England’s dramatic ultimate push for Rugby World Cup glory in Sydney 20 years in the past had certainly one of Clive Woodward’s favorite acronyms laced all through it.
Woodward cherished his buzz phrases and phrases – “doing 100 issues one per cent higher than the opposition” was one specific stand-out – however nothing got here near ‘T-CUP’.
Considering Accurately Under Pressure was on the very coronary heart of England head coach Woodward’s all-conquering crew, they usually delivered a masterclass throughout a nerve-shredding climax that culminated in Jonny Wilkinson’s drop-goal for the ages.
Locked 17-17 with host nation Australia because the extra-time clock ticked down, England triumphed with what they knew can be their ultimate scoring probability.
Lewis Moody acquired the ball behind a lineout, then Mike Catt ran at Australia’s defence and scrum-half Matt Dawson gained additional very important floor by slicing by a niche earlier than he was halted and have become trapped on the backside of a ruck.
Amid no sense of panic, although, England captain Martin Johnson carried possession on right into a wall of gold Australian shirts, giving Dawson time to regain his place earlier than his move discovered Wilkinson, whose profitable strike – from the fly-half’s weaker proper foot – sailed between the posts.
“I’d had a few goes earlier than which had been very a lot pot-shots, having a dig virtually,” Wilkinson advised the PA information company on the tenth anniversary of England’s World Cup triumph in 2013.
“However for this one I used to be considering that due to the place the blokes had put me, I can’t miss. This should go over.
“I knew I had hit it in such a means that it wasn’t going to be probably the most highly effective kick, nevertheless it was going to be correct. I knew from pretty early on it was going over.
“It felt like a surreal, dream-like scenario. I needed to ask ‘is that this actually taking place?’”
Mission completed meant that England turned the primary northern hemisphere nation to be topped rugby union world champions, however measuring their success precisely requires a rewind to occasions earlier than Woodward’s heroes even set foot in Australia.
In the course of the four-year World Cup cycle between South African Jannie de Beer drop-kicking England out of the 1999 match and Wilkinson’s clincher, England performed 40 Take a look at matches – and misplaced solely 5.
New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France had been crushed away from dwelling, England gained all 20 video games they performed at Twickenham throughout that point and landed three out of 4 Six Nations titles, together with a Grand Slam simply over six months earlier than a gap World Cup appointment with Georgia in Perth.
If anybody nonetheless questioned England’s pedigree, they then eliminated all doubt about world title potential with victories over New Zealand in Wellington and Australia in Melbourne because the World Cup loomed.
For these of us there to witness each twist and switch, England’s World Cup marketing campaign undoubtedly had its speed-bump moments – notably a serious quarter-final scare offered by Wales in Brisbane earlier than England prevailed 28-17 – however finally, defending world champions Australia, coached by Eddie Jones, stood between them and sporting immortality.
Whereas the ultimate may not have been a traditional in pure rugby phrases, its see-saw nature gripped an 82,957 viewers inside Stadium Australia and hundreds of thousands watching on tv worldwide, with dwelling followers impressed by the Wallabies’ stonewall refusal to buckle.
They trailed 14-5 at half-time as Jason Robinson’s strive highlighted English dominance, however Elton Flatley’s nerveless goalkicking saved Australia in rivalry and ensured further time can be required.
Wilkinson’s fourth profitable penalty put England again in entrance, just for Flatley to come back up trumps as soon as extra, however even he ran out of time following a ultimate English flourish with lower than 30 seconds left.
Finally, England may have a good time, not solely on the night time, however till Sunday dawn and past as the total magnitude of their achievement dawned. The perfect crew on the planet had gained the World Cup.
Extra spectacular scenes awaited them at Heathrow and on a victory parade by central London as British sport basked within the glow generated by Woodward’s golden technology.
“All of us mentioned to ourselves earlier than the sport that we needed to take pleasure in it, take all of it in and keep in mind it – since you most likely gained’t be again,” Leicester star Johnson recalled, as round 500 England supporters thronged the promenade exterior England’s Manly beach-front resort the day after the ultimate.
“We had been on the bus on the way in which again from the sport final night time. It was about 1.30-1.45 within the morning, the rain was coming down, it was fairly black and quiet, and we had no thought what was happening again dwelling. I’m certain we are going to discover out after we get again.
“One similarity between Leicester and Sydney is that at 5 o’clock within the morning you couldn’t get a cab, and it was pouring with rain! So I needed to stroll dwelling from the place we had been to my spouse’s resort. It took me about an hour.”
And with that, it was off to the World Rugby awards in downtown Sydney because the celebration continued – this time with no tea-cup in sight.