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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
World Cup golden moments
France 30-24 Australia
World Cup semi-final, 13 June 1987
Concord Oval, Sydney

The final Serge
by Philippe Sella

I've watched a few great games in my time at the World Cup but I'm not sure there have been many, if any, that have come close to matching this one and the class of the finish.

The end of the game is the bit that still sticks out in everyone's minds, when Serge Blanco managed to sneak past Tom Lawton before finally putting the ball down.

Philippe Sella (left) with Serge Blanco
Sella (left) and Blanco both scored to knock out Australia

Both teams were playing really similar rugby. It was all about initiative, commitment and trying to produce something special, which both sides had shown they were capable of.

It couldn't really have been much closer. It was a draw after 80 minutes, well almost the 80 minutes anyway.

What happened next is all a bit of a blur - after all, it is 16 years ago!

The try was strange because we had forwards playing like backs. Everyone seemed to get so caught up in the excitement of the moment, even the referee, who let what seemed a forward pass go.

Serge's try started with a kick to the centre of the pitch. Somehow our lock Alain Lorieux arrived first and caught the ball. I'm not sure how but he just beat one of the Wallabies to it.

From there, the first players on the scene were Pascal Ondarts and then Jean-Pierre Garuet-Lempirou - our two props. They passed the ball between themselves like they were centres and played it out to the right side.

The ball ran near the touchline where there was one problem when Denis Charvet's pass to Eric Champ went forward but nobody saw it.

Play then came back to the left side, Laurent Rodriguez scooped the ball off the floor with some difficulty and just managed to get it to Patrice Lagisquet, who gave the final ball to Serge.

He took the pass at speed and sprinted into the corner. Some of the tacklers came close but he managed to dodge them all and dive full stretch at the line.

It was absolutely unbelievable after he had scored. We knew we had been in the game the whole time even though we hadn't been the favourites.

France 30
Tries: Sella, Lagisquet, Lorieux & Blanco
Cons: Camberabero (4)
Pens: Camberabero (2)
Australia 24
Tries: Campese & Codey
Cons: Lynagh (2)
Pens: Lynagh (3)
Drop goal: Lynagh
The game, though, had been so exciting already. We had scored, they had scored, we had defended, they had defended, and we had attacked and then they had attacked. It was relentless.

One thing that stands out in my mind is my own try. How selfish of me!

The only aspect I really recall 100% clearly about it was actually putting the ball down under the posts.

Pierre Berbizier had decided to run it on the left-hand side and then I received the pass from Franck Mesnel.

I then took a gap between two players before side-stepping so I could put it down under the posts.

Afterwards it was amazing because I turned round to count the Wallabies on the floor. It was like "one, two, three" - it's not often you see that.

The whole occasion remains really special for me but people forget about our build-up which was just as important.

We trained really hard all the time which paid off. But our coach also mixed that well with relaxing.

Every evening we went bowling which helped build morale for the team. I don't know, maybe bowling helped us get to the World Cup final.

Interview by Matt Majendie

Links to more History stories


Players remember

1987: Kiwis claim Cup


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