There's no doubt that the World Cup of 2007 will always be remembered as being one of the best tournaments to date. The level of competition was outstanding from the start, and continued throughout the tournament with some much publicised close encounters that astounded the most educated of rugby fans the world over.
In celebration of the best moments in the World Cup, we now present you with Rugbydump's Team Tries of the Tournament.
When compiling the list of the Top 5 candidates, we went for tries that were clear standouts in terms of brilliant interchanging passing, outstanding finishing, and of course that x-factor that will make you remember them for years to come.
These are our top five. Which is your number one? View the Rugbydump Individual Tries of the Tournament here.
With a brilliant rugby World Cup having just finished, it's now time for the much anticipated latest installment of the widely acclaimed Try Savers & Rib Breakers.
In this edition we feature some classic clips from the 2007 tournament, some of which you may have seen before on here, others that are totally new.
It also features a few extras from previous tournaments that are bound to stir the memory banks.
So sit back, relax, tell the boss you're having a 5 minute break, and enjoy these bone crunchers from possibly one of the best World Cup's to date.
Thanks for staying true to the original and best Rugby videos archive, Rugbydump.com. Participate in the community and post your comment below letting us know what you think of this edition of Try Savers & Rib Breakers.
JP Pietersen has never been renowned for his defensive prowess. Still a youngster, a few years ago he may have been singled out by coaches or opposition players as a flamboyant player with ball in hand, but on defence he was a little leaky. Some would say very leaky.
But, when Fiji were at their most dangerous against the Springboks in the Quarter Final, JP pulled off a vital tackle that will forever be looked back on by Fijians and South Africans alike. A tackle that, at that stage in the match with Fiji looking absolutely deadly, may have just saved the Boks' outcome that day and possibly changed the course of rugby history forever.
Yes, it was just one tackle some may say. But it was a tackle that was made by a 85kg wing on a 120kg lock that had just inches between the ball, the tryline, and most importanly for the Springboks, the William Webb Ellis trophy.
We can speculate all we like, but the truth is that if Pietersen had given big Ifereimi Rawaqa that extra inch he needed to score, Fiji would have then scored 3 tries in the space of about eight minutes, and with the Boks' heads down they may well have gone on to cause another upset and knock the men in green and gold out of the World Cup. This was no ordinary tackle.
"That tackle was like I was tackling five guys in one. He was huge and moving," said Pieterson.
"I just closed my eyes and tried to hit as hard as possible.
"I guess I was lucky that he was carrying the ball in the wrong hand. When I tackled him I put my eyes on the ball. I knew when I tackled him and pushed him over that I'd got the ball.
Definitely one of the most important Defining Moments of the tournament.
I've chosen this as a defining moment not because it changed the outcome of the tournament as such. What it did show however is the Argentinian attitude towards the French, and perhaps all opponents they came up against.
By not giving an inch and fronting up to the big men, Argentina showed that there is perhaps no place for intimidation in rugby anymore. This attitude combined with some exceptionally talented players got them to their prestigious third place in the tournament.
The tackle itself is questionable, and Leguizamon did get carded for it. It's up for debate though as some people will say he used his arms and others will say it was a definate shoulder. Sebastien Chabal also looked to perform somewhat of a spectacularly exagerated dive after contact.
There's no doubt it was a massive hit either way, and for sticking the iconic hard man of French rugby on his backside, this will be a 2007 World Cup moment thats lasts in the memory for years to come.
In the first of a series of Defining Moments from the 2007 World Cup, we take a look at a moment that could have perhaps changed the outcome of the tournament if it hadn't happened.
In a game where France were in most peoples minds the favourites, the victory for England in the Semi Final of 2007 may well have had a different outcome if it weren't for a courageous, desperate effort of a tap tackle by flanker Joe Worsley.
A cross kick from Yannick Jauzion was brilliantly tapped inside by the French number eight Julien Bonnaire to winger Vincent Clerc who charged for the line unopposed. Worsley came out of nowhere to ankle tap the flying Clerc, who in all likelyhood would have scored if it were not for the timely intervention by the big English flanker.
