Argh! England won the Rugby World Cup final with a drop goal 30 seconds from the end of overtime. The Wallabies were so close. Bugger me if I wasn’t working and missed the damn game! Nobody rated Australia a chance, and at 14-5 at half time it didn’t look good. An 80th minute penalty goal brought the scores even at 14-all. It was very exciting!
After regulation time, the two sides were sent into two periods of 10 minutes each. A penalty to either side had the scores at 17-17 as the decider ticked down to within 25 seconds of its 100th minute.
Then England rolled forward. Their pack, the cornerstone of the victory, rumbled to within 20m of the Australian line.
Talisman Martin Johnson, the England skipper, crashed headlong into the Wallabies defence. And it held solid, as both sides had for most of the evening. But as halfback Matt Dawson flung the ball back to Wilkinson, it was as if this had been written in the stars.
Wilkinson was the most celebrated player at this tournament. Certainly the one who attracted most attention.
Australian second-rower Justin Harrison led the charge. The Wallabies needed to intercept the torpedo to be launched off his roo-hide boot.
George Gregan was there, too. All to no avail. Wilkinson had missed with three dropped goal attempts. But not with the one that really mattered. It split the posts and Australian hearts.