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2003: 'St Jonny finally got the droppy over!'

It was as one of England's great moments of sporting triumph - victory over Australia in the Rugby World Cup.

Millions watched around the world as captain Martin Johnson became the first player to lead a northern hemisphere side to the world title.

Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was England's hero in a nail-biting match - his last-gasp effort was all that separated the sides after 100 minutes of rugby and a dramatic extra-time finale.

Thousands poured out onto the streets of London on 8 December for the team's victory parade.

Your memories:

My family had emigrated from the UK several years previously and had managed to be loyal to our new home and supported Australia in the early stages of the competition.

We invited our neighbours round to watch the Final who were real dinkum Aussies.

As the match progressed our genes took over and by the end we were screaming for the mother country.

As Johnny's kick sailed over we were dancing on the coffee table as our rather dejected friends looked on.

I have to admit the same genes kicked in during the Ashes so although I love my new country I will always be a pom.
Don Warner, Australia

I watched the game in Sarawak on the Island of Borneo, I had just completed a tough jungle warfare course in Brunei and we got a couple of days off to travel to Sarawak where we could enjoy the game with a beer.

On route I had a conversation with Andy Peters from Capital FM (it is broadcasted in Brunei as the Sultan's daughter says it reminds her of England).

It was rather surreal to be speaking with Andy about the ensuing game and the local taxi driver could not believe his ears as he looked at my mobile aghast.

We then got to an ex-pats bar where we proceeded to watch the game.

However, due to the slightly dodgy satellite link just as Johnny lined up for his kick the screen cut out.

Confusion followed as we all tried to work out what had happened. It probably didn't help that we were all six sheets to the wind!
Toby, UK

I was at home alone when it kicked off.

I soon got a call from a friend who is not a rugby fan but I said there was no way I could watch it alone so by the nail-biting 2nd half I had company.

I can still play the final scene in my head (and on a bad day I still dig out the DVD and replay "that" drop goal).

It's the one time in my life I've felt that surge of total joy, it still makes the hairs on my neck stand up and brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

The parade on December 8th in London was an amazing experience - I can't imagine any event ever having quite the same effect again.
Caroline, England

The memory of being in Sydney to witness such a momentous match lives on as if it were yesterday.

The tension, the atmosphere, the unbelievable noise made by 40,000 England fans and the incredible climax will never be surpassed.

Simply unforgettable!
Peter Jackson, England

I was there in the stadium that night. It was truly amazing. After England finished the first half on a high, the second half was incredibly tense as the ref continually penalised our scrum and the Aussies kept coming back.

But it all came right in the end, when the DG went over, everyone around me erupted.

And when the ref blew for the end of the match it was party time.

Overall my three enduring memories of the world cup are, firstly the Aus - NZ semi, when the England fans in the crowd out-sung the Aussie and NZ supporters.

Secondly, back in Sydney after the final seeing a lone Aussie supporter draped in a flag, sat at the side of the road, absolutely drenched due to the rain and looking totally fed-up.

Finally the great hospitality and friendship shown by all the Aussies that I met.
Neil, England

I live in a village in the south of France and our local internet cafe is an Aussie sports bar.

I had watched most of the RWC matches there but the final day was one I will never forget. I went with my Aussie girlfriend and all the English fans were inside whilst the Aussies were outside.

The banter and atmosphere was great.

After THAT kick all the fans from both nations were hugging and cheering for a brilliant match and we stayed on having many drinks throughout the day - what a day!
Peter, France

The best day of my life! My Dad and I in Australia at the Teltra Stadium, singing till our heads were sore, or maybe that was the beer!

The boys in white coming through at the end - "Arise, Sir Jonny"! Lets do it again in 2007.
Rich Paul, England

I remember settling down with a pint in a pub early that morning, feeling unbelievably tense and nervous.

Have to say, the match was far too nailbiting to be enjoyable, although apart from Jonny's amazing kick, the pivotal moments for me would be Mike Tindall carrying George Gregan along the sideline, and me leaping out of my seat at Robinson's try, knocking an entire plate of bacon sandwiches out of someone's hands across the pub, covering people in food.
Lisa, UK

I was one of the very lucky few (well, 40,000 or so) English at the game.

