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Blasts from World Cups past

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A look at the World Cup over the years.

2015 NEW ZEALAND 34, AUSTRALIA 17 (TWICKENHAM)

Led by the indomitable Richie McCaw, the All Blacks became the first team to retain the title despite a spirited comeback from the Wallabies, who were down 21-3 before rallying with 14 unanswered points.

Flyhalf Dan Carter nailed a drop goal from 40 metres out and followed it up with a penalty from just inside the opposition’s half before his last-minute conversion of Beauden Barrett’s try proved to be the icing on the cake.

2011 NEW ZEALAND 8, FRANCE 7 (AUCKLAND)

It would prove to be third time unlucky for an inspired France as the All Blacks held firm finally to secure their second title on home soil.

The title was decided by a penalty from fourth choice flyhalf Stephen Donald.

2007 SOUTH AFRICA 15, ENGLAND 6 (PARIS)

In only the second try-less final, the Springboks prevented England from becoming the first side to defend their crown as fullback Percy Montgomery kicked four penalties while centre Francois Steyn added another from long range.

2003 ENGLAND 20, AUSTRALIA 17 (SYDNEY)

England’s Jonny Wilkinson and Australia’s Elton Flatley converted four penalties each in a tense 100-minute affair that went to extra-time courtesy of a last-gasp three-pointer from the Wallabies flyhalf.

It was Wilkinson who wrote his name into the history books, however, with his dramatic drop goal 26 seconds before the end of extra-time ensuring that England would become the first side from the northern hemisphere to be crowned world champions.

1999 AUSTRALIA 35, FRANCE 12 (CARDIFF)

Australia fullback Matt Burke punished French ill-discipline with seven penalties to add to his two conversions at the newly-constructed Millennium Stadium that year.

Trailing 21-12, France were still in the contest before second-half tries from winger Ben Tune and replacement forward Owen Finegan put the game out of reach to give the Wallabies their second title.

1995 SOUTH AFRICA 15, NEW ZEALAND 12 (JOHANNESBURG)

Newly-elected South African president Nelson Mandela saw the World Cup on home soil as an opportunity to unite a country torn apart by Apartheid and the Springboks duly delivered with a narrow victory over the all-conquering All Blacks.

Jonah Lomu, who had demolished opponents and led the tournament with seven tries, was stopped in his tracks by a dogged Springboks defence as Joel Stransky’s kicking took the host nation all the way.

1991 AUSTRALIA 12, ENGLAND 6 (TWICKENHAM)

The Wallabies lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time thanks to a single converted try from prop Tony Daly and two Michael Lynagh penalties.

Fullback Jonathan Webb scored two penalties for England, whose decision to ditch their forward-reliant tactics for an expansive running game backfired.

1987 NEW ZEALAND 29, FRANCE 9 (AUCKLAND)

The All Blacks laid down the marker in the very first World Cup final, dominating from start to finish as flyhalf Grant Fox’s kicking helped his team gain territory against the All Blacks time and again.

Fox finished with 17 points from four penalties, a drop goal and a conversion, with Michael Jones, skipper David Kirk and John Kirwan scoring tries while Pierre Berbizier went over for France’s only try.

Reuters