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The best matches in Rugby World Cup history

FEATURED COLUMNIST
Top 5 / Top 10
581   //    Timeless

England will have a home advantage this time aroundTomorrow, the 8th edition of the Rugby World Cup is going to get underway in the United Kingdom. In the seven editions previously, there have been some memorable games that fans and enthusiasts of rugby will have a hard time forgetting. Such is the effect of those matches, that to this day, they continue to linger, every time rugby’s premier tournament is talked about.

#5 New Zealand 53-37 Wales (2003 Pool Stage)

New Zealand and Wales had both already qualified from their Pool D before the game, but current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who was then coaching the Welsh, decided to rest his key players for the clash.

The second-place finisher faced the prospect of facing favourites England in the quarters and most Wales fans were expecting a hammering in store for their team.

When the electric Joe Rokocoko ran in two early tries, the alarm bells were ringing for Wales and fans feared the worst. Mark Taylor replied for Wales, but further misery was heaped on them when Leon MacDonald and Ali Williams scored a couple more tries.

Wales though, with many regulars not playing, and nothing to lose, played with a renewed freedom and scored twice in the space of six minutes. The gap dwindled down to one when Stephen Jones scored a penalty at the beginning of the second half and Shane Williams then scored another try to give them the lead. New Zealand replied with a try, but Jones added another penalty to maintain their slender 37-34 win.

The effort seemed to take a toll on the Welsh though and they couldnt quite sustain their efforts and All Blacks captain Carlos Spencer scored to put them back in frontbefore two more tries sealed the win for New Zealand as they suffered an almighty scare.

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