1968 Rugby League World Cup
The 1968 Rugby League World Cup tournament was the fourth staging of the Rugby League World Cup and was held in Australia and New Zealand during May and June in 1968. Contested by the men's national rugby league football teams of the two host countries plus Great Britain and France, for the first time a final to determine the World Cup was specifically pre-arranged (previous finals having only been used when teams finished level on points). Financially it was a profitable venture for the competing nations.
|Number of teams||4|
|Host countries|| Australia|
|Winner||Australia (2nd title)|
|Attendance||220,683 (31,526 per match)|
|Points scored||227 (32.43 per match)|
|Top scorer||Eric Simms (56)|
|Top try scorers|| Lionel Williamson (4)|
Ron Coote (4)
Clive Sullivan (4)
The 1968 World Cup was the first to be played under limited tackles rules, the number then being four tackles. The round 1 match between Great Britain and Australia attracted an attendance of 62,256, the highest for a World Cup match until 1992. The final was held at the Sydney Cricket Ground; a crowd of 54,290 watched Australia defeat France. The stars of the Australian team in the tournament were skipper Johnny Raper, second-rower Ron Coote, who scored spectacular tries in each and every game, and the dead-shot kicker Eric Simms, who harvested a record 25 goals (50 points).
|Sydney Cricket Ground||Lang Park||Carlaw Park|
|Capacity: 70,000||Capacity: 40,000||Capacity: 20,000|
France: J Cros; D Pellerin, M Molinier, J Lecompte, A Ferren;
Jean Capdouze, R Garrigues; G Ailleres (c), Y Begou, C Sabatie,
Francis de Nadai, Henri Marracq, J Clar.
New Zealand: R Tait; R Mincham, H Sinel, P Schultz, E Wiggs; J Bond (c), J Clarke; O Danielson, Colin O'Neil, George Smith, B Lee, J Dixon, A Kriletich; Henry Tatana.
After only twelve minutes, New Zealand second-rower Brian Lee was sent off in a match in which the classy French stand-off Jean Capdouze bagged 13 points. The game was also notable for the first World Cup substitution when Adolphe Alesina replaced second-rower Francis De Nadai.
|Australia||25 – 10||Great Britain|
Simms repeated the feat of kicking eight goals as he had in the previous match as Australia eventually killed off New Zealand at Brisbane after trailing for much of the game.
France surprised Britain in a rain-ruined match at Auckland with an uncharacteristically stubborn defensive display and winger Jean Ledru, scoring the winning try to qualify for a World Cup Final showdown against Australia.
Australia and France, having finished in first and second places respectively, qualified for the World Cup final.
The final had been billed a 'debacle' following Great Britain's inexplicable loss to France in Auckland, resulting in France contesting the final against Australia despite having been beaten by Australia seven tries to none two days prior. Nonetheless, it attracted a record crowd of 54,290 for a World Cup Final match.
10 June 1968
|Australia||20 – 2||France|
Lionel Williamson (2)
Eric Simms (4)
Jean Capdouze (1)
The undefeated Australians went into the tournament decider as favourites. However France offered stern resistance and held the Australians to 0–7 at half-time and with quarter of an hour were only 0–12 down before losing 2–20. It was Australia's second World Cup title.
- McCann, 2006: 83
- 1968 RLWC Australia vs Great Britain
- "Rugby league debacle". The Age. 10 June 1968. p. 21. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
- Kdouh, Fatima (28 November 2013). "We take a look back at the greatest Rugby League World Cup finals of all time". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 December 2013.