Third-place Playoffs Down the Years
But there is actually a lot of prestige riding on the match. As the final is 1 vs 2, and the 'bronze medal match' is 3 vs 4. That means that in these two matches the top four teams in the world will be in action, in a sort of decider for their earlier involvement in the Rugby Championship, the SANZAR competition. For the Springboks and the Pumas it is a sort of decider after the Pumas won in South Africa and the Springboks won in Argentina.
They are also such special also-rans – better than 16 others who were at the World Cup and so perhaps they can pick themselves up and go for what is now referred to as a Bronze Medal, an honourable achievement. And the winners of this match do actually get bronze medals.
At one stage there was an attempt to give the match greater credibility by announcing that the winner would have automatic qualification for the next World Cup – as if the loser was not going to make it whatever the qualification criteria were.
There were no qualifications for the first World Cup – just the IRB countries minus politically unacceptable South Africa, that is seven countries plus nine invited countries. But they still had a third-place play-off. There were no other play-offs lower down the ladder. If you thought that the truth was that the 3rd-place play-off was to make some more money, you would probably be close to the truth – as is still the case.
In to 2011 play-off there were the same two teams as in the first play-off – Australia and Wales.
This year Argentina and South Africa have been there before. South Africa won theirs in 1999 and Argentina won theirs in 2007.
Play-offs Down the Years
Wales vs Australia, 22-21 at Rotorua International Stadium on 18 June 1987
The game got off to a sad but dramatic start. In the opening minute the referee spoke to David Codey for the injudicious use of the elbow. Three minutes later Fred Howard found Codey guilty of using his boot on a player and sent him off. Australia had to play virtually the whole match with 14 players. Still they led 15-13 at half time and 21-16 till wing Adrian Hadley dived over in the corner for a try which burly Paul Thorburn converted from touch. Wales won 22-21.
Wales played a new cap in this match. Richard Webster was playing club rugby in Australia when he was called up to replace Richie Collins.
After their loss to France in the semifinal, Australia rather lost interest in the World Cup and, under their coach Alan Jones, did not enter this match with enthusiasm.
* The try was still worth four points.
Tries: Roberts, Paul Moriarty, Hadley
Cons: Thorburn 2
Pens: Thorburn 2
Tries: Burke, Grigg
Cons: Lynagh 2
Pens: Lynagh 2
Wales: Paul Thorburn, Ieuan Evans, John Devereux, Mark Ring, Adrian Hadley, Jonathan Davies, Robert Jones, Gareth Roberts, Richard Webster, Paul Moriarty, Stave Sutton, Richard Moriarty, Anthony Buchanan, Allan Phillips, Steven Blackmore
Australia: Andrew Leeds, Peter Grigg, Matt Burke, Andrew Slack (captain), David Campese, Michael Lynagh, Brian Smith, Simon Poidevin, Steve Tuynman, David Codey, Troy Coker, Steve Cutler, Andy McIntyre, Tom Lawton, Cameron Lilicrap
Replacements: Nick Farr-Jones for Grigg, Enrico Rodriguez for Lilicrap
Referee: Fred Howard (England)
New Zealand vs Scotland, 13-6 at Cardiff Arms Park on 30 October 1991
It was a harsh match for both sides. The Wallabies had knocked out the All Blacks and the tough Scots had lost just 9-6 to England, which was the score here till the 80th minute of this match when Walter Little scored. This try came after a period of strong Scottish pressure.
* The try was still worth four points.
