Rugby World Cup 2019: South Africa makes history by doing the double

No team has ever won the Rugby Championship, or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations, and the World Cup in the same year until now.

South Africa made history on Saturday after beating England 32-12 in the Rugby World Cup final.   -  GETTY IMAGES

South Africa made history on Saturday after beating England 32-12 in the Rugby World Cup final.

The Springboks had already lifted one trophy this year after winning the Rugby Championship in August, and, in Yokohama, Rassie Erasmus' team achieved something that had eluded rivals New Zealand and Australia in the past.

In the previous five years when there has been both a Rugby Championship – or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations – and a World Cup, the winner of the first tournament had subsequently failed to also deliver success on the global stage.

South Africa succeeded where these teams failed...

1999: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA

The All Blacks won the first two Tri Nations and made it three in four years by thrashing South Africa 28-0, beating Australia 34-15 and claiming another victory over the Springboks.

However, a 28-7 loss to the Wallabies in the final fixture suggested New Zealand were not so invincible...

At the World Cup, the great Jonah Lomu scored eight tries yet France stunned New Zealand 43-31 in the last four, with Australia then winning the final against Les Bleus.

 

2003: TRI NATIONS WINNER – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNER – ENGLAND

Four wins out of four delivered another Tri Nations triumph for New Zealand.

The All Blacks scored 282 points in their four World Cup pool games in Australia too before easing past South Africa 29-9 in the quarterfinals.

But Elton Flatley's accuracy from the tee consigned New Zealand to another semifinal loss and sent Australia back to the final, where Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in Sydney delivered a famous success for England.

 

2007: TRI NATIONS WINNER – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNER – SOUTH AFRICA

Neither Australia nor South Africa could deny the All Blacks another Tri Nations title in 2007, though it was a Northern Hemisphere nation which would stop their run at the World Cup.

New Zealand led 13-3 in the first half of its quarterfinal against France only to suffer another knockout loss to its World Cup nemesis as Yannick Jauzion scored a brilliant converted try 11 minutes from time to seal a 20-18 success.

Defending champion England beat France in the semifinal but Percy Montgomery won the battle of the boots with Wilkinson in the final as South Africa secured its second World Cup.

 

2011: TRI NATIONS WINNER – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNER – NEW ZEALAND

In the final Tri Nations before Argentina joined to form the Rugby Championship, Graham Henry's team lost its last two matches as Australia triumphed for the first time in a decade.

The World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and after years of being the nearly men, it was the All Blacks' turn to taste global glory again.

France was its final opponent and, in a tense, low-scoring contest, New Zealand won 8-7.

 

2015: RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNER – NEW ZEALAND

Four years ago, Australia beat the other three nations to win the Rugby Championship, and came out on top of a World Cup pool that included Wales and host England.

The Wallabies narrowly saw off Scotland 35-34 and ousted Argentina 29-15 to set up a final with a New Zealand side that had hammered France 62-13 in the last eight.

No team had ever retained the World Cup before but Dan Carter shone on his international farewell to ensure Steve Hansen's side lifted the Webb Ellis Cup again.