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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 November, 2003, 12:31 GMT
Carling relishes 'great day'
England celebrate

Former England captain Will Carling has described the World Cup triumph in Sydney as "a great day for English rugby".

Carling praised Jonny Wilkinson's last-gasp extra-time drop goal to seal a stunning 20-17 win for Clive Woodward's men and was quick to congratulate England for their display.

"These are just incredible scenes and it's a great day for English rugby," said the skipper of the 1991 World Cup team beaten by Australia in the final at Twickenham.

"Jonny Wilkinson was just finishing off years of work and four years of preparation under Clive Woodward have paid off. I'm delighted for him and delighted for English rugby."

But Carling was also impressed by the resilient performance from the Australians, who fought back from 14-5 down at half-time to force extra time.

His leadership skills are extraordinary, he's not flash - just an incredible rugby player
Will Carling on Martin Johnson
"Australia played incredibly well. For a side outgunned in every department they stayed in the game and, until Jonny Wilkinson finished them off, they were fighting all the way."

Carling heaped the praise on current captain Martin Johnson.

"You saw the man in his interview and he was praising the contribution of everyone else. That is the calibre of the man.

"His leadership skills are extraordinary, he's not flash - just an incredible rugby player."

Francois Pienaar, who captained South Africa to victory in the 1995 tournament, believes for the England players, the victory has yet to sink in.

"Tomorrow morning when the players wake up they will realise how big this is," he said. "At the moment the players and those fans are emotionally drained.

"They won't know yet what hit them, the enormity of it all is just going to grow through the rest of this year."

At the end of day the power of England told
Former Wallabies star Michael Lynagh
Former Australia star Michael Lynagh, part of the team which won the 1991 World Cup, praised the Eddie Jones' side for reaching the final against all the odds.

"It was a fantastic performance by Australia and they put on a super performance," Lynagh said.

They were outmuscled but kept on coming back, kicking unbelievable penalties under pressure but at the end of day the power of England told."

Scotland coach Ian McGeechan welcomed England's win as "brilliant news" for the game in the northern hemisphere.

"I was nervous just watching it and you have to give credit to England for the way the handled pressure," said McGeechan.

"It is a major step forward for England and the entire northern hemisphere.

"We now have the world champions in our backyard and we have the opportunity to play them every year. It can only do the entire game a huge amount of good."

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