For New Zealand:
Pens: Preston 3
Pens: Gavin Hastings 2
New Zealand: Terry Wright, John Kirwan, Craig Innes, Walter Little, Tuigamala, Jon Preston, Graeme Bachop, Zinzan Brooke, Michel Jones, Andy Earl, Gary Whetton (captain), Ian Jones, Richard Loe, Sean Fitzpatrick, Steve McDowell
Replacement: Shayne Philpott for Tuigamala
Scotland: Gavin Hastings, Tony Stanger, Scott Hastings, Sean Lineen, Iwan Tukalo, Craig Chalmers, Gary Armstrong, Derek White, Findlay Calder, John Jeffrey, Doddy Weir, Chris Gray, Paul Burnell, John Allan, David Sole (captain)
Replacement: Peter Dods for Stanger
Referee: Steve Hilditch (Ireland)
France vs England, 19-9 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on 22 June 1995
France had come within a centimetre or two of winning their waterlogged semifinal against South Africa while England had been rolled over by New Zealand. They then had to march over to Pretoria for this match. It was 3-all at half-time and then 6-all early in the second half but after that France pulled away.
Tries: Roumat, Ntamack
Pens: Lacroix 3
Pens: Andrews: 3
France: Jean-Luc Sadourny, Emile Ntamack, Philippe Sella, Thierry Lacroix, Philippe Saint-André (captain), Franck Mesnel, Fabien Galthié, Albert Cigagna, Laurent Cabannes, Abdellatif Benazzi, Olivier Roumat, Olivier Merle, Christian Califano, Jean-Michel Gonzalez, Laurent Benezech
Replacement: Olivier Brouzet for Merle
England: Michael Catt, Ian Hunter, Jeremy Guscott, Will Carling (captain), Rory Underwood, Rob Andrew, Dewi Morris, Steve Oomph, Ben Clarke, Tim Rodber, Martin Bayfield, Martin Johnson, Victor Ubogu, Brian Moore, Jason Leonard
Referee: Dave Bishop (New Zealand)
South Africa vs New Zealand, 22-18 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on 4 November 1999
South Africa had lost in extra time to Australia in the semifinal while New Zealand had been run off their feet by France in the second half of theirs.
These two sides never take it easy on each other and never lack motivation to play each other. It was a hard match with just one try – scored by exciting Breyton Paulse, who, like Gio Aplon in 2011, had his thrilling talents rather ignored in the World Cup
For South Africa:
Pens: Honiball 3
Drops: Montgomery 2
For New Zealand:
Pens: Mehrtens 6
South Africa: Percy Montgomery, Breyton Paulse, Robbie Fleck, Pieter Müller, Stefan Terblanché, Henry Honiball, Joost van der Westhuizen (captain), André Vos, André Venter, Rassie Erasmus, Mark Andrews, Krynauw Otto, Cobus Visagie, Naka Drotské, Os du Randt
Replacements: Chris Rossouw, Ollie le Roux, Albert van den Berg, Ruben Kruger, Swanepoel
New Zealand: Jeff Wilson, Tana Umaga, Christian Cullen, Alama Ieremia, Jonah Lomu, Andrew Mehrtens, Justin Marshall, Taine Randell (captain), Josh Kronfeld, Reuben Thorne, Royce Willis, Norm Maxwell, Kees Meeuws, Mark Hammett, Craig Dowd
Replacements: Anton Oliver, Carl Hoeft, Dylan Mika, Pita Alatini
Referee: Peter Marshall (Australia)
New Zealand vs France, 40-13 at Telstra Stadium, Sydney, on 20 November 2003
to say that there was little French interest in this Thursday match would be an understatement. They certainly did not pick their best team and the All Blacks had little trouble winning, scoring six tries to one though they led only 14-6 at half-time.
New Zealand had fallen to Australia in the semifinal, France 24-7 to England.
Well-executed first-half tries to Chris Jack and Doug Howlett were balanced by a try to Pépito Elhorga early in the second half. Dimitri Yachvili's conversion, on top of his penalty and dropped goal brought the score to 14-13. The score suggested that it was anybody's game. It was not.
Two successive tries to the All Blacks by Joe Rokocoko and Brad Thorn set them on the winning trail.
