1991 Rugby World Cup

This article is about the men's tournament. For information about the women's tournament, see 1991 Women's Rugby World Cup.
1991 Rugby World Cup
Tournament details
Host nations  England
Dates 3 October – 2 November 1991
No. of nations 16 (33 qualifying)
Final positions
Champions   Australia
Runner-up   England
Third-place   New Zealand
Tournament statistics
Matches played 32
Top scorer(s) Ireland Ralph Keyes (68)
Most tries France Jean-Baptiste Lafond
Australia David Campese
(6 tries each)

The 1991 Rugby World Cup was the second edition of the Rugby World Cup, and was jointly hosted by England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France; at that time, the five European countries that participated in the Five Nations Championship making it the first Rugby World Cup to be staged in the northern hemisphere, with England as the host of the championship game. Following on from the success of the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, the 1991 World Cup received increased attention and was seen as a major global sporting event for the first time. Also for the first time qualifying competitions were introduced as the number of entrants had increased from sixteen nations four years before to a total of thirty-three countries, the eight quarter-finalists from 1987 qualified automatically with the remaining twenty-five countries having to qualify for the remaining eight spots. This however resulted in only one new side qualifying for the tournament, Western Samoa replacing Tonga. The same sixteen team pool/knock-out format was used with just minor changes to the points system.

The Pool stage of the tournament was nothing like four years earlier, with fewer one-sided matches and the early stages produced a major shock when Western Samoa, who were making their debut in the tournament, defeated 1987 semifinalist Wales 16-13 in Cardiff, resulting in the elimination of Wales, who finished third in Pool 3 - making it the first time that a host or co-host nation was knocked out of the competition in the pool stages. Also notable in pool play was that Canada finished second in their pool to qualify for the quarterfinals in what remains Canada's best performance in the Rugby World Cup. Fiji, as quarter-finalists four years ago, had expected to occupy that position, but after the upset loss to Canada and a hammering by France, they were to lose even their final match against the unfancied Romanian team. Earlier, the opening match had pitted the holders New Zealand against the hosts England: New Zealand overturned a narrow half-time deficit to win the match and the pool, both teams qualifying for the quarter-finals with easy victories in their other matches. Scotland beat Ireland to top their pool, again both teams qualifying.

In the quarter-finals, neither Canada nor Western Samoa proved a match for New Zealand or Scotland, respectively. Meanwhile, England knocked out 1987 finalist France in a bruising encounter. Australia, in what was seen as the match of the tournament, pipped Ireland 19-18 in a thrilling match at Lansdowne Road, with a last-gasp try from fly-half Michael Lynagh coming after the Irish took an unexpected 18-15 lead when loose-forward Hamilton sensationally outpaced speedy winger David Campese over half the length of the pitch for a try. The semi-finals produced two tight matches: England overcame their Scottish rivals 6-9, a late drop-goal deciding a tryless match in a torrential downpour at Murrayfield Stadium, and Australia defeated the defending world champions New Zealand 16-6 at Lansdowne Road.

The World Cup Final was played at Twickenham Stadium in London, and saw Australia triumph 12–6 against England, thanks to a first-half try from prop Tony Daly.


The following 16 teams, shown by region, qualified for the 1991 Rugby World Cup. Of the 16 teams, eight of those places were automatically filled by quarterfinalists from the 1987 World Cup and did not have to play any qualification matches. 25 nations competed in a qualification process designed to fill the remaining eight spots, bringing the total participation to 33 nations. In the event, there was only one change from the 1987 tournament, with Western Samoa appearing in place of Tonga.

