1995 Rugby League World Cup

The 1995 Rugby League World Cup was held during October in the United Kingdom. It was the eleventh staging of the Rugby League World Cup and was marketed as the Halifax Centenary World Cup, reflecting the tournament's sponsorship and the fact that 1995 marked the centenary of the sport. Envisaged as a celebration of rugby league football,[1] the size of the competition was doubled, with four additional teams invited and Great Britain split into England and Wales (Scotland and Ireland took part in the Emerging Nations Tournament that was held alongside the World Cup.)

1995 (1995) Rugby League World Cup  ()
1995 World Cup logo
Number of teams10
Host country United Kingdom
Winner Australia (8th title)

Matches played15
Attendance265,609 (17,707 per match)
Points scored718 (47.87 per match)
Top scorerAustralia Andrew Johns (62)
Top try scorerAustralia Steven Menzies (6)

The tournament had been preceded by doubts and pessimism; many feared that it would produce one-sided-matches that would be unattractive to supporters. The forthcoming Super League war also hung over the tournament, with the Australian Rugby League refusing to select players who had signed for the rival competition.[2]

In the event, the fears proved unfounded, and the tournament was acclaimed a great success.[3][4] Although many early matches did prove as one-sided as feared, fans still flocked to see newer rugby league nations such as Fiji, Tonga, Western Samoa and South Africa. Large home crowds for the group involving Wales proved particularly encouraging for the sport.

For the 1995 tournament, a £10,000 cup was made by Tiffanys to celebrate the centenary of the game.[5]

The final between Australia and England drew a crowd of 66,540 to Wembley Stadium. Australia won the tournament, their eighth World Cup win and fifth in succession.


Ten teams competed in the Centenary World Cup: Australia, England, Fiji, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Tonga, Wales and Western Samoa.[6] It was the first time since the 1975 World Series that the Great Britain team was split into England and Wales. Fiji, South Africa, Tonga and Western Samoa were all making their World Cup débuts.[7]

A sore point for the tournaments organisers was that Australia was missing a large portion of their best players, a number of whom had been Kangaroo Tourists the previous year, due to the Super League war and the ARL's refusal to select Super League aligned players.[8] Australia's win in the end with what many considered to be a second-string side was seen as a blow to the rebel Super League organisation, with which every other nation was aligned.[9]

In light of the ARL's stance on not selecting players who had signed with Super League, Canberra Raiders players Laurie Daley, Ricky Stuart, Bradley Clyde, Steve Walters and Brett Mullins, won a court order against the ARL making SL players eligible for representative games. However, despite assurances from the ARL that all players were considered, it came as no surprise when only ARL loyal players made the Kangaroos World Cup squad. As one unnamed ARL official allegedly said, the court decision only forced the ARL to consider Super League players, they were not forced select them. As the list of players considered for the squad was never made public by the ARL it remains unknown how many, if any, SL players were actually considered for World Cup selection with rumours persisting that no SL player was actually given any consideration.


The games were played at various venues in England and Wales.

Wembley Stadium in London was the host stadium for the opening ceremony and match featuring hosts England and defending champions Australia. Wembley, England's national stadium, would also host the Final of the tournament.

  London   Trafford   Wigan   Cardiff
Wembley Stadium Old Trafford Central Park Ninian Park
Capacity: 82,000 Capacity: 35,000 Capacity: 28,000 Capacity: 21,508
Locations of the 1995 Rugby League World Cup host venues in England and Wales
Alfred McAlpine Stadium Headingley
Capacity: 20,000 Capacity: 20,000
  St. Helens   Gateshead
Knowsley Road Gateshead International Stadium
Capacity: 17,500 Capacity: 11,800
  Swansea   Hull   Warrington   Keighley
Vetch Field The Boulevard Wilderspool Stadium Cougar Park
Capacity: 11,500 Capacity: 10,500 Capacity: 9,200 Capacity: 7,800


