1999 Rugby World Cup


The 1999 Rugby World Cup which was staged by Wales, broke new ground as for the first occasion the major eight countries did not qualify automatically. Only the winners, the runners-up, the third place play-off winners from 1995 and the host country were afforded that luxury. This resulted in that South Africa, New Zealand, France and Wales were confirmed of their places in the larger 20-team competition with 63 countries taking part in the qualification process for the other 16 places.

Another innovation for the 1999 competition, which also featured games in England, France, Scotland and Ireland, was the introduction of a repechage, a second chance for teams that had ended runners-up in each qualifying group. Uruguay and Tonga were the nations to gain from the repechage, and took their world cup positions alongside the other nations, Fiji, Romania, Canada, Namibia, Japan, Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Argentina, Spain and the United States.

These 20 countries were split into five groups of four, a scenario that necessitated a quarter-final play-off round involving the five runners-up and best third placed side to decide who would join the group winners in the last eight. The Millennium Stadium then witnessed Australia take on the French in an exciting final. France had progressed to the inaugural final in 1987, but, just as on that time, they simply had nothing remaining as Australia became the first side to win the World Cup on two occasions, with a 35-12 victory.






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