The Aussie press had been banging on about boring, boring England all week.

When Robinson scored his try, I remember just thinking, "Thank god, we scored a great try. They can't say we didn't play rugby now".

I didn't have a great view of the match, quite low, at one end of the ground, behind the goal. Until, that is, with 40 seconds to go Dawson broke clear from that ruck, running almost straight towards me.


" We stayed in the stadium dancing and cheering for almost two hours, just soaking up the atmosphere "

Richard, UK

Ben Cohen was unmarked on the left and for a split second I thought Daws would pass and Cohen would be over. But no.

The pop to Johnson, (do I actually remember this? I don't really know), back to Wilkinson ... he'd already missed a few drops, and in the moment before he struck it I thought, "This is it, the press have been criticising him all week for the drop goals and he's going to win it with a drop."

The irony - right behind the posts, we knew it was over before the ref raised his arm. Ecstasy.

We stayed in the stadium dancing and cheering for almost two hours, just soaking up the atmosphere. Amazing, incredible, unbelievable. One of the greatest days of my life.
Richard, UK

I couldn't watch it - I had to sit in the kitchen until the game was supposedly over.

And then I had to leave for an appointment so I had to listen in the car. The roads were empty in Reading, Berks.

It felt like Xmas day. And then the Kick. I have never screamed so much in my life. Sounding the horn, screaming out of the window. The two old ladies in the car behind thought I'd gone mad.

Oh what a fantastic feeling. I was so proud to be English. Still well up with pride when I think of it now!
Amanda, USA

There are benefits to being made redundant.

Firstly, you tend to leave with your pockets bulging with cash; and secondly, you tend to have a great deal of time to think about how to spend it.

And it was fate that dictated that this moment should occur in my life just three months before the 2003 RWC.

So my first ever purchase on eBay, which was still quite a new thing then, was a pair of tickets to the final in Sydney.

I parted with around AUS$2,000 for the privilege of two seats behind the home try line. (Australian chap who sold them to me must have kicked himself when the Wallabies made it into the final.)

I was taunted by many of my friends who thought that buying tickets to the final was idiotic - seeing as it was sure to be a France-All Blacks showdown.

Oh how wrong they were!

It was a nail-biter, but we saw it all with our own eyes.

Thanks for the memory, Jonny et al. I've been feeling smug ever since!
Bart Hulley, England

In a huge gamble, I had spent everything on travelling alone for the two semis and the final.

My main memory is waiting for cell phones to start working (there was no service for an hour due to the huge call volume), so that I could call my family. When I eventually got through we were all in tears.

However, it didn't end there as I was also lucky enough to travel home on "Sweet Chariot" with the team. They were kind enough to walk down the plane with the cup for photos.

I'll never forget the experience.
Ant, UK

I lived every second of the match, and nearly died every time the score levelled.

Finally when Jonny kicked the final drop kick I held my breath until I saw the flags rise and then I screamed and cried my eyes out.


" I had to go to the parade, just to say thank you to the players for what they had done "

Jamie, England

It was such a fantastic match, and although it would have been nice to have had a clearer win, I still think it has to be the best match I've ever seen.

I had to go to the parade, just to say thank you to the players for what they had done. It was so lovely to see so many people congregating together for such a happy occasion rather than in a rally against war or to cause unrest.

All ages and sexes were there just to say thank you to our wonderful rugby world champion team of 2003.

A day I will never forget.
Jamie, England

When Jonny dropped that goal I was standing directly behind the goal posts at the opposite end of the stadium with a perfect view down the length of the pitch.

You know those stories about how people develop super human strength at times of crisis, well I picked up a man next to me who was twice my size.

The rest of the evening was just mayhem. On every street corner there was an inebriated Englishman imitating the Jonny stance.

However, what really surprised me was what good losers the Aussies were.

They are so used to winning that they seemed genuinely surprised at how much the victory meant to us.

There was a lot of handshakes and "Well done, you lot deserved it".

The next day a driver even stopped his car to congratulate me.

We were on a year long trip at the time, visiting the world's greatest sights. That drop goal was the greatest sight of all.

My son has been playing rugby from the age of 6 - he was 11 in 2003.

The win was personal! It seemed a vindication of five winters standing in muddy fields watching small boys learn the game.

