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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
World Cup golden moments
Wales 22-21 Australia
World Cup third place play-off, 18 June 1987
Rotorua Stadium, Rotorua

Monster kick ousts Aussies
by Paul Thorburn

Being remembered as a goakicker, you don't always get credit for the other parts you play.

It was a frustrating thing for me that people only remembered my winning kick in this game.

But I was actually quite key to helping Adrian Hadley score the try that gave us the chance of victory.

There was a scrum about 20 metres out in midfield, and Jonathan Davies got the ball and stuck an up-and-under down the blindside.

John Devereux jumped with several Australian defenders in the air and caught the ball, which came back quickly along the Welsh line.

I received the ball and Nick Farr-Jones was coming across to tackle me but I managed to hand him off just inside the touchline and slip a pass inside to Adrian, who stuck it down right in the corner.

The conversion was right on the touchline, but there were no particular nerves.

When you are a kicker you just try to focus on the job in hand and go through the basics.

I had missed a couple during the game but I was striking the ball well, as I had been all through the tournament.

I practised a lot, but sometimes the margin betweeen getting it over or not is very narrow.

As soon as I struck it I knew it was over.

It was a great feeling to see it go through the posts but we still had a couple of minutes to hang on.

Australia 21:
Tries: Burke, Grigg
Cons: Lynagh 2
Pens: Lynagh 2
Drop: Lynagh
Wales 22:
Tries: Moriarty, Roberts, Hadley
Cons: Thorburn 2
Pens: Thorburn2
Australia nearly scored in the dying moments from a counter attack right from their own line.

They broke away the length of the field but an inside pass from David Campese went astray.

I managed to get the ball and boot it into touch and that was the final whistle.

It went right to the death and there was a lot of emotion. We were overjoyed at winning.

The boys managed to turn things around after the hammering we took from the All Blacks.

Many of us feared another thumping and after six weeks of touring and training I was looking forward to getting home.

But there were rumours that Australia didn't think it was worth their while turning up because we were not worthy opponents.

Had we played them on another day, in different circumstances, I am sure they would have beaten us

That had a motivating effect on us and we went out there determined to redeem ourselves and salvage something from the tournament.

We had a lot of injuries all the way through the tournament and had to call in a couple of young players not part of the original squad.

Richard Webster, who was only 19, happened to be in Australia and had his kit with him, and ended up being picked for his debut.

Rotorua was hot, steamy and smelly with the sulphur springs all around, and the stadium was a bit like Pontypool Park, with only one real stand and spectators sitting on grass banks.

The locals were all supporting us but the game was marred by their flanker David Codey getting sent off for stamping in the first five minutes.

Playing with 14 men for for virtually the whole game obviously had an impact on Australia, but it was a ding-dong battle and we competed right to the end.

Had we played them on another day, in different circumstances, I am sure they would have beaten us.

But that is sport and the record books show we won. We will take that.

Interview by Bryn Palmer



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WORLD CUP GOLDEN MOMENTS
Players remember
 


1987: Kiwis claim Cup

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