Group stageEdit

Group AEdit

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Qualification
  England 3 3 0 0 112 16 +96 6 Advances to knockout stage
  Australia 3 2 0 1 168 26 +142 4
  Fiji 3 1 0 2 52 118 −66 2
  South Africa 3 0 0 3 12 184 −172 0
7 October
England   20 – 16[10]   Australia
Try: Farrell, Joynt, Robinson, Newlove
Goal: Farrell (2)
Try: Menzies (2), Coyne
Goal: Wishart (2)
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 41,271[11]
Referee: Stuart Cummings (England)
8 October
Fiji   52 – 6[12]   South Africa
Try: Sovatabua (2), Seru (2), Nadruku, Taga, Sagaitu, Marayawa, Naisoro, Dakuitoga
Goal: Nayacakalou (3), Taga (3)
Goal: van Wyk (3)
Cougar Park, Keighley
Attendance: 4,845
Referee: David Manson (Australia)
10 October
Australia   86 – 6[13]   South Africa
Try: Hopoate (3), McGregor (2), A. Johns (2), D. Moore (2), O'Davis (2), Kosef, Raper, Dymock, Smith, Brasher
Goal: A. Johns (11)
Try: Watts
Goal: van Wyk
Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead
Attendance: 9,181
Referee: Russell Smith (England)
11 October
England   46 – 0[14]   Fiji
Try: Robinson (2), Radlinski, Bentley, Broadbent, Haughton, Smith, Newlove
Goal: Farrell (4), Goulding (3)
Central Park, Wigan
Attendance: 26,263
Referee: Dennis Hale (New Zealand)
14 October
Australia   66 – 0[15]   Fiji
Try: Dallas (3), O'Davis (3), Menzies (2), Hill (2), Brasher, Larson
Goal: A. Johns (9)
McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield
Attendance: 7,127
Referee: Eddie Ward (Australia)
14 October
England   46 – 0[16]   South Africa
Try: Pinkney (2), Haughton, Goulding, Sampson, Broadbent, Radlinski, Smith
Goal: Goulding (7)
Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds
Attendance: 14,041
Referee: David Manson (Australia)

Group BEdit

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Qualification
  New Zealand 2 2 0 0 47 30 +17 4 Advanced to knockout stage
  Tonga 2 0 1 1 52 53 −1 1
  Papua New Guinea 2 0 1 1 34 50 −16 1
8 October
New Zealand   25 – 24[17]   Tonga
Try: Blackmore (2), Hoppe, Kemp, Okesene
Goal: Ridge (2)
Drop: Ridge
Try: Wolfgramm, Taufa, Veikoso, Finau
Goal: Amone (4)
Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington
Attendance: 8,083
Referee: David Campbell (England)
10 October
Papua New Guinea   28 – 28[18]   Tonga
Try: Lam, Paiyo, Buko, Gene, Solbat
Goal: Paiyo (4)
Try: Guttenbeil (2), Howlett, Wolfgramm, Liku, Taufa
Goal: Amone (2)
The Boulevard, Hull
Attendance: 5,121
Referee: Claude Alba (France)
13 October
New Zealand   22 – 6[19]   Papua New Guinea
Try: Ridge, Blackmore, Hoppe
Goal: Ridge (4), Ngamu
Try: Bai
Goal: Paiyo
Knowsley Road, St Helens
Attendance: 8,679
Referee: Stuart Cummings (England)

Group CEdit

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Qualification
  Wales 2 2 0 0 50 16 +34 4 Advanced to knockout stage
  Western Samoa 2 1 0 1 66 32 +34 2
  France 2 0 0 2 16 84 −68 0
9 October
Wales   28 – 6[20]   France
Try: Sullivan (3), Harris, Devereux
Goal: Davies (3), Harris
Try: Torreilles
Goal: Banquet
Ninian Park, Cardiff
Attendance: 10,250
Referee: Eddie Ward (Australia)
12 October
Western Samoa   56 – 10[21]   France
Try: Tuigamala (2), Matautia (2), Tatupu (2), Swann, P. Tuimavave, Laumatia, Perelini
Goal: Schuster (8)
Try: Chamorin, Cabestany
Goal: Banquet
Ninian Park, Cardiff
Attendance: 2,173
Referee: Kelvin Jeffs (Australia)
15 October
Wales   22 – 10[22]   Western Samoa
Try: Harris, Sullivan, Ellis
Goal: Davies (4)
Drop: Davies, Harris
Try: Matautia
Goal: Schuster (3)
Vetch Field, Swansea
Attendance: 15,385
Referee: Russell Smith (England)


England as expected defeated reigning European Champions Wales in their Semi-final at Old Trafford. The other Semi at Huddersfield almost produced a boil over. After defeating New Zealand 3–0 in the Trans-Tasman Test series earlier in the year, and with the Kiwis lackluster form in their Group B games, Australia was expected to easily account for Frank Endacott's side, but the Kiwis found form and the game ended 20–all at the end of 80 minutes. However, 20 minutes of extra time saw Australia skip away to a 30–20 win to book their place in the Final at Wembley.