Clerc fell to the ground and popped the ball to the menacing Sebastien Chabal who proceded to bulldoze his way to the line. English guts and sheer determination stopped him a meter short and resulted in the try being saved.
"I was over the moon I could help out and make a difference," said Worsley. "I had to get on my bike to catch him."
"He would have won any foot race so my only chance was to knock him off balance. I just dived and got a bit of his leg. It is what games are won and lost on."
Bernard Laporte said the French could have won if not for that ankle tap in the 68th minute.
“That was the turning point. If we had scored, the game would have been over and we would be in the final,” said Laporte.
In a tight and tense affair in Paris on Saturday night, the Springboks came out on top to claim the William Webb Ellis trophy back from England - the trophy that they first won 12 years ago at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
In a game that was dominated by penalties, top points scorer of the world cup Percy Montgomery slotted four out of four, with young Francois Steyn successful at his second attempt from just inside the half way line.
Wilkinson didn't have as big an impact as it was talked up to be for England, only getting two kicks over and missing two drops.
The Boks dominated the lineout early on which put pressure on the English, although they came back well in that department. In the other set piece phase of the game, the scrum, England commanded the Boks' respect as they really put the heat on.
CJ van der Linde and the Boks soon rectified the situation though and competed well throughout the game against the powerful English front row.
English center Matthew Tait had a few great runs, one of which saw Victor Matfield making a try saving tackle just meters short. The ball was quickly recycled though and spun out wide to Mark Cueto who dived over the line under the close attention of big Danie Roussouw for what looked like a try.
Replay after replay were shown to TMO Stuart Dickinson, and after looking at it one last time in super slow mo, it was clear that the tip of Cueto's boot had scraped the white line, therefore ruling out the try.
It will no doubt be an incident that will be talked about for years to come. If you're English, you'll say it was a try. If you're South African or neutral, his foot scraped the line and it wasn't a try. To harp on about it would be foolish, as nothing will change it now.
It certainly wasn't a bad decision as the video footage is there for all to see. It was extremely close and could have gone either way. The majority of people will agree that it is fair to say that the line was touched.
I'll get the clip up here soon for you guys to discuss, dissect, and scrutinize.
The reality is that the team of the tournament won on the day. The Springboks were a lot of people's favourites from day one, and looked determined to complete their four year plan under coach Jake White. And they did just that. The didn't lose a game in the tournament and on the team have the top try scorer of the tournament and the top points scorer.
Bryan Habana was also last night handed the prestigious IRB Player of the Year award.
England on the other hand put up a tremendous fight and halfway through the World Cup nobody would have believed they'd be there. Hats off to Phil Vickery and the boys. Slated by their press, they came back well and for that deserve to be applauded, respected and commended. True guts and self belief will get you very far in life, and in this case, in rugby.
To South Africa and the Springboks, we've waited long for this and the scenes of nationwide unity on Saturday night around the country brought a tear to my eye. For a country torn apart by racial divide in the past, we came together as one to celebrate the greatest victory of them all. Congratulations to the new World Champions.
Final Score: 15 - 6 to South Africa
So Far Away - Stained The tournament is over, but we'll continue to post great World Cup footage from all teams, including Tries of the Tournament, funny incidents, and other video compilations. Currie Cup, Air New Zealand Cup, the Guiness Premiership, Magners League and French League's footage will all be covered in the upcoming months also, as well as other classic clips from around the world.
Argentina ended their World Cup last night in the same way that they started it - by beating hosts France in Paris.
The Third Place Playoff game is never an easy one for players to motivate themselves for. Both teams had just been knocked out in the Semis a week ago, and to get themselves up for this one is a big ask.
Last night though both teams came out firing. The game was as intense as any World Cup encounter should be, and we saw some running rugby from both teams, which at times has been scarce in this tournament.
Argentina were just too strong though once again, and made their World Cup tally for this year 2-0 against the French. The win in Paris helped them to claim the Bronze Medal and more importantly, the tremedous achievement of coming third in the World Cup.
