Rugby: Jonny Wilkinson sealed World Cup glory for England with last-gasp dropkick 17 year ago today


Today marks the 17 year anniversary of Jonny Wilkinson’s infamous drop goal against Australia in the Rugby World Cup final of 2003.

This was the first and only time that a northern hemisphere side achieved World Cup glory.

England went into their game with Australia as slight underdogs as Australia knocked out tournament favourites New Zealand in their semi-final clash, and Australia boasted the home advantage.

England ground out a victory against Wales in their semi-final match, setting up the clash with the host nation in the final.

The 2003 world cup final was one of the more memorable finals in Rugby World Cup history, as the two sides really put on a scintillating spectacle.

Australian winger Lote Tuiqiri crossed the line for the first try of the game giving the Wallabies the early advantage.

But England bounced back with Jason Robinson scoring an electrifying try in the corner, and with three penalties from Wilkinson, England were 14-5 up at half time.

Australia were dominant in the second half and some impressive kicking from Elton Flatley brought the game level at 14-14, taking the final to extra time.

After 97 minutes of Rugby, the game was tied at 17-17. England were in possession in the closing stages and we’re trying to work a position for their star fly-half to get a drop goal to seal the victory.

Matt Dawson’s slick dummy got England deeper into the Wallabies half, and after some astute pick and goes from England’s forwards, Dawson found Wilkinson a few metres outside the 22-metre line and executed the drop goal to perfection.

What makes this moment even more spectacular, is that the England star took the drop goal on his weaker foot.

From how Wilkinson struck the ball, you would never have assumed that unless you didn’t already know.

The whole England team were rewarded with MBE’s for their heroic efforts and captain Martin Johnson was awarded with an OBE.

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