1995 Rugby World Cup

The 1995 Rugby World Cup was the third Rugby World Cup. It was hosted and won by South Africa, and was the first Rugby World Cup in which every match was held in one country.

1995 Rugby World Cup
Rugbywêreldbeker 1995
Tournament details
Host nation South Africa
Dates25 May – 24 June (31 days)
No. of nations16 (52 qualifying)
Final positions
Champions  South Africa (1st title)
Runner-up  New Zealand
Third place  France
Tournament statistics
Matches played32
Attendance938,486 (29,328 per match)
Top scorer(s) Thierry Lacroix (112)
Most tries Jonah Lomu
Marc Ellis
(7 tries each)

The World Cup was the first major sporting event to take place in South Africa following the end of apartheid. It was also the first World Cup in which South Africa was allowed to compete; the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB, now World Rugby) had only readmitted South Africa to international rugby in 1992, following negotiations to end apartheid. The World Cup was also the last major event of rugby union's amateur era; two months after the tournament, the IRFB opened the sport to professionalism.

In the final, held at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 24 June, South Africa defeated New Zealand 15–12, with Joel Stransky scoring a drop goal in extra time to win the match. Following South Africa's victory, Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa, wearing a Springboks rugby shirt and cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to the South African captain François Pienaar.


Africa Americas Europe Oceania/Asia

The eight quarter-finalists from the 1991 Rugby World Cup all received automatic entry, as did South Africa, as hosts. The remaining seven of the 16 positions available in the tournament were filled by regional qualifiers. The qualifying tournaments were broken up into regional associations: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Côte d'Ivoire qualified through Africa, Japan through Asia, Argentina through the Americas, Italy, Romania and Wales through Europe, Tonga through Oceania.


  • Efraim Sklar
  • Barry Leask
  • Wayne Erickson
  • George Gadjovic
  • Ed Morrison
  • Steve Lander
  • Joël Dume
  • Patrick Robin
  • David McHugh
  • Stephen Hilditch
  • Naoki Saito
  • Han Moon-Soo
  • Colin Hawke
  • Dave Bishop
  • Stef Neethling
  • Ian Rogers
  • Felise Vito
  • Jim Fleming
  • Ken McCartney
  • Don Reordan
  • Derek Bevan
  • Clayton Thomas


The 1995 tournament was the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted by just one country, and thus, all the venues are within the one country. South Africa were given the rights to host the tournament in 1993, after a meeting between the IRB and both the government led by F. W. de Klerk and the African National Congress.[1] In total, nine stadiums were used for the World Cup, most being owned by local municipalities, and the majority of the venues were upgraded prior to the tournament. Six of the nine stadiums were South African Test grounds. The four largest stadiums were used for the finals, with the final taking place at Johannesburg's Ellis Park.

There were games originally scheduled to have been played in Brakpan, Germiston, Pietermaritzburg and Witbank, but these games were reallocated to other venues. This reduced the number of venues from 14 to 9. The reasons cited for this change had to do with facilities for both the press and spectators, as well as the security. The change in the itinerary occurred in January 1994. Further changes occurred in April, so that evening games were played at stadiums with good floodlighting. It is also thought that Potchefstroom was an original venue.

Venues were paired:

  • Pool 1: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Stellenbosch
  • Pool 2: Durban and East London
  • Pool 3: Johannesburg and Bloemfontein
  • Pool 4: Pretoria and Rustenburg
Location of the 9 stadium hosting rugby matches at the 1995 World Rugby World Cup
Johannesburg Pretoria Cape Town
Ellis Park Loftus Versfeld Newlands
Capacity: 60,000 Capacity: 50,000 Capacity: 50,000
Durban Bloemfontein Port Elizabeth
Kings Park Stadium Free State Stadium Boet Erasmus Stadium
Capacity: 50,000 Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 38,950
Rustenburg East London Stellenbosch
Olympia Park Basil Kenyon Stadium Danie Craven Stadium
Capacity: 30,000 Capacity: 22,000 Capacity: 16,000

Pools & format

Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D

 South Africa

 Western Samoa

 New Zealand

 Ivory Coast

The tournament was contested by 16 nations using the same format that was used in 1987 and 1991 and in total 32 matches were played. The competition began on 25 May, when the hosts South Africa defeated Australia 27–18 at Newlands in Cape Town. The tournament culminated with the final between South Africa and the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 24 June. In total, the tournament ran for thirty days. The nations were broken up into four pools of four, with each pool consisting of two teams that were automatically qualified and two that went through the qualifying tournaments.

