As the Wallabies prepare to take on Eddie Jones’ England side at Twickenham this weekend, Throwback Thursday marks 30 years since the old enemies’ clash at the 1987 World Cup.
The vital pool match at Sydney’s Concord Oval was the first of the tournament played in Australia, after co-hosts New Zealand kicked off proceedings a day earlier against Italy in Auckland.
Coached by the inimitable Alan Jones and captained by Queensland stalwart Andrew Slack, Australia led 6-0 at the end of a dour first half through the boot of Michael Lynagh, but England equalised early in the second stanza through a sensational 50-metre try finished off by winger and skipper Mike Harrison.
The Wallabies hit the front again through a controversial try to flamboyant winger David Campese, who blatantly knocked the ball on as he reached out for the try-line. Kiwi referee Keith Lawrence was unsighted and awarded the four-pointer.
The unfortunate call failed to break England’s resolve, but veteran flanker Simon Poidevin sealed a 19-6 result for the home side after backing up a searing break by Australia’s other winger, Peter Grigg.
Both nations progressed to the knockout stages of the inaugural RWC, with England going down to Wales 16-3 in the quarter-final at Ballymore, and Australia pipped 30-24 by France in an epic semi at Concord Oval.
1987 RUGBY WORLD CUP – POOL MATCH
Australia 19 (David Campese, Simon Poidevin tries; Michael Lynagh conversion, 3 penalties) defeated England 6 (Mike Harrison try; Jon Webb conversion) at Concord Oval, Sydney, May 23, 1987. Halftime: Australia 6-0. Referee: Keith Lawrence.