Throughout the tournament Argentina have been a revelation. They started well and kept that up for all their matches, the only hiccup being the Semi Final game against the finalists South Africa.
Argentina have once again made their mark on world rugby. They've done all they can. It's now up to the IRB to work out some way for them to be included in a prestigious international tournament, which will no doubt grow the game and contribute to bringing through the next generation of Argentinian greats.
Remember this World Cup for the Argentinian spirit. Remember this group of players. They have made history for their country and perhaps, have changed the internationl rugby pecking order forever. Time will tell, but for now, congratulations Los Pumas. You're an inspiration to us all and should be very, very proud of what you've achieved.
It doesn't get any bigger than this. The World Cup Final is upon us. On Saturday night in Paris we will see the champions of the world crowned.
I was going to say that we will see a new World Champion, but will we? If England win it tomorrow night it will be the first time that a team has ever won the World Cup on consecutive occasions, a great achievement.
The Springboks however, who are most pundits favourites after their 36-0 drubbing of England earlier in the tournament, will fancy their chances and will be hoping to repeat the successs of the 1995 tournament victory.
The group stage meeting between the two sides probably won't have a whole lot of bearing on Saturday nights final in Paris. The hero of 2003 Jonny Wilkinson wasn't playing. He hasn't had the best tournament by his high standards, but he somehow always seems to make a vital penalty or dropkick when it matters.
The English side also have a lot more belief in themselves now and will fancy their chances against a powerful Bok team that are unbeaten so far. Former Wallaby coach and current technical advisor to the Sprinboks, Eddie Jones, feels that we still haven't seen the best of the men in green and gold. They're an extremely well balanced side with strong forwards and speedy, talented backs.
If England were to win the World Cup again it would be an incredible achievement, considering everything that has happened for them since 2003, and in this tournament particularly, when they were written off so early on as nohopers. To come back from the pasting they took in the media and back home would be admirable to say the least.
South Africa on the other hand have been building up to this since coach Jake White took over in 2004. White was adament who his captain should be - John Smit - and he brought players like Percy Montgomery and Os Du Randt back into the Springbok fold.
John Smit himself was at Ellis Park for the famous final back in 1995 when South Africa last won the cup. He was there as a 17 year old schoolboy though, who had hitch-hiked from Pretoria with a mate to get to the game. He watched big Os Du Randt give it his all, and celebrated with the rest of the country at the final whistle, on a day that united a nation.
So, will Smit be celebrating again, this time in Paris with his hero Os, or will the likes of former World Cup winners Robinson and Wilkinson be the heros on the night?
We have a great final ahead of us. Lets hope it's a spectacle and the team that chances their arm wins it. Then again, it's a final - you don't get any prizes for the most attractive rugby. All you need to do is win, and if history tells us anything, we may well see a winning drop goal decide it.
This is a pretty funny clip. It points out how the English trainer listened in on Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore's conversation with referee Alain Rolland (not Kaplan as the analyst says in the clip) at half-time.
The trainer not only listened to what they were talking about, but made an effort to have it transmitted to the rest of the England staff, and more importantly, coach Brian Ashton.
Now, I doubt Moore and the Rolland were plotting a plan to stop Wilkinson from getting his drop goals over, or discussing tactics that could have changed the game, but it's still pretty funny to see the England trainer getting in so close and being able to eavesdrop on the conversation.
Who knows, maybe he did learn something from it and that contributed to England's dominance in the scrums? You never know. Still, pretty comical.
In a game that was touted to possibly throw up another upset, the Springboks performed well to brush aside Argentina and reach only their second World Cup Final since 1995, the year they won it.
Scoring four tries in total, the South African side absorbed the tremendous pressure of the Argentinian scrum to take control of the game and lead 24-6 at half time.
The Argentinian backs weren't threatening enough, with star player Juan Martin Hernandez having a below par game. One of his dropped balls actually led to a flowing string of Springbok passing that saw Danie Roussouw, eventual man of the match, dive over for the try.
