In a classic Rugby World Cup match, England came back to defeat Wales 28-17 in Brisbane and advance to the semifinals on this day in rugby history in 2003.

Wales got the early jump and had a 10-3 lead at the break and it looked like they were gaining momentum but the boot of Jonny Wilkinson and his 23 points was the difference in a match were Wales scored 3 tries to England’s 1.

“We’re extremely relieved but it was about winning,” said head coach Clive Woodward. “There were some pretty harsh words at half-time and some colourful language but we got the message across.  Some of the decision making was not up to our usual standard but we are still winning.   If we play them [France] like we did today we’ve got no chance.”

“Well done Wales though. We took them seriously and we are glad to win. But we’ll have to have a few harsh words next week and have a serious look at our game.”

England went on to defeat France and then Australia in the Rugby World Cup final to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy for the first time.


England: J Robinson, D Luger, W Greenwood, M Tindall, B Cohen, J Wilkinson, M Dawson; J Leonard, S Thompson, P Vickery, M Johnson (capt), B Kay, L Moody, N Back, L Dallaglio.
Replacements: D West, T Woodman, S Shaw, J Worsley, K Bracken, M Catt, S Abbott.
Wales: G Thomas; M Jones, M Taylor, I Harris, S Williams; S Jones, G Cooper; I Thomas, R McBryde, A Jones; B Cockbain, R Sidoli; D Jones, C Charvis (capt), J Thomas.
Replacements: M Davies, G Jenkins, G Llewellyn, M Williams, D Peel, C Sweeney, K Morgan.