In the first of a series of Defining Moments from the 2007 World Cup, we take a look at a moment that could have perhaps changed the outcome of the tournament if it hadn’t happened.
In a game where France were in most peoples minds the favourites, the victory for England in the Semi Final of 2007 may well have had a different outcome if it weren’t for a courageous, desperate effort of a tap tackle by flanker Joe Worsley.
A cross kick from Yannick Jauzion was brilliantly tapped inside by the French number eight Julien Bonnaire to winger Vincent Clerc who charged for the line unopposed. Worsley came out of nowhere to ankle tap the flying Clerc, who in all likelyhood would have scored if it were not for the timely intervention by the big English flanker.
Clerc fell to the ground and popped the ball to the menacing Sebastien Chabal who proceded to bulldoze his way to the line. English guts and sheer determination stopped him a meter short and resulted in the try being saved.
“I was over the moon I could help out and make a difference,” said Worsley. “I had to get on my bike to catch him.”
“He would have won any foot race so my only chance was to knock him off balance. I just dived and got a bit of his leg. It is what games are won and lost on.”
Bernard Laporte said the French could have won if not for that ankle tap in the 68th minute.
That was the turning point. If we had scored, the game would have been over and we would be in the final, said Laporte.