1995 Rugby World Cup

The 1995 Rugby World Cup was the third Rugby World Cup. It was hosted and won by South Africa, and was the first Rugby World Cup in which every match was held in one country.

1995 Rugby World Cup
Rugbywêreldbeker 1995
Tournament details
Host nation South Africa
Dates25 May – 24 June (31 days)
No. of nations16 (52 qualifying)
Final positions
Champions Gold medal blank.svg South Africa (1st title)
Runner-up Silver medal blank.svg New Zealand
Third place Bronze medal blank.svg France
Tournament statistics
Matches played32
Attendance938,486 (29,328 per match)
Top scorer(s)France Thierry Lacroix (112)
Most triesNew Zealand Jonah Lomu
New Zealand Marc Ellis
(7 tries each)

The World Cup was the first major sporting event to take place in South Africa following the end of apartheid. It was also the first World Cup in which South Africa was allowed to compete; the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB, now World Rugby) had only readmitted South Africa to international rugby in 1992, following negotiations to end apartheid. The World Cup would also be the last major event of rugby union's amateur era; two months after the tournament, the IRFB opened the sport to professionalism.

In the final, held at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 24 June, South Africa defeated New Zealand 15–12, with Joel Stransky scoring a drop goal in extra time to win the match. Following South Africa's victory, Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa, wearing a Springboks rugby shirt and cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to the South African captain François Pienaar.


Africa Americas Europe Oceania/Asia

The eight quarter-finalists from the 1991 Rugby World Cup all received automatic entry, as did South Africa, as hosts. The remaining seven of the 16 positions available in the tournament were filled by regional qualifiers. The qualifying tournaments were broken up into regional associations: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Côte d'Ivoire qualified through Africa, Japan through Asia, Argentina through the Americas, Italy, Romania and Wales through Europe, Tonga through Oceania.




The 1995 tournament was the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted by just one country, and thus, all the venues are within the one country. South Africa were given the rights to host the tournament in 1993, after a meeting between the IRB and both the government led by F. W. de Klerk and the African National Congress.[1] In total, nine stadiums were used for the World Cup, most being owned by local municipalities, and the majority of the venues were upgraded prior to the tournament. Six of the nine stadiums were South African Test grounds. The four largest stadiums were used for the finals, with the final taking place at Johannesburg's Ellis Park.

There were games originally scheduled to have been played in Brakpan, Germiston, Pietermaritzburg and Witbank, but these games were reallocated to other venues. This reduced the number of venues from 14 to 9. The reasons cited for this change had to do with facilities for both the press and spectators, as well as the security. The change in the itinerary occurred in January 1994. Further changes occurred in April, so that evening games were played at stadiums with good floodlighting. It is also thought that Potchefstroom was an original venue.

Venues were paired:

  • Pool 1: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Stellenbosch
  • Pool 2: Durban and East London
  • Pool 3: Johannesburg and Bloemfontein
  • Pool 4: Pretoria and Rustenburg
Johannesburg Pretoria Cape Town
Ellis Park Loftus Versfeld Newlands
Capacity: 60,000 Capacity: 50,000 Capacity: 50,000
Durban Bloemfontein Port Elizabeth
Kings Park Stadium Free State Stadium Boet Erasmus Stadium
Capacity: 50,000 Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 38,950
Rustenburg East London Stellenbosch
Olympia Park Basil Kenyon Stadium Danie Craven Stadium
Capacity: 30,000 Capacity: 22,000 Capacity: 16,000

Pools & formatEdit

Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D

  South Africa

  Western Samoa

  New Zealand

  Ivory Coast

The tournament was contested by 16 nations using the same format that was used in 1987 and 1991 and in total 32 matches were played. The competition began on 25 May, when the hosts South Africa defeated Australia 27–18 at Newlands in Cape Town. The tournament culminated with the final between South Africa and the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 24 June. In total, the tournament ran for thirty days. The nations were broken up into four pools of four, with each pool consisting of two teams that were automatically qualified and two that went through the qualifying tournaments.

