Introduction: Australia's Pursuit of the World Cup
The second edition of the World Cup was held in 1991 by England, Scotland, Wales, France and Ireland with the favourites – defending champions New Zealand – knocked out in the semifinals.
This was the first time that the World Cup was hosted in the Northern Hemisphere.
The 1991 World Cup was seen as a major global sporting event, due to the success of the inaugural World Cup in 1987.
There were 32 matches from October 3 to November 2 and the tournament featured most of the same countries as the 1987 World Cup – with the only change being Western Samoa, who are appearing in place of Tonga.
In this World Cup there was a qualification process due to more countries wanting to participate. Out of the 16 countries eight of them had automatically qualified by being quarterfinalists at the previous World Cup.
The remaining eight spots were battled out between 25 countries.
This was a World Cup full of shocks – with the biggest one being Australia having upset defending champions New Zealand 16-6 in the semifinals. Another surprise was Western Samoa, who defeated 1987 finalists Wales in the pool stages.
Australia then went on to beat England 12-6 in the Final, which took place at Twickenham Stadium, London.
Out of the 24 pools games played, 15 of the winning teams won by 30 points or more.
Sadly, South Africa could still not participate due to an international sports boycott as a result of the apartheid regime.