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Watch: Jonny Wilkinson's complete performance in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final

By Online Editors

Jonny Wilkinson’s 2003 Rugby World Cup final like you’ve never seen it before. All of Jonny Wilkinson’s key events in both attack and defence, that show why this is the greatest ever performance by a 10 in a World Cup final. 


Dan Carter’s performance in the 2015 World Cup final to secure the All Blacks the win over the Wallabies was a sublime performance that ultimately probably rates second to Jonny Wilkinson’s 2003 showing.

The difference between the two is the load that sat on Wilkinson’s shoulders as England’s driving force and the match circumstances that unfolded that forced the game into overtime, thus putting more pressure on Wilkinson to deliver.

The English flyhalf was targeted endlessly by the Wallabies attack, running midfield carries from first phase to test Jonny and perhaps tire him out. Stirling Mortlock pounded the 10-channel with little success, with Wilkinson hanging on to save his side on a number of occasions.

The game plan from England was clear, to take three’s at every opportunity which lead to multiple drop goal attempts during the match whenever England had a decent launch platform inside Australia’s half.

Wilkinson kicked four from five off the tee but actually missed his first three drop goal attempts, with each spraying wide off the mark considerably.

When tasked with kicking the winning drop goal with little time remaining in the second half of overtime, Wilkinson hadn’t landed one yet. All the more compelling is the kick was made right-footed, his secondary kicking leg.


“I’d had a couple of goes before which were very much pot shots, having a dig almost,” he told Press Association Sport in 2013.

“But for this one I was thinking that because of where the guys had put me, I can’t miss….this must go over. I almost remember feeling like ‘the others drifted wide but this one will go over’.

“I knew I’d hit it in such a way that it wasn’t going to be the most powerful kick, but it was going to be accurate. I knew from fairly early on it was going over.

Wilkinson kicked 113 points made up of 23 penalties, 10 conversions and eight drop goals and was named player of the tournament after the World Cup win.



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