21 October
England   25–10[23]   Wales
Try: Offiah (2), Newlove, Betts, Clarke
Goal: Farrell, Goulding
Drop: Goulding
Try: Phillips
Goal: Davies (3)
Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 30,042
Referee: Eddie Ward (Australia)
Man of the Match: Bobbie Goulding (England)
22 October
Australia   30–20 (AET)[24]   New Zealand
Try: Menzies (2), Brasher, Coyne, Hill, Fittler
Goal: A. Johns (3)
Try: Barnett, T. Iro, K. Iro
Goal: Ridge (4)
Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield
Attendance: 16,608
Referee: Russell Smith (England)
Man of the Match: Brad Fittler (Australia)


The Australians had reached the final after a hard-fought 30–20 Semi-final win over New Zealand at the McAlpine Stadium which had gone into extra time after the score was locked at 20-all after 80 minutes. Their opponents and tournament host England, had an easier time defeating Wales 25–10 in their Semi at Old Trafford.[25] Even though they were favoured to win, Australia went into the final having lost three of their past four games at Wembley (the only win being the World Cup final of 1992), and had already lost the opening match of the tournament there to the English. Also, due to the ARL's policy of not selecting Super League aligned players, the Kangaroos went into the game with 11 of their 17 players under the age of 24. Although considered mostly a 'second string' team without the likes of Laurie Daley, Ricky Stuart, Andrew Ettingshausen, Steve Renouf, Steve Walters and Glenn Lazarus, most of the Kangaroos had played in the 3–0 whitewash of New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman series earlier in the year.[26] Kangaroos captain and five-eighth Brad Fittler and fullback Tim Brasher were the only members of Australia's 1992 World Cup Final win over Great Britain at Wembley,[9] with both players in the same positions as they had been three years previously.

England's captain Shaun Edwards ruled himself out of the final with an infected knee.[27] Despite almost being ruled out of the tournament with pneumonia, St Helens centre Paul Newlove was selected by coach Phil Larder for starting line-up in the final. Larder also handed the captaincy to veteran test forward Denis Betts. With the former Wigan back rower now playing for the Auckland Warriors in the Australian premiership, his selection as captain created history as he became the first player to captain England while not currently playing in the British competition.[28]

After winning in 1992, Australian coach Bob Fulton became just the second coach (after Harry Bath) to win two Rugby League World Cups. It was Fulton's 5th World Cup win after also winning in 1968, 1970 and 1975 as a player. Coincidentally, Fulton's coach in the 1968 and 1970 World Cup Finals was Harry Bath.

Status Quo performed the pre-match entertainment.

28 October 1995
England   8 – 16   Australia
Paul Newlove

Bobby Goulding (2/3)
[29] Tries:
Rod Wishart
Tim Brasher
Andrew Johns (4/6)
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 66,540
Referee: Stuart Cummings  
Man of the Match: Andrew Johns  
FB 1   Kris Radlinski
RW 2   Jason Robinson
RC 3   Gary Connolly
LC 4   Paul Newlove
LW 5   Martin Offiah
SO 6   Tony Smith
SH 7   Bobbie Goulding
PR 8   Karl Harrison
HK 9   Lee Jackson
PR 10   Andy Platt
SR 11   Denis Betts (c)
SR 12   Phil Clarke
LF 13   Andy Farrell
IC 14   Barrie-Jon Mather
IC 15   Mick Cassidy
IC 16   Nick Pinkney
IC 17   Chris Joynt
  Phil Larder
FB 1   Tim Brasher
LW 2   Rod Wishart
RC 3   Mark Coyne
LC 4   Terry Hill
RW 5   Brett Dallas
FE 6   Brad Fittler (c)
HB 7   Geoff Toovey
PR 8   Dean Pay
HK 9   Andrew Johns
PR 10   Mark Carroll
SR 11   Steve Menzies
SR 12   Gary Larson
LK 13   Jim Dymock
IC 14   Robbie O'Davis
IC 15   Matthew Johns
IC 16   Jason Smith
IC 17   Nik Kosef
  Bob Fulton


England won the coin toss and Australia's Andrew Johns kicked off the match. In England's first set with the ball Australia were penalised for their skipper Brad Fittler's high tackle on Andrew Farrell. From the resulting good field position England were able to force a line drop-out and get another set of six in Australia's half of the field. At the end of the set, Radlinski put up a high kick, which Australia's fullback Tim Brasher failed to secure and Australia were penalised for regathering the ball when off-side. Bobbie Goulding kicked the penalty goal from fifteen metres out, giving his side a 2 – 0 lead.[30] From Australia's resulting kick-off, the English players couldn't secure the ball and it was regathered by the Kangaroos deep in the opposition half. On the last tackle of the ensuing set, Johns at first receiver put a chip kick into the left-hand corner of England's in-goal area where winger Rod Wishart dived in and got a hand on it,[31] giving Australia the first try of the match in the seventh minute.[32] Johns then converted the try from the touch-line and the Kangaroos were leading 2 – 6.[33] A few minutes later England were penalised around the centre of the field and Johns attempted the kick at goal but missed. With the game now swinging from end to end, Johns conceded a penalty close to the goal posts and Goulding's kick bounced off the uprights but went in,[30] so England were trailing 4 – 6 by the eighteenth minute. A few minutes later England conceded a penalty in front of their goal posts and Johns kicked Australia to a 4 – 8 lead. Shortly after that England winger Martin Offiah made a break down along the left sideline and was contentiously ruled to have been taken over the sideline by a desperate Tim Brasher tackle as he threw the ball back into the field for Paul Newlove to toe ahead and dive on, though television replays suggested that Offiah had managed to release the ball before he went into touch.[25] After a high shot from Andy Farrell on Mark Carroll, Johns kicked another penalty giving Australia a 4 – 10 lead at the thirty-minute mark. Just before the half-time break England conceded another penalty in the ruck but Johns' kick missed so the score remained unchanged at the break.[34]