Bryan Habana scored a brace, with his first being an absolute gem. Getting the ball from some quick passing from the Boks, Habana had his opposite number as well as the cover defence to get passed. He chipped it in an instant and flew past them, colliding with one and being held back by another, his determination got him through the traffic and he collected the ball from the perfect bounce to score one of the better individual efforts of the tournament. He equalled the great Jonah Lomu's World Cup try scoring record of eight, and now stands a chance to better that in Saturday's final.
Habana scored again from a well timed intercept and flew away, similar to Fourie Du Preez who also scored from an intercept.
Argentina scored one try, which was awarded extremely quickly by the ageing TMO 'Spreaders' despite the fact that neither of the two angles he looked at were conclusive.
The underdogs just weren't good enough on the day, despite the huge strides they've made in world rugby. They've gained a huge amount of respect though and on a few occasions looked dangerous, more than proving that they deserve to be there.
The Sprinboks weren't as clinical and error free as they would have hoped, but by putting pressure on the opposition and finishing off the chances they got, they did the job required on the day. They still have a lot more in the tank, and if they come out firing and play to their strengths against England, we may well see them being crowned as champions of the world for the second time.
England got off to an early start in their Quarter Final clash with France on Saturday night in Paris with this try by left wing Josh Lewsey, scored after only 78 seconds.
With an 80 000 strong crowd, probably being divided equally between English and French supporters, England started well when Gomersall chipped ahead for Lewsey to chase. Lewsey himself, who timed his run perfectly, would have been as shocked as everyone when French fullback Damien Traille hesitated and let the ball bounch up straight into Lewsey's arms.
Traille looked like he was waiting for the ball to go over the touch line, but, as we know in rugby, you can never rely on the bounce of the ball. Lewsey grabbed it and stormed over the top of the fullback to score the try, getting up to give him a cheeky little tap on the head afterwards, almost saying 'You messed up mate'.
Great start to England. The rest of the game was played at a high tempo with good pace, but it soon turned into a game of ping pong, with neither side willing to chance their arm and have a crack at spreading the ball wide.
In the end, this was France's downfall in my opinion. 2003 World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson put England into the lead with 6 minutes left after France were penalised for a high tackle on Jason Robinson.
Three minutes later, Wilkinson did what he does best, and slotted an excellent 35 meter drop-goal to seal the victory, thus knocking out the host nation and putting his team into their second consecutive World Cup final.
On a historic day in Lens back in 1999, Argentina pulled off one of the biggest World Cup upsets to date, knocking Ireland out of the tournament through typical Argentinian guts and determination, forcing Ireland out of the World Cup.
Argentina's incredible defence under tremendous pressure in the closing minutes of the game is what we feature here.
And as we now sit a day away from possibly Argentina's greatest and most important match in their rugby history, the 2007 World Cup Semi Final against the Springboks, we think about the possibilities of Argentina going on to claim what they've been working so hard for, and I dont just mean the respect and recognition of the IRB.
In this years tournament they've gone unbeaten, notching up a record of four out of four matches in the group stages. They've claimed the scalps of France, Ireland, Namibia, Georgia and then Scotland in the Quarters. Argentina are no longer a team of underdogs. These guys need to taken seriously and given the opportunity to grow by being brought into an international competition such as the Six Nations or the southern hemisphere's Tri Nations.
With their success on the field we'll hopefully now see some action being taken by the IRB in the not too distant future.
South African head coach Jake White sees the debate as yet another factor to drive Argentina to success in their semi-final against his team on Sunday.
"They are not just playing for the rugby world cup, they are playing for rugby in Argentina. Everyone knows they are looking for opportunities to play internationally and keep their players on top," he said.
Back in 1999 it was a shock result that surprised many. Nowadays, the Argentinians have a real belief in themselves and expect to win the big games. They still rely a lot on passion and pride, but they do now have seasoned individuals that are of top quality in terms of the world game.
Their forward pack are arguably the toughest in the game, and in their backs, particularly their halfback combination, they have players blessed with all the natural talent they could ask for.
Los Pumas now have the opportunity for a spot in the world cup final, with the only thing standing in their way being the mighty South Africans. Expect an extremely grueling physical battle up front, matched hopefully by some fantastic skills and running from the talented Argentinian and Springbok backs.
