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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 13:23 GMT
Nick Farr-Jones - 1991
Nick Farr-Jones
Farr-Jones had mixed feelings on lifting the trophy
Australia are the only side to have lifted the Webb Ellis trophy twice.

The first Wallaby to raise it aloft was Nick Farr-Jones, who led them to a 12-6 victory over England at Twickenham.

Farr-Jones now lives and works in Sydney, where he is also involved in local politics.


What are your recollections of heading all the way over to England back in '91?

I'd been part of the inaugural World Cup and we had been favourites but played like bums against a very good French side.

I knew that '91 was the final throw of the dice for me, which meant a lot of pressure and a lot of build-up and speculation.

So it was good to hop on the plane and get away. My recollections were that the tournament couldn't come soon enough for us to escape home.

The tournament went smoothly for you until the quarter-final against Ireland. Do you consider yourselves lucky to have scraped through that one?

Things didn't go all that smoothly against Argentina where we were only leading by four points at half-time before being rescued by some David Campese-Tim Horan magic.

Australia suffered a scare against Ireland in the quarters
Australia suffered a scare against Ireland in the quarters

And then against Samoa we only just scraped through in some terrible conditions. But the Ireland game was when the tournament ignited for us.

It captivated people back home. I heard endless stories of people kicking their cats or booting the dog after Gordon Hamilton scored to put Ireland ahead with four minutes left.

I heard of some who even went to bed assuming the game was lost. I'd come off injured and, sitting in the stands, thought we were done.

As did John Eales, whose first reaction to Hamilton's try was his dry cleaning. It was not going to be ready until Monday but we were set to fly back on the Sunday if we lost.

That game was the most emotional time of my life. It was similar to the birth of one of my children crammed into about four minutes. And it's odd to think we wouldn't be talking now if we hadn't got that final try back. It changed so many things in my life.

I'd like to think had I been on the field we wouldn't have been in that position but when Gordon Hamilton scored, Michael Lynagh treated the situation very differently to how I would.

I would have read the riot act but he asked the ref how long was left and then said he would kick long. That took guts and the rest is history as he went on to score.

For sure we were lucky. One minute we were down and out of the World Cup and the next we were somehow back in it and on our way to face New Zealand.

And then you went on to the semi-finals against New Zealand, which proved a classic.

Australia celebrate victory over New Zealand in the semi-finals
Australia proved too strong for the All Blacks

That match was magnificent from start to finish. In fact, the first 40 minutes was the best rugby I'd ever been involved in.

It was the only time in the tournament we got it exactly right and it felt great. There are too many good moments to list.

But the most exciting had to be from Campo. He defied all the logic of the game by running across the field before sealing a superb try. And that flip over the shoulder to Tim Horan for the second try was the stuff of legend.

The final is remembered by many English fans for David Campese's knock-on in the final. It arguably cost Rory Underwood a certain try.

Well, firstly the final was a good day and memorable day. The English surprised us and played a game we didn't expect.

Rob Andrew ran 28 out of 42 possessions which went against their policy earlier in the tournament.

I'm not sure what got into the them and whether they felt they could not beat us the way they'd previously been playing.

I'm happy England chanced their arm that day but I can't believe that people still go on about that one, insisting that Campo cost Underwood the score.

I don't know why as there's no way Underwood would have scored. He still had miles to cover and the defence would have come across.

And finally, what was the feeling when you finally got your hands on the Webb Ellis trophy?

That is a hard question 12 years on. It was probably a relief more than anything.

For me, the biggest night next to Christmas was the FA Cup. I used to wake up to watch that and I remember walking up to get the trophy from the Queen and thought of my childhood memories of FA Cup captains walking up at Wembley.

But there was also a sense of melancholy after working your butt off and realising that this had been the focus of your life and it doesn't get better than that. There's a sense of "is that all?" and "is this as good as it gets?". It leaves you in a vacuum.

Interview by Matt Majendie





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