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina, Doug Howlett, Leon Macdonald, Aaron Mauger, Joe Rokocoko, Carlos Spencer, Steve Devine, Jerry Collins, Richie McCaw, Reuben Thorne (captain), Ali Williams, Chris Jack, Greg Somerville, Keven Mealamu, Hewett
Replacements: Mark Hammett, Carl Hoeft, Brad Thorn, Martie Holah, Daniel Carter, Caleb Ralph
France: Clément Poitrenaud, Pépito Elhorga, Tony Marsh, Damien Traille, David Bory, Gérald Merceron, Demetri Yachvili, Christian Labit, Patrick Tabacco, Sébastien Chabal, Thibault Privat, David Auradou, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Yannick Bru, Sylvain Marconnet
Replacements: Raphaël Ibañez, Jean-Jacques Crenca, Fabien Pelous, Olivier Magne, Frédéric Michalak, Brian Liebenberg, Nicolas Brusque
Referee: Chris White (England)
Argentina vs France, 34-10 at Parc des Princes on 19 October 2007
It is by far the best Argentina has done at a World Cup and in doing it they twice beat France in the same World Cup – a fate that could again be France's lot in 2011 after losing to New Zealand in their pool match.
Tries: Felipe Contepomi 2, Hasan Jalil, Aramburu, Corleto
Cons: Felipe Contepomi 3
Pen: Felipe Contepomi
Argentina: Ignacio Corleto, Federico Martín Aramburu, Manuel Contepomi, Felipe Contepomi, Horacio Agulla, Juan Martín Hernández, Agustín Pichot (captain), Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe, Gonzalo Longo, Martín Durand, Patricio Albacete, Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, Omar Hasan Jalil, Alberto Vernet Basualdo, Rodrigo Roncero
Replacements: Martín Ayerza, Eusebio Guiñazu, Esteban Lozada, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Nicolás Fernandez Miranda, Federico Todeschini, Hernán Senilhosa.
France: Clément Poitrenaud, Aurélien Rougerie, David Marty, David Skrela, Christophe Dominici, Frédéric Michalak, Jean-Batiste Elissalde, Imanol Harinordoquy, Thierry Dusautoir, Yannick Nyanga, Jérôme Thion, Lionel Nallet, Nicolas Mas, Raphaël Ibañez, Jean-Baptiste Poux
Replacements: Sébastien Bruno, Sébastien Chabal, Rémy Martin, Pierre Mignoni, Vincent Clerc
Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand)
Australia vs Wales, 21-18 at Eden Park on 21 October 2011
Australia lost Kurtley Beale in the first 10 minutes, replaced by Rob Horne.
Inaccurate goal-kicking early on hampered the Welsh ambitions and it took some 30 phases and a try, well after 80 minutes were up, by Leigh Halfpenny to make the score look as close as it did.
In fact the end-game was exciting as Ben McCalman scored a decisive try with five minutes to go, then George North stripped Adam Ashley of the ball as the centre was about to score and then the finale of Halfpenny's try.
Tries: Barnes, McCalman
Pens: O'Connor 2
Tries: Scott Williams, Halfpenny
Con: Stephen Jones
Pens: Hook, Stephen Jones
Australia: Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill (captain), Salesi Ma'afu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper
Replacements: Saia Fainga'a, Ben Alexander, Rod Simmons, Radike Samo, Luke Burgess, Anthony Fainga'a, Rob Horne
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, James Hook, Mike Phillips, Toby Faletau, Ryan Jones, Dan Lydiate, Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris, Paul James, Huw Bennett, Gethin Jenkins (captain)
Replacements: Lloyd Burns, Ryan Bevington, Alun-Wyn Jones, Andy Powell, Lloyd Williams, Stephen Jones, Scott Williams,
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Results in Brief
1987: Wales vs Australia, 22-21 at Rotorua International Stadium on 18 June 1987
1991: New Zealand vs Scotland, 13-6 at Cardiff Arms Park on 30 October 1991
1995: France vs England, 19-9 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on 22 June 1995
1999: South Africa vs New Zealand, 22-18 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on 4 November 1999
2003: New Zealand vs France, 40-13 at Telstra Stadium, Sydney, on 20 November 2003
2007: Argentina vs France, 34-10 at Parc des Princes on 19 October 2007
2011: Australia vs Wales, 21-18 at Eden Park on 21 October 2011