Points systemEdit

The points system that was used in the pool stage was unchanged from 1991:

  • 3 points for a win
  • 2 points for a draw
  • 1 point for playing

Knockout stageEdit

Pool winners were drawn against opposite pool runners-up in the quarter-finals. For example, the winner of A faces the runner up of B, and the winner of B face the runner-up of A. The whole finals stage adopts a knock-out format, and the winners of the quarter-finals advance to the semi-finals, where winner 1 faces winner 2, and winner 3 faces winner 4. The winners advance to the final, and the losers contest a third/fourth place play-off two days before the final.

A total of 32 matches (24 pool stage & 8 knock-out) were played throughout the tournament over 30 days from 25 May to 24 June 1995.

Pool stageEdit

Pool AEdit

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
  South Africa 3 3 0 0 68 26 9
  Australia 3 2 0 1 87 41 7
  Canada 3 1 0 2 45 50 5
  Romania 3 0 0 3 14 97 3
25 May 1995
South Africa   27–18   Australia
Try: Hendriks
Con: Stransky
Pen: Stransky (4)
Drop: Stransky
Try: Kearns
Con: Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 44,778
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

26 May 1995
Canada   34–3   Romania
Try: Charron
Con: Rees (2)
Pen: Rees (4)
Drop: Rees
Pen: Nichitean

30 May 1995
South Africa   21–8   Romania
Try: Richter (2)
Con: Johnson
Pen: Johnson (3)
Try: Gurănescu
Pen: Ivanciuc
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Ken McCartney (Scotland)

31 May 1995
Australia   27–11   Canada
Try: Lynagh
Con: Lynagh (3)
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Try: Charron
Pen: Rees (2)

3 June 1995
Australia   42–3   Romania
Try: Smith
Roff (2)
Con: Burke (2)
Eales (4)
Pen: Ivanciuc
Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Attendance: 15,542
Referee: Naoki Saito (Japan)

3 June 1995
South Africa   20–0   Canada
Try: Richter (2)
Con: Stransky (2)
Pen: Stransky (2)

Pool BEdit

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
  England 3 3 0 0 95 60 9
  Western Samoa 3 2 0 1 96 88 7
  Italy 3 1 0 2 69 94 5
  Argentina 3 0 0 3 69 87 3
27 May 1995
Italy   18–42   Western Samoa
Try: Vaccari
Con: Dominguez
Pen: Dominguez
Drop: Dominguez
Report Try: Lima (2)
Harder (2)
Con: Kellett (3)
Pen: Kellett (2)

27 May 1995
Argentina   18–24   England
Try: Arbizu
Con: Arbizu
Pen: Arbizu (2)
Pen: Andrew (6)
Drop: Andrew (2)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

30 May 1995
Western Samoa   32–26   Argentina
Try: Lam
Con: Kellett
Pen: Kellett (5)
Try: Penalty try
Con: Cilley (2)
Pen: Cilley (4)

31 May 1995
England   27–20   Italy
Try: R. Underwood
T. Underwood
Con: Andrew
Pen: Andrew (5)
Try: Cuttitta
Con: Dominguez (2)
Pen: Dominguez (2)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 45,093
Referee: Stephen Hilditch (Ireland)

4 June 1995
Argentina   25–31   Italy
Try: Martin
Penalty try
Con: Cilley
Pen: Cilley
Try: Vaccari
Con: Dominguez (2)
Pen: Dominguez (4)

4 June 1995
England   44–22   Western Samoa
Try: R. Underwood (2)
Penalty try
Con: Callard (3)
Pen: Callard(5)
Drop: Catt
Try: Sini (2)
Con: Fa'amasino (2)
Pen: Fa'amasino
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Patrick Robin (France)

Pool CEdit

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
  New Zealand 3 3 0 0 222 45 9
  Ireland 3 2 0 1 93 94 7
  Wales 3 1 0 2 89 68 5
  Japan 3 0 0 3 55 252 3
27 May 1995
Japan   10–57   Wales
Try: Ota (2)
Try: G. Thomas (3)
I. Evans (2)
Con: N. Jenkins (5)
Pen: N. Jenkins (4)

27 May 1995
Ireland   19–43   New Zealand
Try: Corkery
Con: Elwood (2)
Try: Lomu (2)
Con: Mehrtens (3)
Pen: Mehrtens (4)
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 38,000
Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