With both sides having reached the Semi Finals with narrow wins against Southern Hemisphere giants, England and France are both one step away from the World Cup final.
For England, their supporters will be over the moon as based on previous performances they never would have expected it. England have come to the party though, and lets not forget that they are the current World Champions after all.
France on the other hand have the expectations of a nation on their shoulders, which could have a great positive effect on the side, or the pressure to perform will be too much for them.
Don't count on seeing an expansive game if thats what you were hoping for. Both sides have excellent forward packs and will no doubt battle it out up front, with their respective quality kickers have pot shots at goal and exchanging penalties.
Personally I think France have the edge, but if this world cup has shown us one thing, it's that you should always expect the unexpected.
Enjoy this compilation clip of previous England vs France encounters as we count down to the crunch game tomorrow evening in Paris.
With the Wallabies out of the World Cup, we say goodbye to two great players that marked an era of Wallaby success that included a World Cup win in '99, success in the Tri Nations, and Super 14 dominance with the Brumbies for many years.
One of the best halfback pairings for a long time, Stephen Larkham and George Gregan were practically an institution at the Brumbies and the Wallabies. So much so that Chris Whitaker, Gregan's understudy at international level, is the most capped player to start off the bench.
Larkham was unfortunately injured for most of the tournament, which I feel played a huge role in the Australian machine not being able to fire on all cylinders on saturday. Without Larkham and Gregan working their magic for a final time, we sadly bid farewell to the maestros that partnered eachother 78 times at international level.
For fourteen years of service to Wallaby and international rugby, George Gregan will not be seen again in the gold jersey and that is understandably difficult for him, especially ending it the way they did on saturday.
Often misunderstood and disliked by the opposition fans, Gregan will be remembered not only for his commanding scrumhalf play, but as one of the great gentleman of the game who always acted with respect and dignity off the field.
In this exclusive interview from rugby.com.au, George Gregan, the most capped international player ever, speaks about the dissapointment of losing this vital match. He also reflects on what went wrong, and the emotions involved in playing his final game for his country.
"The aspect of sport that you learn is that you have your good times and your bad times, but you share it with great people."
So where did it all go wrong for the All Blacks in their crunch Quarter Final encounter with the French on the weekend?
It started with the toss of a coin to decide who would wear the alternate kit. New Zealand lost it, and due to France's extremely dark blue kit that is very similar to the traditional All Black kit (coincidence?), the favourites were forced to wear their pajama grey jerseys with black shorts.
Most players would tell you it didn't phase them, but deep down you can be sure they felt just a bit awkward. After all, the foundation of All Black dominance, intimidation and history is based on that famous black jersey.
With the formalities out the way and kick off seconds away, France lined up to accept the Haka. But instead of standing in their own half, normally on the 10m line (or if you're Italian, huddled in a circle hoping it would just go away!), France stood firmly on the half way line, inches away from their New Zealand counterparts.
The look on some of the All Blacks' faces was priceless, and you could see they were just a little put out.
The confrontation was classic, with a large amount of eyeballing and stare downs, even after they'd finished. In my opinion, France certainly got the most out of the traditional challenge.
They knew that if they stood a chance against the All Blacks they'd have to stand up to them from the beginning and not be intimidated.
"We talked about it three days ago," France captain Raphael Ibanez told a press conference. "It was not a provocation but we wanted to show them that we are proud.
"We feel a great respect for the New Zealanders but today the courage and pride of this team made the difference."
And a difference it surely made, with the French sensationally knocking the tournament favourites out and sending Paris into raptures.
No one can deny that the flashes of brilliance we saw from the Pacific Island teams in France have been a breath of fresh air and great for the game. But I don't think anyone can criticize referee Alan Lewis or the judiciary for taking action on some clearly illegal play.
Of course, big tackles are part of the game and we all love them here at Rugbydump. There is however a line that players must be punished for if they choose to step over it. The citing's at this years World Cup have been plentiful and inconsistent at times, but at least the IRB are making a point of dangerous play.
