1985 - 1988 Rugby League World Cup


1985 - 1988 Rugby League World Cup

The ninth Rugby League World Cup saw yet another change of format. The competition was stretched to cover almost three years (1985 to 1988), with teams playing each other on a home and away basis. These matches were fitted into the normal international programme of three-match test series between the nations, with a pre-designated match from each series counting as the world cup fixture.

The competition was further altered by the addition of a new nation, Papua New Guinea. The "Kumuls" performed creditably, particularly when playing in the front of their fiercely patriotic home crowd. Conversely, France were unable to fulfil their 1987 tour of Australasia due to financial difficulties, and had to forfeit away fixtures against Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

The competition was confusing to follow, and for the early stages it was difficult for supporters to focus on. Towards the end of the cycle things improved, with the final group stage match between New Zealand and Great Britain being a sudden death battle for a spot in the final, Britain needing only a draw. In the event the Kiwis came through 12-10, and went on to face Australia in the final at Eden Park, Auckland.

The final attracted one of the highest ever crowds for a rugby league match in New Zealand: 47,363. Unfortunately for them, home advantage was not enough for New Zealand, who went down 12-25 to the seemingly invincible Australians.

Results

rugbybox
date = 1985-07-07
home = rl-rt|New Zealand
score = 18–0
away = rl|Australia
stadium = Carlaw Park, Auckland
----rugbybox
date = 1985-11-09
home = rl-rt|Great Britain
score = 6–6
away = rl|New Zealand
stadium = Headingley, Leeds
----rugbybox
date = 1985-12-07
home = rl-rt|France
score = 0–22
away = rl|New Zealand
stadium = Perpignan
----rugbybox
date = 1986-02-16
home = rl-rt|France
score = 10–10
away = rl|Great Britain
stadium = Avignon
----rugbybox
date = 1986-07-29
home = rl-rt|Australia
score = 32–12
away = rl|New Zealand
stadium = Lang Park, Brisbane
----rugbybox
date = 1986-08-17
home = rl-rt|Papua New Guinea
score = 24–22
away = rl|New Zealand
stadium = Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
----rugbybox
date = 1986-10-05
home = rl-rt|Papua New Guinea
score = 12–62
away = rl|Australia
stadium = Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
----rugbybox
date = 1986-11-22
home = rl-rt|Great Britain
score = 15–24
away = rl|Australia
stadium = Central Park, Wigan
----rugbybox
date = 1986-12-13
home = rl-rt|France
score = 0–52
away = rl|Australia
stadium = Carcassonne
----rugbybox
date = 1987-01-14
home = rl-rt|Great Britain
score = 52–4
away = rl|France
stadium = Headingley, Leeds
----rugbybox
date = 1987-10-24
home = rl-rt|Great Britain
score = 42–0
away = rl|Papua New Guinea
stadium = Central Park, Wigan
attendance=9,121
----rugbybox
date = 1987-11-15
home = rl-rt|France
score = 21–4
away = rl|Papua New Guinea
stadium = Carcassonne
attendance=3,500
----rugbybox
date = 1988-05-22
home = rl-rt|Papua New Guinea
score = 22–42
away = rl|Great Britain
stadium = Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
attendance=12,107
----rugbybox
date = 1988-07-09
home = rl-rt|Australia
score = 12–26
away = rl|Great Britain
stadium = Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
attendance=15,944
----rugbybox
date = 1988-07-10
home = rl-rt|New Zealand
score = 66–14
away = rl|Papua New Guinea
stadium = Auckland
attendance=14,000
----rugbybox
date = 1988-06-17
home = rl-rt|Australia
score = 70–8
away = rl|Papua New Guinea
stadium = Eric Weissel Oval, Wagga Wagga
attendance=11,685
----rugbybox
date = 1988-07-20
home = rl-rt|New Zealand
score = 12–10
away = rl|Great Britain
stadium = Christchurch
attendance=8,525

Final standings

1Received two points for non-fulfilment of fixtures by France in 1987

Final

rugbyleaguebox
bg = #eeeeee
date = Sun. October 9, 1988
team1 = flagicon|AUS Australian Kangaroos
score = 25–12
report =
team2 = flagicon|NZL New Zealand Kiwis
points1 = Allan Langer (8 - 2t)
Gavin Miller (4 - 1t)
Dale Shearer (4 - 1t)
Michael O'Connor (8 - 4g)
Ben Elias (1 - 1fg)
points2 = (4 - 1t) Tony Iro
(4 - 1t) Kevin Iro
(4 - 2g) P Brown
stadium = Eden Park, Auckland
attendance = 47,363
referee= G. Ainui flagicon|PNG
manofmatch=

Here, New Zealand met Australia in the World Cup final, the culmination of four years of competition. At the end of four years, Australia finished top of the table, and, through their victory over Great Britain in Christchurch, the Kiwis qualified to host the final. The Final was played at Eden Park, the only occasion that rugby league had graced the ground. Prior to kick-off Graham Brazier performed the New Zealand national anthem.

The hosts went in, surprisingly, as favourites in many critics' eyes due to the inexperience of the Aussies. However, the Wally Lewis-led Aussies - boasting the likes of Ben Elias, Allan Langer, Paul Sironen and David Gillespie among their 'inexperienced' - triumphed over the ill-disciplined Kiwis, who at least made sure the victorious Aussies were bloodied and bruised for their victory lap. For the Kiwis, the Iro brothers, Dean Bell, Gary Freeman, Clayton Friend, Mark Graham, Adrian Shelford and Kurt Sorenson dished out the punishment.

External links

* [http://www.rlwc08.com/about/pastwinners.aspx?article=1988 1985-1988 World Cup at rlwc08.com]
* [http://www.rlhalloffame.org.uk/wc1988.htm 1985-1988 World Cup at rlhalloffame.org.uk]
* [http://rugbyleagueproject.com/competitions/World_Cup_1988.html 1985-1988 World Cup at rugbyleagueproject.com]


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