Africa Americas Europe Oceania/Asia


City Stadium Capacity
England London Twickenham Stadium 75,000
Scotland Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium 67,800
Wales Cardiff National Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park) 53,000
France Paris Parc des Princes 48,712
Dublin Lansdowne Road 49,250
France Toulouse Stade Ernest-Wallon 19,000
France Villeneuve d'Ascq Stadium Lille-Metropole 18,185
France Béziers Stade de la Méditerranée 18,000
England Leicester Welford Road 16,815
France Brive Parc Municipal des Sports 16,000
France Grenoble Stade Lesdiguières 18,548*
France Agen Stade Armandie 14,000
France Bayonne Stade Jean Dauger 13,500
England Gloucester Kingsholm 12,500
Belfast Ravenhill 12,300
Wales Llanelli Stradey Park 10,800
Wales Pontypool Pontypool Park 8,800
Wales Pontypridd Sardis Road 7,200
England Otley Cross Green 5,000


Pools & Format

Pool 1 Pool 2 Pool 3 Pool 4

 New Zealand
 United States


 Western Samoa


As in the 1987 Rugby World Cup the 16 nations were divided into four pools of four nations, with each nation playing their other pool opponents once, every nation playing three times during the pool stages. Nations were awarded 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and zero for a loss, the top two nations of every pool advanced to the quarter finals. The runners-up of each pool faced the winners of a different pool in the quarter finals. The winners moved on to the semi finals, with the winners then moving onto the final, and the losers of the semi finals contesting a third/fourth place play off.

Points System

The points system that was used in the pool stage was which was changed from 1987 was as follows:

A total of 32 matches (24 Pool Stage & 8 Knock-out) were played throughout the tournament over 30 days from Thursday 3 October 1991 to Saturday 2 November 1991.

Pool stage

Pool 1

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 New Zealand 330095396
 England 320185334
 Italy 310257762
 United States 3003241130
3 October 1991
England  12–18  New Zealand
Pen: Webb (3)
Drop: Andrew
Tries: Jones
Con: Fox
Pen: Fox (4)
Twickenham Stadium, London
Attendance: 57,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

5 October 1991
Italy  30–9  United States
Tries: Barba, Francescato, Vaccari, Gaetaniello
Con: Dominguez (4)
Pen: Dominguez (2)
Tries: Swords
Con: Williams
Pen: Williams
Cross Green, Otley
Attendance: 7,500
Referee: Owen Doyle (Ireland)

8 October 1991
New Zealand  46–6  United States
Tries: Wright (3), Earl, Purvis, Timu, Tuigamala, Innes
Con: Preston (4)
Pen: Preston (2)
Pen: Williams (2)
Kingsholm, Gloucester
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Efraim Sklar (Argentina)

8 October 1991
England  36–6  Italy
Tries: Guscott (2), Underwood, Webb
Con: Webb (4)
Pen: Webb (4)
Tries: Cuttitta
Con: Dominguez
Twickenham Stadium, London
Attendance: 30,000
Referee: Brian Anderson (Scotland)

11 October 1991
England  37–9  United States
Tries: Underwood (2), Carling, Skinner, Heslop
Con: Hodgkinson (4)
Pen: Hodgkinson (3)
Tries: Nelson
Con: Williams
Pen: Williams
Twickenham Stadium, London
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Les Peard (Wales)

13 October 1991
Italy  21–31  New Zealand
Tries: Cuttitta, Bonomi
Con: Dominguez (2)
Pen: Dominguez (3)
Tries: Brooke, Innes, Tuigamala, Hewett
Con: Fox (3)
Pen: Fox (3)
Welford Road, Leicester
Attendance: 16,200
Referee: Kerry Fitzgerald (Australia)

Pool 2

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 Scotland 3300122366
 Ireland 3201102514
 Japan 310277872
 Zimbabwe 3003311580
5 October 1991
Scotland  47–9  Japan
Tries: S. Hastings, Stanger, Chalmers, White, Penalty Try, Tukalo, G. Hastings
Con: G. Hastings (5)
Pen: G. Hastings (2), Chalmers
Tries: Hosokawa
Con: Hosokawa
Drop: Hosokawa
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

