Rugby World Cup 1972

In 1972, seven years after the previously scheduled tournament had been due to be played there and 18 years after the first tournament, the Rugby League World Cup took place in France.
Again the format consisted of a group stage featuring the four major teams, followed by a final play-off between the top two.

Great Britain were seeking revenge after being surprised in the final of the 1970 tournament, and they achieved it in their opening match defeating Australia 27-21 at Perpignan.

Over 20,000 people turned up to see France's opening match, a 20-9 victory against New Zealand, but that turned out to be the high watermark for attendances, as interest soon waned when France began to struggle.

They lost 13-4 to the British in the next game at Grenoble, before playing off against Australia, who had already defeated New Zealand 9-5, for the right to play the Lions in the final.

Great Britain completed a miserable winless tournament for the Kiwis with a crunching 53-9 success, before Australia sealed their final place with a comfortable win over France.

Only 4,231 people turned up to watch the final, with the crowd witnessing an early try from Lions captain Clive Sullivan overhauled by scores from John O'Neill and Arthur Beetson to see Australia lead 10-5.

Future Sky Sports presenter Mike Stephenson barged his way over for an equalising try, and with no further scores in extra-time, Great Britain were awarded the trophy courtesy of their superior effort in qualifying.

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