31 May 1995
Ireland   50–28   Japan
Try: Francis
Penalty try (2)
Con: Burke (6)
Pen: Burke
Try: Latu
Con: Yoshida (4)

31 May 1995
New Zealand   34–9   Wales
Try: Ellis
Con: Mehrtens (2)
Pen: Mehrtens (4)
Drop: Mehrtens
Pen: N. Jenkins (2)
Drop: N. Jenkins
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

4 June 1995
Japan   17–145   New Zealand
Try: Kajihara (2)
Con: Hirose (2)
Pen: Hirose
Report Try: Ellis (6)
Rush (3)
Wilson (3)
R. Brooke (2)
Osborne (2)
Con: Culhane (20)

4 June 1995
Ireland   24–23   Wales
Try: Halvey
Con: Elwood (3)
Pen: Elwood
Try: Humphreys
Con: N. Jenkins (2)
Pen: N. Jenkins (2)
Drop: A. Davies
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Ian Rogers (South Africa)

Pool DEdit

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
  France 3 3 0 0 114 47 9
  Scotland 3 2 0 1 149 27 7
  Tonga 3 1 0 2 44 90 5
  Ivory Coast 3 0 0 3 29 172 3
26 May 1995
Ivory Coast   0–89   Scotland
Try: G. Hastings (4)
Logan (2)
Walton (2)
Con: G. Hastings (9)
Pen: G. Hastings (2)
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Felise Vito (Western Samoa)

26 May 1995
France   38–10   Tonga
Try: Lacroix (2)
Con: Lacroix (3)
Pen: Lacroix (3)
Drop: Delaigue
Try: Vaʻenuku
Con: Tu'ipulotu
Pen: Tu'ipulotu
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: Steve Lander (England)

29 May 1995
France   54–18   Ivory Coast
Try: Lacroix (2)
Con: Deylaud (2)
Lacroix (2)
Pen: Lacroix (2)
Try: Soulama
Con: Kouassi
Pen: Kouassi (2)
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Han Moon-Soo (South Korea)

29 May 1995
Scotland   41–5   Tonga
Try: S. Hastings
G. Hastings
Con: G. Hastings
Pen: G. Hastings (8)
Try: Fenukitau
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 21,000
Referee: Barry Leask (Australia)

3 June 1995
Ivory Coast   11–29   Tonga
Try: Okou
Pen: Dali (2)
Try: Penalty try
Con: Tu'ipulotu (3)
Pen: Tu'ipulotu
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Don Reordan (United States)

Three minutes into the match between Ivory Coast and Tonga, the Ivorian winger Max Brito was crushed beneath several other players, leaving him paralysed below the neck.[2]

3 June 1995
France   22–19   Scotland
Try: Ntamack
Con: Lacroix
Pen: Lacroix (5)
Try: Wainwright
Con: G. Hastings
Pen: G. Hastings (4)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 39,000
Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

Knockout stageEdit

10 June – Ellis Park, Johannesburg
  South Africa42
17 June – Kings Park Stadium, Durban
  Western Samoa14
  South Africa19
10 June – Kings Park Stadium, Durban
24 June – Ellis Park, Johannesburg
  Ireland 12
  South Africa (a.e.t.)15
11 June – Newlands, Cape Town
  New Zealand12
18 June – Newlands, Cape Town
11 June – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
  New Zealand45 Third place
  New Zealand48
22 June – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria


10 June 1995
France   36–12   Ireland
Try: Saint-André
Con: Lacroix
Pen: Lacroix (8)
Pen: Elwood (4)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

10 June 1995
South Africa   42–14   Western Samoa
Try: Williams (4)
Con: Johnson (3)
Pen: Johnson (2)
Try: Tatupu
Con: Fa'amasino (2)
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 54,169
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

11 June 1995
England   25–22   Australia
Try: T. Underwood
Con: Andrew
Pen: Andrew (5)
Drop: Andrew
Report Try: Smith
Con: Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh (5)
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 35,448
Referee: Dave Bishop (New Zealand)

11 June 1995
New Zealand   48–30   Scotland
Try: Little (2)
Con: Mehrtens (6)
Pen: Mehrtens (2)
Try: Weir (2)
S. Hastings
Con: G. Hastings (3)
Pen: G. Hastings (3)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 28,000
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)