6 October 1991
Ireland  55–11  Zimbabwe
Tries: Robinson (4), Popplewell (2), Geoghegan, Curtis
Con: Keyes (4)
Pen: Keyes (5)
Report Tries: Dawson, Schultz
Pen: Ferreira
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Keith Lawrence (New Zealand)

9 October 1991
Ireland  32–16  Japan
Tries: Mannion (2), O’Hara, Staples
Con: Keyes (2)
Pen: Keyes (4)
Report Tries: Hayashi, Kajihara, Yoshida
Con: Hosokawa (2)
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 30,000
Referee: Laikini Colati (Fiji)

9 October 1991
Scotland  51–12  Zimbabwe
Tries: Tukalo (3), Turnbull, S. Hastings, Stanger, Weir, White
Con: Dods (5)
Pen: Dods (2)
Drop: Wylie
Tries: Garvey (2)
Con: Currin (2)
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Don Reordan (United States)

12 October 1991
Scotland  24–15  Ireland
Tries: Shiel, Armstrong
Con: G. Hastings (2)
Pen: G. Hastings (3)
Drop: Chalmers
Report Pen: Keyes (4)
Drop: Keyes
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 54,000
Referee: Fred Howard (England)

14 October 1991
Japan  52–8  Zimbabwe
Tries: Yoshida (2), Mashuho (2), Kutsuki (2), Horikoshi, Luaiufi, Matsuo
Con: Hosokawa (2)
Pen: Hosokawa (4)
Tries: Tsimba, Nguruve
Ravenhill, Belfast
Attendance: 9,500
Referee: René Hourquet (France)

Pool 3

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 Australia 330079256
 Western Samoa 320154344
 Wales 310232612
 Argentina 300338830
4 October 1991
Argentina  19–32  Australia
Tries: Terán (2)
Con: del Castillo
Pen: del Castillo
Drop: Arbizu (2)
Tries: Campese (2), Horan (2), Kearns
Con: Lynagh (3)
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Stradey Park, Llanelli
Attendance: 11,000
Referee: David Bishop (New Zealand)

6 October 1991
Wales  13–16  Western Samoa
Tries: Emyr, Evans
Con: Ring
Pen: Ring
Report Tries: Vaega, Vaifale
Con: Vaea
Pen: Vaea (2)
National Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), Cardiff
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Patrick Robin (France)

9 October 1991
Australia  9–3  Western Samoa
Pen: Lynagh (3) Pen: Vaea
Pontypool Park, Pontypool
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

9 October 1991
Wales  16–7  Argentina
Tries: Arnold
Pen: Ring (3), Rayer
Tries: García Simón
Pen: del Castillo
National Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), Cardiff
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: René Hourquet (France)

12 October 1991
Wales  3–38  Australia
Pen: Ring Tries: Roebuck (2), Slattery, Campese, Horan, Lynagh
Con: Lynagh (4)
Pen: Lynagh (2)
National Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), Cardiff
Attendance: 54,000
Referee: Keith Lawrence (New Zealand)

13 October 1991
Argentina  12–35  Western Samoa
Tries: Terán
Con: Arbizu
Pen: Laborde, Arbizu
Tries: Tagaola (2), Lima (2), Bunce, Bachop
Con: Vaea (4)
Pen: Vaea
Sardis Road, Pontypridd
Attendance: 8,500
Referee: Brian Anderson (Scotland)
Replaced by Jim Fleming (Scotland)

Pool 4

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 France 330082256
 Canada 320145334
 Romania 310231642
 Fiji 300327630
4 October 1991
France  30–3  Romania
Tries: Roumat, Lafond, Penalty Try, Saint-André
Con: Camberabero
Pen: Camberabero (4)
Pen: Nichitean
Stade de la Méditerranée, Béziers
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: Les Peard (Wales)