We really felt a part of it. My wife decided we (i.e. my son and I) should go to the airport to get Jonny's autograph. I didn't like to disagree.

We got up at 2.30 to arrive at 4.00. It was mayhem. We were packed 10-15 deep in the terminal and scavenged anything moveable to stand on.


" My wife decided my son and I should go to the airport to get Jonny's autograph. I didn't like to disagree. "

Andy, England

We bumped into a team-mate and commandeered some trolleys to stand on.

We were all singing, the hysteria of the crowd was contagious. "Ohhhhhh, Jonny Jonny, Jonny Jonny Jonny Wilkinson" is still stuck in my head.

The press were good-naturedly booed for getting the best positions.

An announcement was made asking us to calm down or the players would leave by a different exit. And as each group of players came out, the cheering, roaring and screaming got even louder.

Everyone, even me, a staid middle-aged man, old enough to know better, was delirious with joy.

Fantastic. Roll on 2007!
Andy, England

An unbelievable day. I had been "on tour" with seven others from the west of Scotland and had been in Oz since the quarter final weekend.

Having worn a kilt for the whole tour to maintain the tour uniform (despite my English roots) I felt that it would be unlucky to change now!

So armed with a front row ticket purchased with the help of my Scots friends, I left them dressed in Aussie Gold in the Crown pub and made my way in the rain.

Couldn't have asked for a better seat as Jason Robinson scored just to my right! The tension was awful and it must have left a few people wondering what was going on as an Englishman in the kilt danced with joy alongside the complete stranger next to him.

Beating the Aussies in their own backyard - does it get any better?

The rest of the night was a blur but I felt proud to be English that night - even dressed in a kilt!
Andy Mavin, UK

Just thinking about it gets me excited.

My best mate and I were on a cheeky five-week round-the-world trip and after meeting up with an old mate in Sydney for the final we went down to Darling Harbour to watch the action on one of the outdoor TVs.

The atmosphere was amazing in Sydney. Everywhere you looked there were people in England tops and I felt that it could be one of the best nights ever. And it was!

We managed to get a great spot in one of the outdoor bars, right by the bar and slap bang in front of the TV - magic!

After a few hours of heavy drinking, chanting and generally noising up the Aussies, it was all over.

In my drunken state I pottered back to the hotel and crashed out, safe in the knowledge that England were sitting on top of the world, and in the Aussies' own backyard as well!
Jamie Wilson, UK

I watched in The Londoner pub in Bangkok . Wonderful atmosphere - Brits and Aussies alike .

The Aussies in the bar couldn't have been more generous in defeat.

I have Ian Robertson's commentary saved on my computer and every time I hear it I get goose bumps and I am back in The Londoner.
Simon Adams, Dubai

I remember just having moved to Spain where I now live. The game was first thing in the morning here and trying to find a bar where it was being shown was a nightmare let alone having to explain that there was a world cup final on!


" I was running around an athletics track with my best mate on the mobile giving me a running commentary "

Eddie, Spain

Rugby is not very big in Spain. Watching the Jason Robinson try and just jumping up and down I think the bloke in the bar must have wondered what was going on.

Then the nightmare of seeing the Aussies score in the last minute to take it to extra time. All this and I had to go training. So the last five minutes I was running around an athletics track with my best mate on the mobile giving me a running commentary. Absolute nightmare.

But then the words "Wilkinson's kicked a drop goal - we lead by three with only 20-odd seconds left".

Then silence which seemed to go on for an age. And finally "We've done it! We've won!". And me jumping up and down singing We are the Champions to some people in my group I'd only just met the previous Thursday. Ahhh! What memories.
Eddie, Spain

Me and my mates were at the Uni bar at 8 having got up drinking cider at 6, biting our nails and throwing back pint after shot after pint.

When it got to THAT kick we erupted before it even crossed the posts.

There was a pile of us on the floor celebrating, so much so that we didn't even see Mike Catt's kick to touch and the final whistle.

Needless to say we carried on drinking, running across roads waving our flags. What a day, truly the best of my life!
Mark Thomas, England

I was lucky enough to fly out for the weekend to see England play in the final. It was an unbelievable game and the best weekend of my life.

