7 Biggest Rugby World Cup upsets

Date published: July 22 2015

Had Goliath killed David nothing would have been said of it ever again. However when the underdog toppled the giant, it became a classic memorable for the ages.

The Rugby World Cup often throws up typical David v Goliath clashes and the tournament is best remembered for its' giant-killing acts. And this year, there are bound to be more surprises sprung in England.

Here are the seven of the biggest upsets ever at the Rugby World Cup…

Argentina 28-24 Ireland, Quarter Final play-off, RWC 1999
A Diego Albanese try crowned a memorable night for an unfancied Argentina in Lens as they stunned Ireland to reach the 1999 quarter finals. The result heralded the rise of los Pumas as a major rugby power. They lost 47-26 to France in the quarter-finals but took revenge in 2007, when they shocked the hosts twice to record an historic third place finish.


Fiji 38-34 Wales, Pool B, RWC 2007
Wales looked to have won it after fighting back from 25-3 down to lead an open game with a Martyn Williams' intercept try, but Graham Dewes scored late to steal the show for Fiji. Wales coach Gareth Jenkins was sacked in the aftermath. The Welsh avenged the loss in 2011 with a 60-0 hammering, but who will win this year's encounter?


Ireland 15-6 Australia, Pool C, RWC 2011
Having lost all four of their previous World Cup meetings, Ireland finally got the better of Australia at the fifth attempt. The Irish underdogs defied several commentators' pre-match predictions of a comfortable victory by producing a tenacious display of relentless pressure, especially at scrum time, to choke the two-time champions into submission.


France 30-24 Australia, Semi Final, RWC 1987
Australia were tipped by many to face New Zealand in the final, but France had not read the script. With the Aussies leading 24-21 in Sydney, les Bleus hit back to upset the form book first with a Didier Camberabero penalty followed by a sublime team try finished by Serge Blanco in the dying minutes. The Wallabies then slipped up again by losing to Wales in the bronze medal match.


Tonga 19-14 France, Pool A, RWC 2011
Tonga produced one of the competition's biggest shocks when they defeated an out-of-sorts France, who later went on to make the final. The French needed a last-minute Vincent Clerc try to salvage a losing bonus point against the spirited Tongans and ensure their progress to the knockout stages.


Samoa 16-13 Wales, Pool 3, RWC 1991
The Samoans upset the odds on their debut at the 1991 tournament by shocking 1987 semi-finalists Wales at Cardiff Arms Park, which led to their elimination. Samoa also stunned the Welsh in 1999 when they scored five tries to inflict a surprise 38-31 loss on the hosts at their newly-opened Millennium Stadium.


France 43-31 New Zealand, Semi Final, RWC 1999
France were given no hope against overwhelming favourites New Zealand as they trailed 24-10. But les Bleus hit back with 33 points in 20 unbelievable minutes of rugby to floor the mighty All Blacks. The French did the trick again in 2007 when they upset the Kiwis 20-18 in the quarter final.

By Aron Hegarty