The first incident here involves a perfectly legal tackle on Schalk Burger that stops the try and is actually great defence. Once again, Schalk not offloading when he should, but thats another discussion altogether.
It was a very impressive, hard, double tackle dislodging the ball and keeping the Boks out.
You'll notice that the supporting Springbok Danie Rossouw doesn't touch the ball but still manages to get a blatant swinging arm in the face from the Fijian cover defender, flyhalf Seremaia Bai. He wasn't punished on the field, but was cited later and now faces a one week ban. This is basically a stiff arm punch to the face and is probably no worse than a traditional punch. But, one week is what they say so we can't argue it can we. What we can do is ask for consistency though.
Seru Rabeni has had his fair-share of golden moments in the contact situation in this World Cup, against Australia, for example. He fails to impress Butch James with this hit though, as he attempts to jolt the South African fly-half into next week with a body-check as James off-loads the ball. Butch James gets some air with the impact of the ferocious Fijian's shoulder. Rabeni, however, gets 10 minutes in the bin and rightfully so.
If a team like Fiji could eliminate this element of their game they would no doubt be a dominant force in world rugby and one of the most exciting teams around.
In years gone by Jonny Wilkinson has developed a reputation as possibly the hardest hitting number ten in world rugby. Memories of Luke McAllister running straight over Irish stand-off Ronan O'Gara in the 2006 NZL vs IRE Test create a rather delicate image for fly-halves. That simply isn't the case with Wilko, however.
Wallaby captain Stirling Mortlock is by no means a small centre. He's probably one of the biggest at international level actually. In saturdays Quarter Final 'upset', Jonny Wilkinson equals him in the challenge, stopping him in his tracks thus defusing a potential Australian counter-attack. It is somewhat of a rarity seeing a centre run at a flyhalf and not making it over the gain-line.
It would've taken a brave man to put money on England pulling off a victory over the Wallabies, but with Jonny's predatory-like defensive work, accurate goal kicking, and a dominant pack of gorillas up front, the England vs France Semi Final could be more even than most people are forecasting, with the World Champions looking like they're coming back to form at the right time.
Jonny has had a bit of trouble with this World Cup ball, and has complained that they're using replicas on the practice field. But in the big games, surely he would still be the man you would bet your house on when it comes to taking vital kicks or slotting a winning drop.
Against Wales Fiji produced one of the performances of the tournament by knocking the Welsh out with some fantastic displays of running rugby.
It was much of the same against South Africa yesterday, giving the Boks a serious scare by scoring twice in 5 minutes during a period that must have made the Springboks wonder if they would be joining their Tri Nations counterparts on a plane home.
Fiji looked extremely dangerous whenever they got the ball and at one stage, at 20-20, it looked as though we could have another massive upset on the cards.
The Springboks came back though, showing experience and calm heads, to win the game 37-20.
Fiji have shown once again that Second Tier teams can most certainly compete against traditional Tier One countries if given the opportunity.
Not may would have picked Fiji to come second in their group. But, through their naturally skilled runners and their big, hard working forwards, they managed to surprise everyone, and on another day may have just sent the Boks home prematurally.
With Seru Rabeni off for a high tackle, the Fijians played above themselves to score two of the most memorable tries of the tournament. Springbok coach Jake White joked afterwards that perhaps with only 14 players on the field they felt that they were two Sevens teams and thats what made them that strong.
Fijian captain Mosese Rauluni, who had a fantastic game and tournament, had this to say.
"I'm so proud of the boys, it just goes to show that some of the Second Tier teams can put it to the First Tier teams," Rauluni said.
"All I asked of the boys was to give it their all and they did. They gave it for their country, their families and their friends, they sacrificed time away.
"We had some upsets yesterday and we hoped to add to that, but unfortunately we couldn't do it. Now it is up to South Africa and Argentina to carry the flag for the Southern Hemisphere," he added.
On Saturday night the All Blacks got knocked out of the tournament by France, and as some will say, by a forward pass. Regardless, France will play England in the Semi Final next weekened and probably without key flanker Serge Betsen due to a concussion.