Being in Sydney celebrating an England win over the Aussies was awesome!
Marc, England

I was still at University in my final year. I was in a block with about 40 people in it. We all piled into Neil's room at about half past 7 with shocking hangovers from the previous evening. There must have been 20 of us in this little room sharing about six chairs, the floor and a single bed so very cramped.

The game started with Tuquiri's try and everybody feared the worst especially when Ben Kay spilled the ball when surely it was easier to score!

We managed to force bacon sandwiches down at half time and then the tinnies were cracked open for the second half.

It all got rather noisy as the game reached it's climax but Flatley ruined it in the last minute and we feared it was all over.

The drop goal I can remember knowing it was over before Dawson had even released the ball but to watch Wilkinson confirm it was just awesome, one of the best sporting experiences of my life until the Champions League final last May!
Adam Goosey, England

I just remember watching the game in the local pub which is about 10 miles from Dunedin, NZ.

The place was packed and I think that I was the only pom in the place.

All my so-called mates, and indeed the rest of the pub turned Aussie lovers for the night and so of course I got heaps of stick.

But the game started and the rest is history and it turned out to be one of the best nights of my life. I was so proud of the team and being in another country surrounded by supporters of our opponents made the occasion even more special.

Boy did I gloat.
Nick Webb, New Zealand

I was so nervous I had to leave the living room where the rest of my family were and watch it on my own upstairs.

Due to the delay between Sky and normal TV, Mum warned me not to make too much noise so they wouldn't be pre-empted as to what was happening.

I sat on my bed biting my nails, raising to my feet when I saw Dawson pass the ball to Wilkinson.

I saw the ball go over and began to jump up and down on my bed with my hand in my mouth so as not to scream. Ten seconds later I heard my family scream - longest 10 seconds of my life!

I felt such a connection that I went with my friends and my brother to see the parade in London.

It was the best day with the best atmosphere. I was even given permission to go by the head of 6th form. She said she'd go too if she had the chance.

I sang until my voice was lost standing on Nelson's Column. One of the best days of my life.
Claire, England

Probably the happiest day of my life, and not just for the rugby.

It was on that day that I got married, although the wedding was booked six months earlier, and it wasn't until I told my best man the date that he made me aware of the shocking piece of double booking on my part.

The game (and the wedding, if I'm honest) passed in a bit of a haze.

I'd been out on the Friday night for a "few drinks" with my best man, and between getting up late with serious hangovers, and trying to watch the match, we were nearly late getting to the registry office!

Anyway, we made it, only to find that the wedding before us had been delayed, so we two nervous and hung-over Englishmen stood with the limo driver, who was Welsh and still hurting after the quarter final, and listened to the radio, going absolutely mental when Saint Jonny finally got the droppy over!

It took me a week to see that drop goal, but it still brings a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat every time. Shame about the aftermath.
Chris Green, Wales

I was the best man on that fateful day two years ago (see Chris Green of Wales post). Not only did I have to deal with the nerves of the biggest sporting event in my lifetime, but also the fact that I had to make a speech in front of a load of people I'd only met the night before (I knew the bride and groom of course).

All of this in Wales so extra must-win factor. A truly amazing day, and one that I'll never ever forget. I'll never forgive the groom for putting me through it all though!
Steve Handley, England

I was stationed in Basra, Iraq, the day that the whole team made history.

Had I been at home I would have been in the pub for most of the day but it was not to be.

It didn't matter though because the England team that day more than made up for not being home.

I think that for just a moment after Wilkinson had scored the final points everyone English could forget where he/she was and just know that they were watching something they would never forget.
Chris Amos, England

I don't know if anyone else feels like this, but it makes me feel sad.

I suppose its because I know that we will never feel that 'first time rugby world cup champions glory' again, or maybe I feel sad because English rugby has changed so much.

Clive Woodward, Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jason Leonard, Mark Regan are all in the past now.

However good our England team gets, when the mighty Jonny returns to power, we will never forget those great people who changed English rugby forever.
Nicola, England

I watched it with my Australian uncle.

Throughout the game, every time Oz got points, his sister over in Oz would ring and hang up and I'd do the same.

At the end though I had to go into the kitchen with my mum and watch it there, so that I could pace around, I was so nervous.

