting that unfortunate aspect of the draw, we wanted to take a trip back through the years of the Rugby World Cup and revisit some of the best rivalries from the tournament’s 33-year history, with a view to 2023.

FRANCE VS NEW ZEALAND

Some of the most dramatic, entertaining and downright crazy World Cup matches have taken place between these two sides. The most consistently on-form team and one of the most unpredictable on the same pitch. It’s thrown up some memorable encounters over the years, and the two sides are set to do battle again in 2023.

Whether it turns out to be the opening match at the Stade de France remains to be seen, but it’s clear that this is a fixture long etched in history.

The first ever World Cup final resulted in a largely comfortable 29-9 victory for New Zealand, but it was another 12 years before the sides met again, this time in that unforgettable semi-final at Twickenham in 1999.

Dominic, Bernat-Salles, Lamaison, Dourthe…the tries rained down in London as France pulled off one of the biggest World Cup shocks to reach the final. Four years later, New Zealand got its own-back on the French in the third place play-off, winning 40-13 in Sydney.

France caused another shock in 2007, ironically in Cardiff despite the World Cup being held in France. A forward pass which went unsanctioned set up Yannick Jauzion’s crucial try as Les Bleus won 20-18.

ADVERTISEMENT

2011 was on the All Blacks’ home soil and for once, the two sides were drawn in the same pool. That went New Zealand’s way comfortably, 37-17, but only just secured their second title in the final by a solitary point. The most recent encounter at the World Cup, was the most convicing victory as the All Blacks ripped France to pieces in Cardiff in 2015.

WALES VS AUSTRALIA

In Rugby World Cup history, no two teams have played each other more than Wales and Australia. From their first meeting in the inaugural tournament (third place play-off) which Wales won 22-21, to the pool stages in the 2019 edition, they have played against each other seven times.

Four times they’ve met in the pool stages, the first coming in 1991 with Australia winning 38-3. Fast forward to 1999 and it was a 24-9 victory for the Wallabies in the quarter finals, again in Cardiff. It was a similar story in 2007, with Australia coming out on top 32-20, while the third place play-off in 2011 also narrowly went the way of the Aussies, 21-18.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2015, the two sides were barely separated at Twickenham with Australia winning 15-6 but Wales finally got their revenge in Japan last year with a gritty, well deserved 29-25 triumph in Tokyo.

Fiji can add themselves onto this list, having amazingly featured in the same group as Wales in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. From the memorable match in 2007 which allowed Fiji to progress to their first quarter final, to Wales’ thrashing of the South-Sea Islanders 66-0 in 2011. The previous two encounters have been far closer, Wales winning 23-13 in 2015 and 29-17 last year.

ENGLAND VS ARGENTINA

A rivalry which really only started in recent years as Argentina climbed up the rankings. Their first encounter came in 1995 with England just edging a tightly fought match 24-18 in Durban. The two sides then didn’t meet each other again until 2011 in Dunedin where England again came out on top in a close match, 13-9.

Last year’s match should have been an even closer affair had it not been for Tomás Lavannini’s 19th minute red card for a high tackle on Owen Farrell. England eventually recorded a 39-10 victory.

Such has been the form of Argentina in the World Cup, they have never been an easy side to roll over and every match between the two sides has been evenly matched. There has also been tension between both sets of players and always contributes to the spectacle of the World Cup.

Related Articles

  • 21 WEEKS AGO

    'A really poor imitation' - Shane Horgan...

  • 23 WEEKS AGO

    Top referee calls time on career following...

  • 26 WEEKS AGO

    2023 Men's Rugby World XV of the Year - The...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Bordeaux prop scores the ultimate front row try in the Top 14

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Northampton Saints youngster George Hendy seals the Premiership title

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Springbok centre tears it up in the Top 14 for a crucial hattrick

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    English winger leaves defenders in his dust for long range score in Top 14

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    England enforcer's tour could be over following red card vs Japan

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Pitch invader melted in thunderous tackle

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath's Beno Obano shown red in the Premiership final

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    World Player of the Year BANNED heading into Paris Olympics following horror challenge during Madrid SVNS

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Debate surrounding ludicrous rugby league tackle leaves union fans baffled

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Highlights: Barbarians and Fiji display the exact nature of what rugby should be

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Japanese lock pulls off moment of brilliance to create first try against England

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Pitch invader melted in thunderous tackle

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Leinster prospect pulls off outlandish footballing skills in URC quarterfinal

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

View All

Funnies

  • 5 HOURS AGO

    Rugby brotherhood on full display between three South African Rugby legends

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Former French star's 'tackle of the season attempt' goes viral

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Hilarious interaction between Simon Zebo and journalist

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

View All

Amateur

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 99 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 99 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 100 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 5 HOURS AGO

    'The nicest man in rugby' to exit Bath Rugby

  • 7 HOURS AGO

    Virimi Vakatawa to exit Bristol

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Ardie Savea scores a brace as local club benefits from world class talent

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Toulon bizarrely omit Kyle Sinkler's Bristol clips in signing video

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    The three standout players that drove England’s victory over Japan

View All