Betsen got knocked out in the opening stages of the match from what looked like an accidental collision. We've taken a close look at the footage and picked up on something that, although not 100% conclusive, looks very incriminating to me.
Now, despite the fact that New Zealand wont play any further part in this World Cup, we thought we'd bring it to your attention, more for discussion and awareness than anything else.
Joe Rokocoko cleaned up a messy lineout and charged into Serge Betsen. France's defensive powerhouse Betsen was left "out like a light" on the floor.
At first glance it looks like he copped an accidental elbow while making the tackle. A look at the alternate replay angle provided in the video reveals that Betsen appeared to be getting to his feet. Then, watch his head as Keith Robinson enters the picture.
A player blocks a full view of the incident, but Betsen collapsing back to the ground and Robinson's fist sends a pretty clear picture.
Decide for yourself.
UPDATE 11/10/07: I still feel theres a possibility of it being a closed hand punch/push which forced Betsen onto his own players knee, but thats my opinion and I'm only one of 5000 people that visit here everyday.
So, if you disagree thats cool, you're probably right. Opinions are like assholes - everyones got one, and we all think that everyone elses stinks.
Was it a forward pass? Yes it was. But referee's aren't perfect, far from it at times. All Black supporters will understandably not accept that though.
But in all games there are bad decisions made by refs, and if you watch as a neutral you'll often find that the majority of the time by the end of the match both sides had a pretty even share of poor calls.
That said, the reffing at this tournament has been pretty poor.
However, the reality is that the mighty All Blacks are now out of the World Cup.
Memories of 1999 resurfaced as France hit back after the break, after conceding a try and missing a few penalties in the first forty. New Zealands most dangerous player on the night Luke McAllister got put in the bin for New Zealand, which didn't help their cause and France applied the pressure. Thierry Dusatoir crossed for France, but Rodney So'oialo matched him with a try of his own from the pick and drive.
Enter the stage Freddie Michalak. The man who, when at the top of his game, is majestic to watch. Almost instantly and with his first touch of the ball he sniped through from that now infamous dubious pass.
Either way, his turn of speed and communication with Jauzion resulted in the try for the French and a day that will forever be remembered for the day that two of the top three sides in the world got knocked out of the tournament unexpectedly. Final Score: 20-18
In 1999 the All Blacks were completely dominant in every match they played at the World Cup. They were looking like the best side in the world and were odds on favourites to take the cup.Tonight we see a repeat of the classic '99 match between France and the All Blacks.
And halfway into the match they looked in control. Jonah Lomu was at his ultimate best, pounding the French whenever he got the ball. His two tries are absolute classics, beating numerous players with his speed, stepping and most of all, brute strength.
France came back though, and through some inspirational play and typical French flair, defeated the undefeatable and knocked out the best team in the world. A sensational result that shook the rugby world and was touted by some as the greatest World Cup upset of all time.
Fast forward eight years to the present. The All Blacks are once again looking invincible. They've once again played the best rugby and set the standard of world rugby, probably for the past 15 years. And once again, people are saying that the men in black are odds on favourites.
As for the French, they've started slow this year and had a hiccup against Argentina in the opening game. They came back strong though and found their straps against Namibia and Ireland. Unfortunately for the host nation they won't be playing in France tonight - the game is in Cardiff for some reason.
An interesting note is that after a coin toss which New Zealand lost, France will be wearing their dark blue and the All Blacks will be wearing grey.
That, combined with the unpredictable French flair could mean that we may see a repeat of that 1999 Semi final classic. For the neutral it's a very interesting prospect indeed.
With a couple of hours left before kick off in the Australia vs England Quarter Final of this years tournament, I've realised that there is one very important video that I still don't have in this extensive archive - the 2003 World Cup Final.
Four years ago England were a team that had been built up over a few seasons by their astute coach Sir Clive Woodward. In a leader they had the uncompromising Martin Johnson, and in a flyhalf they had the best player in the tournament - Jonny Wilkinson.
All the ingredients were right for a historical occasion, and with a mix of great play and tremendous courage, England lifted the trophy on that eventful day at the Telstra Stadium in Sydney.