5 October 1991
Canada  13–3  Fiji
Tries: Stewart
Pen: Rees (3)
Drop: Serevi

8 October 1991
France  33–9  Fiji
Tries: Lafond (3), Sella (2), Camberabero
Con: Camberabero (3)
Pen: Camberabero
Tries: Naruma
Con: Koroduadua
Pen: Koroduadua
Stade Lesdiguières, Grenoble
Attendance: 18,548
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

9 October 1991
Canada  19–11  Romania
Tries: McKinnon, Ennis
Con: Mark Wyatt
Pen: Wyatt (2)
Drop: Rees
Tries: Lungu, Sasu
Pen: Nichitean
Stade Ernest-Wallon, Toulouse
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Sandy MacNeill (Australia)

12 October 1991
Fiji  15–17  Romania
Pen: Turuva (2)
Drop: Rabaka (2), Turuva
Tries: Ion, Dumitras, Sasu
Con: Racean
Pen: Nichitean
Parc Municipal des Sports, Brive
Attendance: 8,500
Referee: Owen Doyle (Ireland)

13 October 1991
France  19–13  Canada
Tries: Lafond, Saint-André
Con: Camberabero
Pen: Lacroix (2), Camberabero
Tries: Wyatt
Pen: Wyatt, Rees
Drop: Rees
Stade Armandie, Agen
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Stephen Hilditch (Ireland)

Knock-out stage

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
19 October – Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh        
  Scotland  28
26 October – Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
  Western Samoa  6  
  Scotland  6
19 October – Parc des Princes, Paris
      England  9  
  France  10
2 November – Twickenham Stadium, London
  England  19  
  England  6
20 October – Stadium Lille-Metropole, Villeneuve d'Ascq    
    Australia  12
  New Zealand  29
27 October – Lansdowne Road, Dublin
  Canada  13  
  New Zealand  6 Third place
20 October – Lansdowne Road, Dublin
      Australia  16   30 October – National Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), Cardiff
  Australia  19
  Scotland  6
  Ireland  18  
  New Zealand  13


19 October 1991
France  10–19  England
Tries: Lafond
Pen: Lacroix (2)
Report Tries: Underwood, Carling
Con: Webb
Pen: Webb (3)
Parc des Princes, Paris
Attendance: 48,500
Referee: David Bishop (New Zealand)

19 October 1991
Scotland  28–6  Western Samoa
Tries: Jeffrey (2), Stanger
Con: Hastings (2)
Pen: Hastings (4)
Pen: Vaea
Drop goals: Bachop
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 54,000
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

20 October 1991
Ireland  18–19  Australia
Tries: Hamilton
Con: Keyes
Pen: Keyes (3)
Drop: Keyes
Report Tries: Campese (2), Lynagh
Con: Lynagh (2)
Pen: Lynagh
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 54,500
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

20 October 1991
Canada  13–29  New Zealand
Tries: Tynan, Charron
Con: Rees
Pen: Wyatt
Tries: Timu (2), McCahill, Brooke, Kirwan
Con: Fox (3)
Pen: Fox
Stadium Lille-Metropole, Villeneuve d'Ascq
Attendance: 30,360
Referee: Fred Howard (England)


26 October 1991
Scotland  6–9  England
Pen: G. Hastings (2) Pen: Webb (2)
Drop: Andrew
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 54,000
Referee: Kerry Fitzgerald (Australia)

27 October 1991
Australia  16–6  New Zealand
Tries: Campese, Horan
Con: Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Pen: Fox (2)
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 54,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

Third-place play-off

30 October 1991
New Zealand  13–6  Scotland
Tries: Little
Pen: Preston (3)
Pen: G. Hastings (2)


2 November 1991
Australia  12–6  England
Tries: Daly
Con: Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Report Pen: Webb (2)
Twickenham Stadium, London
Attendance: 56,208
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)


The event was broadcast in the United Kingdom by ITV who took over the rights from the BBC.


    External links

    Preceded by
    1987 Rugby
    World Cup
    Rugby World Cup
    Succeeded by
    1995 Rugby
    World Cup
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