Rugby World Cup 1968

The Rugby League World Cup returned to the Antipodes in 1968, with Australia and New Zealand co-hosting the four rivals once again.

Originally scheduled for 1965 and set to take place in France, the tournament had to wait a further three years to be played out after the French withdrew following a chastening tour of Australia the previous year.

Despite that experience, the French were set for their most successful World Cup ever, reaching the final for the first time, after the format had been altered to ensure the top two teams played off, regardless of how the pool stage finished.

Australia avenged defeat in the 1960 World Cup by Great Britain in the very first game, with a comprehensive 26-15 win at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Meanwhile, playing on home soil for the first time in a World Cup, New Zealand went down 10-15 to France in Auckland.

With the Kiwis experiencing their second defeat at the hands of Australia, the tournament took a shock turn when France held off the more celebrated Great Britain side for a 7-2 win and effectively a place in the final.

Australia warmed up for the final with a comfortable 37-4 thrashing of the French, while Great Britain continued a humiliating tournament for New Zealand, destroying the Kiwis 38-14 in Sydney.

The final itself proved an anti-climax as a brave but limited French side, particularly in comparison with the great teams of the 1950s, went down to 20-2 defeat at the hands of the hosts who completed their second tournament win.

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