When Mat Dawson ran through, everyone froze, then Martin Johnson went setting up the platform for Jonny Wilkinson to get the drop goal.

We cried.

My uncle congratulated us on a game well played. He was happy anyway because Oz beat GB in League.

I remember teaching my cousin that W was for Wilkinson and it's stuck so it's always a reminder to my Australian family!

What really annoyed me, though, was that we were not allowed time off school to go and see the parade a few weeks later.

We got time off school to watch the England football team lose in the quarter finals, but didn't get to see the greatest sporting team of my generation. It was a day that will live with me forever.
Lizi, England

The ball went over in slow motion - I reckon it took about 4 minutes 8 seconds to go over - or at least it felt like that, before everything went into fast forward.

I just remember the nearest person to me also wearing an England rugby top grabbing [me].
Mike Bailey, Austria

[I'm] French but a supporter of England's squad XV. On 22 November 2003, I was at home in Paris watching at the TV and waiting for England's victory over Aussies. Extra time was really a torture and I was nearly faint-hearted till the referee's whistle.

At this moment, I remember, I was screaming, "We have done it!" and my French friends said, "He is incredible !" It was a great day. Well done, England!
Patrice Bouteiller, France

I am an Englishman living in Australia.

All week all the Aussies had been whinging about Wilko and saying that they hoped he would get injured straight away.

Midway through the first half my heart sank as he stayed down after making a tackle.

I also remember jumping up from my seat as he slotted the winning goal and finally being able to have something to brag about to all my mates.
Duncan, Australia

I still get a shiver when I remember. I was one of the lucky ones to be in the stadium during that epic encounter.

It was defining moment that I will remember for the rest of my life - memories of players and fans singing together, the sheer delirium on England faces. Tears still come to my eyes now - what a memory!
Mandy, England

Lunchtime drink at a bar called Cargo 24, hours before heading up to the Telstra Stadium, pouring with rain, drinking more beer, but not enough where it becomes a blur.

That moment when Jonny boy puts that ball between the posts and just screaming at Catty, "Just kick the ball out the ground".

Hugging and kissing anything in a white shirt, the journey back down to the Rocks (in Sydney), very quiet, just totally drained.

Supper in a bar and next door the world champions are celebrating a historic win and then later sitting outside a bar, beer in hand, opposite Sydney Opera House, about 0400 (Sunday 23rd) thinking, it doesn't get better than this.

What a day: Stuffing the Aussies in their own backyard! Thanks
Tony Warrington, UK

I watch this match in the Stadium Cafe Bali, along with hundreds of others. The only other time I have felt an atmosphere like this is at Lang Park Brisbane in a state of origin decider which Queensland won with Alfie Langer and Wally Lewis presiding, and that was live at the event.

Every expat both British and Australian, New Zealand, South African, in fact all rugby nations where somewhere in Bali watching this great moment of sporting history. I was at the stadium cafe in the heart of Kuta, the tourists from non rugby nations every minute were trying to get a look in to what the commotion was all about.

It was one of sport's greatest moments and I am a Australian.
Lee Watts, Indonesia

I'm English and living in Oz, at the time I was in Perth (I live in Melbourne). I remember when Australia scored just before full time the cheers that went up around Perth (I was watching it on TV in an apartment).

That last half-an-hour of extra time has to be the most nerve wracking time in the end I couldn't watch it and my husband was telling me the details as I stood outside........ When I went to work everybody said just how good the match was even the Aussies.......... I will never forget that match and where I was that day.
Tina Heyes, Australia

I was staying on a beach in Goa, and after a lot of nagging the Aussie manager of the place we were staying managed to run a cable out to the bar at the very last minute before the match started.

It was worth it - it was the first time in my lifetime that I saw the English team win something! Unforgettable, if nailbiting.
Anna, UK

As an English boy who grew up in Wales in the 70s, I knew about rugby and about coming second.

But at about 1100 the morning of 22 November 2003, a great and glorious light shone through on England. That foul beast called Defeat, whose vile shadow had hung long and heavy over the green and pleasant land lay crushed beneath the feet of the victorious English army.
Tim Spencer, England

I was living in Sydney at the time with my family and was fortunate enough to go to the game.

