On this day in 2003: Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal gives England World Cup glory

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Jonny Wilkinson’s extra-time drop goal gave England a dramatic 20-17 win over Australia in the World Cup final at Stadium Australia on this day in 2003.

The Wallabies led from the sixth minute when Lote Tuqiri outjumped Jason Robinson to score the game’s first try following a sensational cross-field kick from fly-half Stephen Larkham.

Wilkinson kicked two penalties, in the 11th and 20th minutes, to put England into a 6–5 lead and added a third in the 28th minute to make it 9–5.

Robinson then finished off a flowing attacking move to slide over at the corner for his side’s only try two minutes before the break and, although Wilkinson missed the conversion, England led 14-5 at half-time.

England celebrate their 2003 World Cup triumph
England and Jonny Wilkinson celebrate with the Webb Ellis trophy after winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup (PA Images)

Elton Flatley pulled back three points with a penalty seven minutes into the second half after the England scrum was penalised by referee Andre Watson and Wilkinson failed with two drop-goal attempts.

The misses began to look costly when Flatley kicked two further penalties, in the 61st and 80th minutes to level the scores and take the final into extra time.

Wilkinson and Flatley traded penalties as the score remained locked at 17–17 but England regained possession from a Mat Rogers kick and won the line-out to advance deep into Australian territory after a Matt Dawson line break.

There were just 26 seconds left on the clock when Wilkinson kicked a right-footed drop goal to clinch a 20-17 victory and deliver England their first World Cup triumph.

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