Within the first instalment of a World Cup collection, SA Rugby journal seems again on the inaugural match in 1987, which was hosted and gained by New Zealand.

Rugby union has at all times been resistant to alter, and the introduction of a World Cup was no completely different. The primary opposition to the idea was from the Residence Unions (England, Eire, Scotland and Wales) who regarded themselves because the guardians of the sport.

Nevertheless, in 1985 members of the Worldwide Rugby Soccer Union (IRFU) have been requested to vote on a proposal to ascertain a ‘world rugby cup’.

As Gerald Davies explains in The Historical past of the Rugby World Cup, this was a call that had been a very long time coming. The IRFU was first approached by two firms within the early Eighties. Each have been rejected. In 1983, one other two proposals have been turned down.

In 1984, Australia and New Zealand submitted separate proposals, which have been rejected. However they ultimately determined to affix forces and made one other submission to the board in 1985, which proposed holding the primary match in 1987 so it wouldn’t conflict with the Olympics, Commonwealth Video games or Fifa World Cup.

The Rugby World Cup obtained the inexperienced mild from six member international locations (together with South Africa, who knew they wouldn’t be capable to participate resulting from apartheid), whereas Eire and Scotland voted in opposition to it.

In contrast with current World Cups, the 1987 match was a small occasion. Solely 604 500 followers attended matches (in contrast with over 2.4 million in 2015) and 300 million watched on TV (in contrast with 857 million in 2019).

The primary World Cup was additionally devalued by the absence of the Springboks, who had overwhelmed the New Zealand Cavaliers 3-1 in a four-match collection the 12 months earlier than. Though it’s unimaginable to know the way they’d have executed, the Boks would have been anticipated to succeed in the ultimate, if not win it.

With no severe challengers, the All Blacks cruised to the inaugural title, smashing France 29-9 within the Eden Park last.

New Zealand arrived in Auckland as large favourites, having scored 269 factors to 43 of their earlier 5 video games and having run in 40 tries to a few. Buck Shelford had managed the pack expertly from the again of the scrum, whereas captain David Kirk led the backline at scrumhalf.

Each performed an enormous half within the last, but it surely was flyhalf Grant Fox who dominated the sport with a 17-point haul. Flank Michael Jones, Kirk and winger John Kirwan scored the hosts’ tries, with scrumhalf Pierre Berbizier scoring France’s solely attempt within the final minute.

For sheer drama, the most effective recreation of the 1987 World Cup was France’s 30-24 semi-final win in opposition to the Wallabies in Sydney. With full time approaching and the groups locked at 24-24, France counter-attacked and the ball was handed by way of a number of fingers to the legendary Serge Blanco. The fullback, who was carrying an harm, went for the nook, dived over and famously threw his head again in celebration.

Within the different semi-final, in Brisbane, Wales have been thrashed 49-6 by the All Blacks, however recovered nicely to beat the Wallabies 22-21 within the playoff for third place in Rotorua.

The Welsh had reached the ultimate  4 by beating arch-rivals England 16-3 and will replicate on a fairly profitable marketing campaign.

1987 Participant of the Event

Michael Jones made his All Blacks debut throughout the 1987 World Cup, having performed a Take a look at for Samoa the 12 months earlier than. The flanker was at his good greatest throughout the match with ball in hand and on the breakdown.

He scored the primary World Cup attempt in New Zealand’s 70-6 thrashing of Italy and grabbed the primary attempt of the ultimate after Grant Fox’s drop kick had been charged down. The All Blacks free forwards overpowered the French that day, with Jones the standout performer.

Sadly, Jones’ profession was to be badly affected by harm (he performed 55 Exams out of a attainable 90). He was additionally overlooked of the 1995 World Cup squad due to his refusal to play on Sundays as he’s a religious Christian.

1987 Playoff outcomes

New Zealand 30 Scotland 3
Australia 33 Eire 15
France 31 Fiji 16
Wales 16 England 3

France 30 Australia 24
New Zealand 49 Wales 6

Third-place playoff
Wales 22 Australia 21

New Zealand 29 France 9

By Simon Borchardt

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