With the 2019 Rugby World Cup drawing closer, 888sport look at four of the best individual performances in the history of the competition.
New Zealand, 6/5 in the latest sports betting odds to win the Rugby World Cup for the third time in a row, are the most successful team in this tournament and plenty of punters will be backing the All Blacks to go on and lift the trophy later this year.
888sport punters will notice that we tipped New Zealand for 2019 Rugby World Cup glory over a year ago and they remain clear at the head of the betting.
For the time being though, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the standout performances in Rugby World Cup history. Let’s hope that a player can join the list during the 2019 tournament...
Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)
One of the most famous names in New Zealand’s illustrious rugby history, Jonah Lomu was an unknown quantity ahead of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Always a Rugby World Cup Player of the Tournament contender, Lomu will go down as one of the All Blacks' greatest players.
With just two All Blacks caps to his name ahead of the tournament, his inclusion in the New Zealand squad raised eyebrows across the world.
However, it didn’t take him long to make an explosive impression. New Zealand had cruised into the semi-finals and a World Cup final four clash with England was looming.
Still only 20 years old, Lomu ran riot – literally bulldozering Mike Catt to the floor. With Catt helpless on the ground, Lomu touched down for the first of FOUR tries as the All Blacks marched into the 1995 World Cup final.
Takudzwa Ngwenya (United States)
The inclusion of a player from the United States may shock some rugby supporters but the USA are starting to develop into a strong union team.
One of their first major moments on the Rugby World Cup stage came at the 2007 tournament, with Takudzwa Ngwenya scoring one of the greatest tries in the competition’s history.
At the time, Bryan Habana was widely regarded as the fastest player on the planet. He was the poster boy for South Africa’s 2007 World Cup campaign but was left red-faced by the speedy Ngwenya during a pool stage game.
The Springboks went on to lift the trophy later in the tournament but Ngwenya’s try is still talked about to this day. With the United States at 250/1 to win Pool C at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the current crop could take a leaf from Ngwenya’s book.
Karne Hesketh (Japan)
We’ve put Karne Hesketh’s name down here but the whole Japan squad deserve credit for this Rugby World Cup highlight. With no victory in this tournament for 24 years, Japan went into their pool stage clash with South Africa as massive underdogs.
However, Eddie Jones’ side managed to claim the greatest scalp in Rugby World Cup history, with Hesketh scoring the winning try four minutes into overtime.
It was an incredible moment for rugby fans across the world and one that will live long in the memory. Japan are set to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 888sport punters may fancy the 20/1 for a shock Pool A triumph later this year.
It may seem like a longshot but if Japan can emulate their performance against South Africa from four years ago, anything is possible!
Jonny Wilkinson (England)
The man who needs no introduction, Jonny Wilkinson is arguably the most famous England rugby player of all-time.
It was Wilkinson who stepped up to convert a drop goal attempt on his weaker foot with just 20 seconds remaining on the clock – England fans were going wild in the stadium and even wilder back on home soil.
That kick was enough to secure England their first ever Rugby World Cup triumph. Securing victory over Australia back in 2003 remains one of the nation’s greatest sporting feats but a win at the 2019 Rugby World Cup would certainly rival Wilkinson’s drop goal.
At the time of writing, 888sport are going 5/1 for England to lift rugby union’s famous trophy later this year.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*