Points system

The points system that was used in the pool stage was unchanged from 1991:

  • 3 points for a win
  • 2 points for a draw
  • 1 point for playing

Knockout stage

Pool winners were drawn against opposite pool runners-up in the quarter-finals. For example, the winner of A faces the runner up of B, and the winner of B face the runner-up of A. The whole finals stage adopts a knock-out format, and the winners of the quarter-finals advance to the semi-finals, where winner 1 faces winner 2, and winner 3 faces winner 4. The winners advance to the final, and the losers contest a third/fourth place play-off two days before the final.

A total of 32 matches (24 pool stage & 8 knock-out) were played throughout the tournament over 30 days from 25 May to 24 June 1995.

Pool stage

Pool A

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 South Africa 330068269
 Australia 320187417
 Canada 310245505
 Romania 300314973
25 May 1995
South Africa 27–18 Australia
Try: Hendriks
Con: Stransky
Pen: Stransky (4)
Drop: Stransky
Try: Kearns
Con: Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 44,778
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

26 May 1995
Canada 34–3 Romania
Try: Charron
Con: Rees (2)
Pen: Rees (4)
Drop: Rees
Pen: Nichitean
Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Attendance: 8,000
Referee: Colin Hawke (New Zealand)

30 May 1995
South Africa 21–8 Romania
Try: Richter (2)
Con: Johnson
Pen: Johnson (3)
Try: Gurănescu
Pen: Ivanciuc
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Ken McCartney (Scotland)

31 May 1995
Australia 27–11 Canada
Try: Lynagh
Con: Lynagh (3)
Pen: Lynagh (2)
Try: Charron
Pen: Rees (2)
Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Attendance: 16,000
Referee: Patrick Robin (France)

3 June 1995
Australia 42–3 Romania
Try: Smith
Roff (2)
Con: Burke (2)
Eales (4)
Pen: Ivanciuc
Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Attendance: 15,542
Referee: Naoki Saito (Japan)

3 June 1995
South Africa 20–0 Canada
Try: Richter (2)
Con: Stransky (2)
Pen: Stransky (2)
Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Attendance: 31,000
Referee: David McHugh (Ireland)

Pool B

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 England 330095609
 Western Samoa 320196887
 Italy 310269945
 Argentina 300369873
27 May 1995
Italy 18–42 Western Samoa
Try: Vaccari
Con: Dominguez
Pen: Dominguez
Drop: Dominguez
ReportTry: Lima (2)
Harder (2)
Con: Kellett (3)
Pen: Kellett (2)
Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London
Attendance: 7,868
Referee: Joël Dume (France)

27 May 1995
Argentina 18–24 England
Try: Arbizu
Con: Arbizu
Pen: Arbizu (2)
Pen: Andrew (6)
Drop: Andrew (2)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

30 May 1995
Western Samoa 32–26 Argentina
Try: Lam
Con: Kellett
Pen: Kellett (5)
Try: Penalty try
Con: Cilley (2)
Pen: Cilley (4)
Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London
Attendance: 7,960
Referee: Dave Bishop (New Zealand)

31 May 1995
England 27–20 Italy
Try: R. Underwood
T. Underwood
Con: Andrew
Pen: Andrew (5)
Try: Cuttitta
Con: Dominguez (2)
Pen: Dominguez (2)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 45,093
Referee: Stephen Hilditch (Ireland)

4 June 1995
Argentina 25–31 Italy
Try: Martín
Penalty try
Con: Cilley
Pen: Cilley
Try: Vaccari
Con: Dominguez (2)
Pen: Dominguez (4)
Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London
Attendance: 7,571
Referee: Clayton Thomas (Wales)

4 June 1995
England 44–22 Western Samoa
Try: R. Underwood (2)
Penalty try
Con: Callard (3)
Pen: Callard(5)
Drop: Catt
Try: Sini (2)
Con: Fa'amasino (2)
Pen: Fa'amasino
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Patrick Robin (France)

Pool C

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 New Zealand 3300222459
 Ireland 320193947
 Wales 310289685
 Japan 3003552523
27 May 1995
Japan 10–57 Wales
Try: Ota (2)Try: G. Thomas (3)
I. Evans (2)
Con: N. Jenkins (5)
Pen: N. Jenkins (4)
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Efrahim Sklar (Argentina)