Second half

After making their way into good attacking field position, England played the ball ten metres out from Australia's goal-line where centre Paul Newlove at dummy-half ran the ball at the defence forced his way through to score in the left corner.[35] The sideline conversion attempt by Goulding missed so England trailed 8 – 10 after five minutes of the second half.[25] Around the ten-minute mark the game was interrupted by a topless female streaker.[36] The play continued swinging from one end of the field to the other, with neither team able to capitalise on their scoring opportunities for the next twenty minutes. Australian interchange player Jason Smith was blood binned and had to return to the bench. A few minutes later the Kangaroos had made their way deep into England's half when, on the last tackle, the ball was moved through the hands and eventually flicked passed back from Johns as he was being tackled to the feet of Brasher who kicked it ahead to the try-line.[35] Both fullbacks then scrambled to get to the ball and the referee ruled that Brasher had grounded it, awarding Australia a try.[25] Johns converted the try so Australia lead 8 – 16 with just over ten minutes remaining. England forward Karl Harrison then had to come off the field with an injured arm. A few minutes from full-time Australian forward Mark Carroll was sent to the sin-bin for an infringement in the ruck. The remainder of the match extended into additional injury time but was played with no further points so Australia retained the World Cup with an 8 – 16 victory and their fifth consecutive world title.

21-year-old Andrew Johns was named man-of-the-match.[37] Kangaroos coach Bob Fulton had named the young half as the team hooker, and he did indeed pack into the scrums. However Johns played at halfback in general play with Geoff Toovey having the dummy-half duties, necessary because Toovey had actually injured his neck during the tournament and simply could not pack into the front row in the scrums.[7]

Following the match Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex presented Kangaroos captain Brad Fittler with the Cup and each of the players with medals.[9][34] During the 1990 Kangaroo Tour, an 18-year-old Fittler had reportedly broken protocol when he had said "G'day dude" to Prince Edward's father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh when the team had met the Duke as part of the tour. History allegedly repeated itself as Fittler was heard to say "Thanks dude" to Prince Edward when receiving the World Cup on the Wembley balcony.

Team of the tournamentEdit

The following players were selected as the 1995 World Cup "Team of the Tournament"[citation needed]

No. Position Player
1   FB Iestyn Harris
2   WG Jason Robinson
3   CE Paul Newlove
4   CE Richard Blackmore
5   WG Anthony Sullivan
6   FE Brad Fittler
7   HB Adrian Lam
No. Position Player
8   PR Mark Carroll
9   HK Lee Jackson
10   PR David Westley
11   SR Denis Betts
12   SR Steve Menzies
13   LK Andy Farrell

Try scorersEdit



  1. ^ Menzies, Steve; Tasker, Norman (2008). Beaver: The Steve Menzies Story. Australia: Allen & Unwin. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-74175-560-2.
  2. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1 October 1995). "Celebration a slow burn". The Independent. London: independent.co.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  3. ^ "1995 Rugby League World Cup". gillette4nations.co.uk. Rugby League International Federation. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
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  5. ^ "A history of the Rugby League World Cup". St Helens Star. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
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  8. ^ Richard, de la Riviere. "The Golden Boot: The Missing Years – 1995". totalrl.com. League Publications. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
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  10. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 222. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  11. ^ Wilson, Andy (4 November 2011). "Wembley Rugby League internationals – in pictures". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  12. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 223. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  13. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 224. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  14. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 225. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  15. ^ Hadfield, Dave (15 October 1995). "Rugby League World Cup: Flying Fittler floors Fiji". The Independent. London. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  16. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 228. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  17. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 231. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  18. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 232. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  19. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 233. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  20. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 236. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  21. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 237. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  22. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 238. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  23. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 241. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
  24. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1996). Rothman's Rugby League Yearbook 1996. p. 242. ISBN 978-0747-27767-5.
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  27. ^ "A fear of failure spurs Australia". The Age. 27 October 1995. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  28. ^ Hadfield, Dave (28 October 1995). "Connolly returns as England gamble". The Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  29. ^ 1995 World Cup Final
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External linksEdit