Rugby World Cup 1985/1988

After a gap of eight years the Rugby World Cup re-appeared in a vastly different form, as the tournament took place over three years with a pool stage followed by a final.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) were welcomed into the new tournament alongside the traditional four, but France were forced to forfeit away fixtures against Australia, New Zealand and PNG due to financial difficulties in arranging the tour.

The tournament kicked off with New Zealand surprising Australia in Auckland by winning 18-10 thanks to two tries from Clayton Friend.

Four months later Great Britain started their campaign with a 6-6 draw against New Zealand. They also managed a 10-10 draw with France, but defeat against Australia at Central Park dented their hopes.

Despite that, they managed a memorable 26-12 victory against the Kangaroos in Sydney, but the last group match against New Zealand in Auckland saw the Kiwis squeak into their first final with a 12-10 success. Australia were waiting for them there, having lost two games to Great Britain and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea managed to avoid disgrace in their first ever tournament, enjoying a surprise 24-22 win over the Kiwis in Port Moresby, to leave France with the wooden spoon.

The final in Auckland proved to be an anti-climax for New Zealand, as despite tries from the Iro brothers, Tony and Kevin, they went down to a Wally Lewis-inspired Australia, 25-12.

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