27 May 1995
Ireland 19–43 New Zealand
Try: Corkery
Con: Elwood (2)
Try: Lomu (2)
Con: Mehrtens (3)
Pen: Mehrtens (4)
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 38,000
Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

31 May 1995
Ireland 50–28 Japan
Try: Francis
Penalty try (2)
Con: Burke (6)
Pen: Burke
Try: Latu
Con: Yoshida (4)
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Stef Neethling (South Africa)

31 May 1995
New Zealand 34–9 Wales
Try: Ellis
Con: Mehrtens (2)
Pen: Mehrtens (4)
Drop: Mehrtens
Pen: N. Jenkins (2)
Drop: N. Jenkins
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

4 June 1995
Japan 17–145 New Zealand
Try: Kajihara (2)
Con: Hirose (2)
Pen: Hirose
ReportTry: Ellis (6)
Rush (3)
Wilson (3)
R. Brooke (2)
Osborne (2)
Con: Culhane (20)
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: George Gadjovic (Canada)

4 June 1995
Ireland 24–23 Wales
Try: Halvey
Con: Elwood (3)
Pen: Elwood
Try: Humphreys
Con: N. Jenkins (2)
Pen: N. Jenkins (2)
Drop: A. Davies
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Ian Rogers (South Africa)

Pool D

Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 France 3300114479
 Scotland 3201149277
 Tonga 310244905
 Ivory Coast 3003291723
26 May 1995
Ivory Coast 0–89 Scotland
Try: G. Hastings (4)
Logan (2)
Walton (2)
Con: G. Hastings (9)
Pen: G. Hastings (2)
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Felise Vito (Western Samoa)

26 May 1995
France 38–10 Tonga
Try: Lacroix (2)
Con: Lacroix (3)
Pen: Lacroix (3)
Drop: Delaigue
Try: Vaʻenuku
Con: Tu'ipulotu
Pen: Tu'ipulotu
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: Steve Lander (England)

29 May 1995
France 54–18 Ivory Coast
Try: Lacroix (2)
Con: Deylaud (2)
Lacroix (2)
Pen: Lacroix (2)
Try: Soulama
Con: Kouassi
Pen: Kouassi (2)
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Han Moon-Soo (South Korea)

29 May 1995
Scotland 41–5 Tonga
Try: S. Hastings
G. Hastings
Con: G. Hastings
Pen: G. Hastings (8)
Try: Fenukitau
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 21,000
Referee: Barry Leask (Australia)

3 June 1995
Ivory Coast 11–29 Tonga
Try: Okou
Pen: Dali (2)
Try: Penalty try
Con: Tu'ipulotu (3)
Pen: Tu'ipulotu
Olympia Park, Rustenburg
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Don Reordan (United States)

Three minutes into the match between Ivory Coast and Tonga, the Ivorian winger Max Brito was crushed beneath several other players, leaving him paralysed below the neck.[2]

3 June 1995
France 22–19 Scotland
Try: Ntamack
Con: Lacroix
Pen: Lacroix (5)
Try: Wainwright
Con: G. Hastings
Pen: G. Hastings (4)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 39,000
Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

Knockout stage

10 June – Johannesburg
 South Africa42
17 June – Durban
 Western Samoa14
 South Africa19
10 June – Durban
24 June – Johannesburg
 Ireland 12
 South Africa (a.e.t.)15
11 June – Cape Town
 New Zealand12
18 June – Cape Town
11 June – Pretoria
 New Zealand45 Third place
 New Zealand48
22 June – Pretoria


10 June 1995
France 36–12 Ireland
Try: Saint-André
Con: Lacroix
Pen: Lacroix (8)
Pen: Elwood (4)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

10 June 1995
South Africa 42–14 Western Samoa
Try: Williams (4)
Con: Johnson (3)
Pen: Johnson (2)
Try: Tatupu
Con: Fa'amasino (2)
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 54,169
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

11 June 1995
England 25–22 Australia
Try: T. Underwood
Con: Andrew
Pen: Andrew (5)
Drop: Andrew
ReportTry: Smith
Con: Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh (5)
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 35,448
Referee: Dave Bishop (New Zealand)