17 June 1995
South Africa   19–15   France
Try: Kruger
Con: Stransky
Pen: Stransky (4)
Pen: Lacroix (5)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 49,773
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

18 June 1995
England   29–45   New Zealand
Try: Carling (2)
R. Underwood (2)
Con: Andrew (3)
Pen: Andrew
Report Try: Lomu (4)
Con: Mehrtens (3)
Pen: Mehrtens
Drop: Z. Brooke
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 43,414
Referee: Stephen Hilditch (Ireland)

Third-place play-offEdit

22 June 1995
France   19–9   England
Try: Olivier Roumat
Pen: Lacroix (3)
Pen: Andrew (3)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 44,000
Referee: Dave Bishop (New Zealand)


The final was contested by New Zealand and hosts South Africa. Both nations finished undefeated at the top of their pools. South Africa defeated Western Samoa in the quarter-finals, and then France in the semi-finals to reach the final; New Zealand defeated Scotland in the quarter-finals, and England in the semi-finals, a game in which Jonah Lomu famously scored four tries for the All Blacks. The final was played at Ellis Park in Johannesburg and refereed by Ed Morrison of England. To this point, New Zealand had led the tournament in production, outscoring their opponents 315–104, while South Africa had outscored their opponents 129–55. The tight Springbok defence would keep the high scoring All Blacks in check – particularly Jonah Lomu and Marc Ellis, who had already scored a then World Cup record seven tries each in the tournament – with neither team scoring a try in the match.

South Africa led 9–6 at half time, and New Zealand levelled the scores at 9–9 with a drop goal in the second half. Though Andrew Mehrtens almost kicked a late drop goal for the All Blacks, the score remained tied at full-time, forcing the game into extra time. Both teams scored penalty goals in the first half of extra time, but Joel Stransky then scored a drop goal to win the final for South Africa.

What happened after the match has become an iconic moment in the history of the sport. Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok rugby jersey and cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to South African captain François Pienaar to the delight of the capacity crowd. The moment is thought by some to be one of the most famous finals of any sport.[3]

24 June 1995
South Africa   15–12 (a.e.t.)   New Zealand
Pen: Stransky (3)
Drop: Stransky (2)
Report Pen: Mehrtens (3)
Drop: Mehrtens
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 59,870
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)


The tournament's top point scorer was France's Thierry Lacroix, who scored 112 points. Marc Ellis and Jonah Lomu scored the most tries, seven in total.

Top 10 point scorers
Player Team Position Played Tries Conv­ersions Penal­ties Drop goals Total points
Thierry Lacroix   France Fly-half 6 4 7 26 0 112
Gavin Hastings   Scotland Full-back 4 5 14 17 0 104
Andrew Mehrtens   New Zealand First five-eighth 5 1 14 14 3 84
Rob Andrew   England Fly-half 5 0 5 20 3 79
Joel Stransky   South Africa Fly-half 5 1 4 13 3 61
Michael Lynagh   Australia Fly-half 3 2 5 9 0 47
Simon Culhane   New Zealand First five-eighth 1 1 20 0 0 45
Neil Jenkins   Wales Fly-half 3 0 7 8 1 41
Diego Domínguez   Italy Fly-half 3 1 5 7 1 39
Marc Ellis   New Zealand Wing 5 7 0 0 0 35
Jonah Lomu   New Zealand Wing 5 7 0 0 0 35


The event was broadcast in Australia by Network Ten and in the United Kingdom by ITV.

Commemorative coinsEdit

The South African Mint issued a one-ounce gold proof "Protea" coin with a total mintage of 406 pieces to commemorate the event being hosted by South Africa.

Popular cultureEdit

Mandela and Pienaar's involvement in the World Cup is the subject of the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, its 2009 film adaptation Invictus, and the ESPN TV documentary The 16th Man in 2010.


  1. ^ Carlin, John (14 August 2008). Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation. Penguin Press. p. 113. ISBN 978-1594201745.
  2. ^ Irwin, Pirate (4 October 2007). "Max Brito at end of tether after 12-year struggle". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Rugby World Cup history". BBC. 7 October 2003. Retrieved 7 October 2006.

External linksEdit

External video
  Rugby World Cup 1995: Pool A - Australia v South Africa on YouTube