5 Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches

Date published: September 14 2015

The Rugby World Cup tends to bring out the best in players and teams. But when it brings out the best in both parties, the end result is a classic.

There have been many great wins, shocks, dramatic comebacks and high-scoring encounters in the previous seven editions of the tournament, and more are expected at this year's competition in England.

However, there are some games which are simply unforgettable and are worthy of being watched again and again.

Here are five of greatest matches ever at the Rugby World Cup…

5. New Zealand 45-29 England, Semi-Final, RWC 1995
Despite knocking out then defending champions Australia in the quarter-final, England's boys took some beating at the hands of New Zealand's 20-year-old giant, Jonah Lomu – who scored four tries. While England rallied to outscore the Kiwis 26-20 after the restart, the All Blacks had already sealed their place in what would be an epic, historic final against hosts South Africa.

4. France 30-24 Australia, Semi-Final, RWC 1987
Australia were tipped to play New Zealand in the final, but France had not read the script. With the Wallabies leading 24-21 in Sydney, les Bleus hit back; first with a penalty, then a sublime team try finished by Serge Blanco in the dying minutes to upset the form book.

3. New Zealand 53-37 Wales, Pool D, RWC 2003
Although both sides were already through to the quarter-finals, they served up a feast of exciting rugby in their final pool match with 12 tries. An inspired Wales led 37-33 early in the second half before the shaken Kiwis managed to regain their composure and see off the brave Welsh.

2. France 20-18 New Zealand, Quarter-Final, RWC 2007
Leading 13-3 and in total control at half-time in Cardiff, the All Blacks seemed destined for the semi-finals. However les Bleus, who stared down the Kiwis' pre-match haka, stunned the tournament favourites again by outscoring them 17-5 in the second half and held on heroically to clinch another famous win with skipper Thierry Dusautoir producing phenomenal performance.

1. France 43-31 New Zealand, Semi-Final, RWC 1999
Underdogs France were given no chance against hot favourites New Zealand as they trailed 24-10. But in the most dramatic of fightbacks, a Christophe Lamaison-inspired Bleus team scored an incredible 33 points in 20 unbelievable minutes of rugby to floor the All Blacks in undoubtedly the tournament's greatest ever game.

By Aron Hegarty