Rugby World Cup 1977

The experiments of 1975 were shelved in time for the 1977 World Cup, with the teams playing each just once in a standard pool format, hosted within Australia and New Zealand.

Great Britain were back, as England and Wales were combined once more, but the team remained the underdogs, with Australia starting to build the powerful legacy of world-dominating teams.

France were still included in the tournament four, but failed to win a match, although they did at least manage to improve on the defensive showing they had managed in the World Championship two years previously.

The Kiwis also performed poorly, getting off to a bad start in a 27-17 reverse at Auckland to begin their campaign, before losing to Great Britain 30-12.

The Lions had kicked off with a simple 23-4 victory over France, with Australia managing an equally comfortable 21-6 against the same opponents, before becoming unstuck in the final pool match against the Kangaroos 19-5 in Brisbane.

New Zealand, meanwhile, managed their only victory in the tournament with a 28-20 victory over winless France in the final pool match.

In what was to be the tightest Rugby League World Cup final Australia edged the Lions 13-12 thanks to tries from Russell Gartner, Allan McMahon and John Kolc.

There was agony for Great Britain full-back George Fairburn, the top-scorer in the tournament who missed a late penalty, while earlier in the game Stuart Wright was called back for a penalty, despite possessing a clear advantage when he had a clear run at the posts.

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