Sunday 17 December 2017 / 03:08 PM

THROWBACK THURSDAY: SAILOR KICKS OFF ’03 RWC IN STYLE

Australia hosts Argentina in Perth on Saturday night in what shapes as a tense Rugby Championship showdown, with the Wallabies in a rebuild phase and the Pumas on the improve.

Throwback Thursday is reliving a classic encounter between the nations, back when Australia was near the top of the world rugby pile – the 2003 World Cup opener in Sydney.

The Wallabies ultimately got away with a hard-fought 24-8, two-tries-to-one win in front of 81,350 fans at Stadium Australia, with the undisputed highlight the first try of the tournament.

The hosts’ backline featured George Gregan and Stephen Larkham in the halves, Elton Flatley and Matt Burke in the midfield, and a back-three consisting of Joe Roff and league converts Wendell Sailor and Mat Rogers – and that star-studded contingent all featured prominently in a spectacular passage of play in the 20th minute.

Sailor started it off with a courageous take of a Pumas chip kick and finished it off with a powerful tackle-busting in the corner 60 metres up field.

Plucky Argentina pegged the score back to 17-8 with a 72nd-minute try, but Roff sealed the result with a superb solo five-pointer two minutes later as the Wallabies began their march to the 2003 RWC final.

[YouTube – Madforrugby99]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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