Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Get Their Chance of Revenge

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Get Their Chance of Revenge

Article excerpt


ENGLAND have been handed the chance to exact revenge on South Africa in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia after they were drawn together in the pool stages today.

South Africa hammered England 44-21 in Paris in the quarterfinals in 1999 - one of the worst setbacks suffered by head coach Clive Woodward.

The draw sees England grouped alongside the Springboks and so far unknown qualifiers from Oceania, Europe and the Americas.

Their first game will be against a European qualifier in Perth on 12 October followed by South Africa - also at Perth's Subiaco Oval - six days later, but then England must travel, with remaining group games in Melbourne (26 October) and Brisbane (2 November).

If England win Pool C, then it could put them on a quarterfinal collision course with Wales, who have been drawn alongside New Zealand. Should they finish as runnersup, then the All Blacks will almost certainly await them in Melbourne on 8 November.

A record five drop-goals from Jannie de Beer helped defeat England in 1999 in Paris and England captain Neil Back said: "It was a unique day in rugby history.

You have never seen drop-goaling like that before or since.

"It is a good draw for next year's Cup, but you can't read too much into it at this stage.

"The strength of teams can change dramatically in 16 months and just because we might not have to play southern hemisphere teams doesn't mean it will anything other than a tough tournament.

"France have the potential to go a long way and even the other group opponents could be difficult. There are plenty of shocks in rugby as we have seen over the past three or four years."

The 48-match tournament, to be played across 10 cities in Australia, starts on 10 October when the hosts and holders entertain Argentina and culminates with the final at Sydney's Stadium Australia on Saturday, 22 November. …

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