Two things stick in my mind, firstly, in the city after the game the bars were filled with both sets of supporters taking it in turns of singing their own songs, total respect, plenty of humour and great celebration, just how sport should be.

Secondly I arrived home at 0400 , my wife was in bed and she said 'you are home early'. I nearly went back out again!
Clive Hadingham, England

We got blootered in the pub, it was the busiest I have ever seen it, total chaos, but a brilliant, brilliant day. Guinness and Champagne at 0700, what more can I say?
Paul, England

I was in Brisbane with my girlfriend and friend Kila and we watched the match on a massive outdoor screen accompanied by about 50 England supporters and near enough 600 Aussie fans.

The Aussies did disappear very rapidly come the final whistle but they were all surprisingly good sports about it. We received many "well playeds" and hand-shakes. Best day of my life!
Marc Jones, England

Memories
What a weekend it was! Went to the game, just an awesome experience. Then the the amazing bit!....had the privilege of a 'lock in' with about eight of the players on the Sunday night in a bar in Manly, Sydney. Some a little worse for wear...but deservedly so!
Scotty, UK

I could never forget the moment Jonny picked up that ball and immmediately drop kicked it to win. My family was all sitting around the TV and my two-week-old baby was asleep on my wife's lap when he scored.

We all erupted in cries and cheers and our poor little baby was rudely woken and started to shriek with fear. I remember being unable to quieten down despite my wife's pleas to be quiet. What a goal, what a day!
William, England

I'll never forgot the tension throughout the match...and that final drop goal, my heart pounding the crowded pub seemed somewhat subdued...until it erupted in to mass celebrations, don't think we stopped for 48 hours.
Greg Carter, UK

I will never forget this glorious tour. The "Wheathampstead Wanderers" (comprising of, Paul, Smiffy, Pete and myself),have followed England (and the Lions) around the world, but 22 November 2003, we will simply never forget.

We were at the Telstra Stadium, attired with tour blazers, and witnessed a tense, fiercely contested victory. The atmosphere was electric.

I too remember the English fans out-singing both the Aussies and the Kiwis at one of the semi-finals, also witnessing Welsh fans cheering on the Aussies at the final - until Jason went over for that all important try. Happy memories...
Simon, England

We watched the final in Scotland. My eldest son (five at the time) and I had sat through all the games of RWC 2003. This was his first experience of the sport.

We left the house to collect a friend and went for breakfast. We watched the final with a fellow Englishman and two Scottish friends. I remember nearly breaking my friend's lighshade when I leapt up to celebrate Janson's try!

When the tension got too much I decided a trip to the toilet was a good idea - except the sound on the TV was up so loud that I could still hear the commentary. We went mad when Jonny's DG went over. I remember screaming at the TV to kick the ball into touch as the clock passed 80 mins.

I'm not sure what my friend's neighbours thought when three Englishmen ran about celebrating an amazing win! The feeling of elation was incredible and didn't go away for a week. As a result of that tournament, my eldest son has taken up rugby and I've started coaching - 20 years after I last played. What a day!
James, Scotland

For me this moment was truly one of the best moments in English sporting history. I remember sitting in front of the TV on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Perth, eyes glued to the set when all scores were levelled at 17 all.

Then at the last few seconds of the match Jonny's drop goal sealed the game. Watching Martin Johnson lift the world cup was a sight to behold. To this day everytime I see that drop goal it brings a smile to my face and memories to that day when England were crowned the world champions of rugby union.
Andrew Moore, Australia

The only things I really remember are that Wilkinson was the only player who really stood out. And of course that picture of the whole team where every player was Wilkinson!
Molly, Wales

I'd never been drunk before at 0800 in the morning. Considering my party past, that realisation surprised me somewhat.

Eight cans of the dirty black and white, projector, screen, 30 select friends, downstairs at a former 15th century monastery.

That kick, that moment, that feeling! Now locked in my memory forever.
Pete Schofield, UK

I was 12 at the time and I had just won my first footie match 9-0!

My dad was helping my grandparents downsize at the time. When I rang him to tell him of my team's massive success he told me to ring back in 10 minutes, as the game had gone over.

Thoroughly fed up with the waiting I stayed on the phone and when Johnny kicked that ball, my hearing has never been the same since!
Emma, UK


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