1995 Rugby League World Cup Semi-Final
21 October 1995 • KO 00:00
25 v 10
Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee : Eddie Ward
Wales' brave campaign in the Centenary World Cup was ultimately brought to an end by a clinical England performance in the Old Trafford semi final. The pride in the Welsh shirt, typified by the outstanding Kelvin Skerrett, continued in the vein of the rest of the tournament, but on the day their opponents deserved their place in the Wembley final.
The match began at a ferocious pace with England twice coming close through Betts and Clarke. However it was Jonathan Davies who registered the first points of the day, slotting home a penalty after a Clarke high tackle. Andy Farrell replied soon after with a penalty for England after Skerrett was penalised at the play the ball.
Around a quarter of the way through the match, Paul Newlove scored the try which set England onto a roll of confidence. A break from Phil Clarke saw his erratic pass skillfully cleaned up by Andy Farrell who sent Newlove on a typical powerhouse run through a couple of tacklers to the line. Farrell missed the goal and shortly after Davies' second penalty reduced the deficit to 4-6.
However England struck two crucial blows before half time. Firstly Bobbie Goulding slipped home a drop goal and with a minute to go before the hooter, some crafty work from Farrell and the pacey Tony Smith created space for Denis Betts to cross and give England a useful 11-4 lead.
Shortly after halftime the English struck another key blow. Paul Moriarty was sent to the sin bin and with the defence short on numbers, Goulding hoisted an expertly placed cross field kick for Martin Offiah to score unopposed despite Welsh protests that he had been offside.
The Goulding/Offiah duo repeated the trick fifteen minutes later, this time uncertainty surrounded the grounding but the try again stood and England were 19-4 up.
Wales were on the racks, but typically in no mood to surrender. Paul Moriarty brought the Welsh crowd to voice with a powerful run and soon after his introduction from the bench, Rowland Phillips scored a magnificent opportunist try. He had been tackled close to the line
by Nick Pinkney but with England failing to put any men at marker, the Welsh back rower deftly played the ball to himself and crashed over. Davies added the goal, the scores were 19-10 and it was game on again.
Buoyed on by the passionate crowd singing the Welsh played out the last quarter of the game on a wave of emotion. Kevin Ellis came close to scoring, and with 3 minutes to go Anthony Sullivan evaded Robinson and belted down the line only for an outstanding tackle from Radlinski to deny a Wales score.
Bobbie Goulding had been England's best player throughout and he ended the contest when his sliding run picked out Phil Clarke to cross for the decisive score.
England were deserving winners, having held the upper hand for all of the game bar the Wales spirited opening and climax. However Wales were far from disgraced, and their achievement in reaching the World Cup semi final must not be underestimated. Just a couple of years earlier they were not considered worthy participants in a global tournament; in the 1995 World Cup they won not only the respect of their opponents but the admiration of the Welsh public.
At the end of the game an emotional Jonathan Davies sunk to his knees and cried. It brought an end to his magnificent rugby league career, and he later claimed that he never experienced a form of comradeship and team spirit than that in the 1995 Welsh World Cup squad.
Team Lists and Scoring Information
|11||Denis Betts (c)||1||4|
|6||Jonathan Davies (c)||3||6|
|2 - 0||Jonathan Davies||Wales||Penalty|
|4 - 0||Jonathan Davies||Wales||Penalty|
|6 - 0||Jonathan Davies||Wales||Conversion|
|6 - 2||Andy Farrell||England||Conversion|
|6 - 4||Bobbie Goulding||England||Conversion|
|10 - 4||Rowland Phillips||Wales||Try|
|10 - 8||Andy Farrell||England||Try|
|10 - 12||Denis Betts||England||Try|
|10 - 16||Martin Offiah||England||Try|
|10 - 20||Martin Offiah||England||Try|
|10 - 24||Paul Newlove||England||Try|
|10 - 25||Bobbie Goulding||England||Drop Goal|