11 June 1995
New Zealand 48–30 Scotland
Try: Little (2)
Con: Mehrtens (6)
Pen: Mehrtens (2)
[3]Try: Weir (2)
S. Hastings
Con: G. Hastings (3)
Pen: G. Hastings (3)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 28,000
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)


17 June 1995
South Africa 19–15 France
Try: Kruger
Con: Stransky
Pen: Stransky (4)
Pen: Lacroix (5)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 49,773
Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

18 June 1995
England 29–45 New Zealand
Try: Carling (2)
R. Underwood (2)
Con: Andrew (3)
Pen: Andrew
ReportTry: Lomu (4)
Con: Mehrtens (3)
Pen: Mehrtens
Drop: Z. Brooke
Newlands, Cape Town
Attendance: 43,414
Referee: Stephen Hilditch (Ireland)

Third-place play-off

22 June 1995
France 19–9 England
Try: Olivier Roumat
Pen: Lacroix (3)
Pen: Andrew (3)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Attendance: 44,000
Referee: Dave Bishop (New Zealand)


The final was contested by New Zealand and hosts South Africa. Both nations finished undefeated at the top of their pools. South Africa defeated Western Samoa in the quarter-finals, and then France in the semi-finals to reach the final; New Zealand defeated Scotland in the quarter-finals, and England in the semi-finals, a game in which Jonah Lomu famously scored four tries for the All Blacks. The final was played at Ellis Park in Johannesburg and refereed by Ed Morrison of England. To this point, New Zealand had led the tournament in production, outscoring their opponents 315–104, while South Africa had outscored their opponents 129–55. The tight Springbok defence would keep the high scoring All Blacks in check – particularly Jonah Lomu and Marc Ellis, who had already scored a then World Cup record seven tries each in the tournament – with neither team scoring a try in the match.

South Africa led 9–6 at half time, and New Zealand levelled the scores at 9–9 with a drop goal in the second half. Though Andrew Mehrtens almost kicked a late drop goal for the All Blacks, the score remained tied at full-time, forcing the game into extra time. Both teams scored penalty goals in the first half of extra time, but Joel Stransky then scored a drop goal to win the final for South Africa.

What happened after the match has become an iconic moment in the history of the sport. Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok rugby jersey and cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to South African captain François Pienaar to the delight of the capacity crowd. The moment is thought by some to be one of the most famous finals of any sport.[4]

24 June 1995
South Africa 15–12 (a.e.t.) New Zealand
Pen: Stransky (3)
Drop: Stransky (2)
ReportPen: Mehrtens (3)
Drop: Mehrtens
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 59,870
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)


The tournament's top point scorer was France's Thierry Lacroix, who scored 112 points. Marc Ellis and Jonah Lomu, both of New Zealand, scored the most tries, with seven each.

Top 10 point scorers
Player Team Position Played Tries Conv­ersions Penal­ties Drop goals Total points
Thierry Lacroix  France Fly-half 647260112
Gavin Hastings  Scotland Full-back 4514170104
Andrew Mehrtens  New Zealand First five-eighth 511414384
Rob Andrew  England Fly-half 50520379
Joel Stransky  South Africa Fly-half 51413361
Michael Lynagh  Australia Fly-half 3259047
Simon Culhane  New Zealand First five-eighth 11200045
Neil Jenkins  Wales Fly-half 3078141
Diego Domínguez  Italy Fly-half 3157139
Marc Ellis  New Zealand Wing 5700035
Jonah Lomu  New Zealand Wing 5700035


The event was broadcast in Australia by Network Ten and in the United Kingdom by ITV.

Commemorative coins

The South African Mint issued a one-ounce gold proof "Protea" coin with a total mintage of 406 pieces to commemorate the event being hosted by South Africa.

Mandela and Pienaar's involvement in the World Cup is the subject of the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, its 2009 film adaptation Invictus, and the ESPN TV documentary The 16th Man in 2010.


  1. Carlin, John (14 August 2008). Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation. Penguin Press. p. 113. ISBN 978-1594201745.
  2. Irwin, Pirate (4 October 2007). "Max Brito at end of tether after 12-year struggle". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  3. Rugby World Cup 1995: Quarter Final - New Zealand v Scotland. YouTube.com. World Rugby. 17 April 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  4. "Rugby World Cup history". BBC. 7 October 2003. Retrieved 7 October 2006.
External video
Rugby World Cup 1995: Pool A - Australia v South Africa on YouTube
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