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5 Biggest Shocks
The most surprising results in international rugby
Posted Jun 08, 2011 by Chris White
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People regularly say “it’s a funny old game” when it comes to sport, and rugby is another one of those that can go either way. Depending on how the ball bounces, you can win a game or lose a game in the blink of eye, with the swing of a boot or a gust of the breeze.
It’s also one of those sports where, on their day, anybody can beat anybody. It was only a couple of years ago that Scotland did the unthinkable at Murrayfield and beat the Australians. So this got me thinking, since the turn of the millennium, what have been the biggest shock results in the game? Here are my top 5.
I have to start with that win for Scotland at Murrayfield in 2009. Australia went into the game having beaten England at Twickenham, and drawn with Ireland at Croke Park, and were strong favourites to win again in Scotland. The Aussies found themselves 9-3 down in a scrappy match, which suited Scotland, before scoring a late try. Matt Giteau had the chance to win the match with his conversion, but sent his kick wide of the posts and gave Andy Robinson’s side the victory 9-8.
Scotland produced another huge shock result eight years earlier, when they emulated the national football team in beating England. The win for Scotland in a mud bath at Murrayfield was their first victory over the English for ten years and denied England the Grand Slam. England lead 10-9 at half time, and in a second half full of stoppages, it was Scotland who came back the stronger after the break. Hodge picked up the ball on the 22 with 5 minutes remaining and forced his way over the line before converting his own try to make it 19-13 to the home side.
Wales coach Gareth Jenkins lost his job on the back of one of the biggest shocks, which came at the 2007 World Cup in France. The Welsh went into the game with Fiji as massive favourites to win the match, and were playing some unbelievable rugby. But the Fijians came out flying in the first half, and managed to take a 25-10 lead into half time. Despite a Shane Williams wonder try, and another from Martyn Williams – which appeared to give the Welsh one of the great comeback victories – Fiji crashed over the line with four minutes to go to win 38-34 and qualify for the quarter finals for the first time.
Drawn against the hosts France in the 2007 World Cup, few people gave Argentina a chance of winning in Paris, and why would they, a country widely known for football, but not so much for their rugby. Well, they are now. Las Pumas silenced the home crowd with a 17-12 victory, the first in what would be a five-match winning run taking them to the quarter finals, and causing the Buenos Aires derby between River Plate and Boca Juniors to be rescheduled to avoid a clash.
The final massive shock came a year earlier, again involving those pesky Argentinians. This time, it was a below-par England at Twickenham who were the victims, as the touring side took advantage of an England side that was still on their way down after the highs of the 2003 World Cup. Andy Robinson subsequently resigned as England coach as Argentina racked up 25 points to England’s 18.