Jason Robinson scored an absolute classic in the corner from a pinpoint pass from Wilkinson, and then right at the end of injury time, Jonny Wilkinson slotted a dropkick with his right foot (he's naturally left footed) to put England in the lead and allow captain Martin Johnson to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy for the first time in England's history.
So when the same two teams meet today at the Stade Velodrome in their crunch quarter final clash, the first game of the knockout stages, will England be able to repeat history and beat the Aussies? Or will the wily Wallabies get some revenge and send the World Champions packing.
With England not on top form in this years tournament, a betting man would say Australia will be too strong. England have suffered a lot of unfortunate injuries of late and Australia are looking strong as usual.
But, lets not forget that England do have World Cup winners in their side. Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Jason Robinson all know what it's like to taste victory on the big occasion. As does George Gregan for Australia of course.
Whatever the result, it's going to be a cracking match and could have a great bearing on the outcome of the tournament.
With the group stages of the World Cup over and the Quarter Finals of the tournament starting this weekend, we take a look back at some of the stars of the first round.
They came to the World Cup as nobodies. Not many of them play top flight rugby and the majority are amateurs. One thing is certain though, they left the greatest tournament in the world with their heads held high.
These doctors, plumbers, shop owners and school teachers took to the field against men who literally get paid to play rugby, full time. Men who spend most days of the week in the gym and are on intensive fitness and skills training programs. And yet, this bunch of amateurs we've come to know as the 'Minnows' have fronted up and in some cases, struck real fear into the hearts of the top teams.
We've all been thoroughly entertained and enamoured by these players that have given there all and sacrificed a great deal to represent their respective beloved countries. In the process they've made the world sit up and take notice of them.
As in the past with previous traditional minnows Argentina, Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji, these sides will one day grow if given the opportunity.
What some of us don't realise is that these are not the bottom of the bottom in terms of world rugby. These teams qualified for the tournament, with some very competitive qualifying stages in each of their parts of the world. So they've earned their place. And now, the IRB want to cut the tournament down to 16 teams in 2011.
I think I speak for all when I say we want to see these teams and these players in New Zealand in four years time.
Please show your support by leaving a comment and maybe mentioning your favourite minnow moment of the tournament. If you have a contact at the IRB, do your part to make a change by sending them the link.
Fuelling the Flame by CRASHCARBURN (formerly Tweak)
If you've been on another planet for the past few days you may not have heard of this guy. So let me introduce you to the young man the entire rugby world has been talking about - Takudzwa Ngwenya.
Otherwise known as Z, Ngwenya is the 22 year old Zimbabwean born flyer who, on Sunday night against the Springboks left Bok speedster Bryan Habana for dead, scoring a fantastic USA Eagles try that will live long in the memory as a World Cup classic.
Z not only finished off a length of the field break that started with Todd Clever's intercept, but he also did something that to my knowledge no other man has ever done on the international stage - he ran around Bryan Habana.
And since then, the phonecalls haven't stopped, with him already having been approached by two English clubs. A move to Europe looks on the cards for sure.
Radiologist Ngwenya is modest about the moment of the World Cup so far.
"I was thinking of kicking but then I thought I would try and get him to stop, and then gas him out wide," Ngwenya said. "And he did stop. It's not that I'm fast, I just got him to stop so that worked pretty well. I knew he would be annoyed. If I got beaten by a slower person, I'd be annoyed."
"He (Habana) is the best winger in the world," Ngwenya said. "I was intimidated every time he got the ball. If you look at the video or saw the game live, I was just yelling 'come on, come on'. I was intimidated. I didn't want to leave him one on one with me - and luckily I didn't."
Ngwenya describes the two speedsters' meeting after the match: "He just said, 'Nice job', and 'Sorry about the bump'.
"Sorry about the bump" referring to the headclash that between them early in the second half.
All in all, a great match and nice to see the USA being so actively involved in the World Cup. For the first time they look to have a true rugby superstar, who scored a try that will not be forgotten any time soon and will hopefully raise the status of the odd balled game in the US.