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Updated: 18/05/2006

Rugby World Cup 2003

The idea for a Rugby World Cup, like the soccer equivalent, came about when, the Australian and New Zealand Unions, independently send a proposal to the IRB. The Australian idea was to be part of their Bicentenary Celebrations in 1988. A committee made up of both countries was formed and the 1987 World Cup came to fruition being jointly sponsored by Australia and New Zealand. The final was between France and New Zealand with the All Blacks winning 29-9. Australia came forth behind Wales.

It was followed in 1991 in the UK where Australia defeated England in the final with NZ in third. New Zealand released a Set of Stamps and a Miniature Sheet.

In 1995 in South Africa, South Africa was victorious over NZ with Australia loosing in the Quarter finals. Somoa issued a Set of Stamps

1999 Rugby World Cup Cover

The 1999 Cup was again back in the UK and Australia became the first country to win a Second World Cup over France with South Africa in third. Australia re-released the Centenary of Rugby FDC with a changed Postmark.
The 2003 World Cup was originally to be a joint effort between Australia and New Zealand but a disagreement over ground advertising led to it being staged only in Australia. Games were played in all Australia States with the Semifinals and Final played at Stadium Australia.

2003 Rugby World Cup Cover

Australia Post issued three stamps showing a Silhouette of pass, Stadium & cup and Silhouette of kick. The Stamps and a miniature sheet of the three stamps was included in a Presentation Pack. Each stamp value was also released as a miniature sheet with a similar design in a Souvenir Booklet which included a postcard of the William Webb Ellis Cup and information about the countries represented. There were three maximum cards of the Ball, the Cup and the Rugby Paddock. Each stamp was also issued in a Special Event Souvenir Sheet of 10 with a generic image or a personalised image in the tab. The 50c stamp was also issued with a Silhouette in the margin.

Sponsorship allowed the company to use the Official Logo as is seen on this cover from GIO.

San Marino also issued a set of four stamps and Wallis and Futena one stamp, to commemorate the World Cup.

The Games was the biggest in the world for the year. It included the Quarter Finalists from 1999 and 12 Qualifiers. After four weeks of competition the semifinals came down to Australia v NZ and England v France. Somewhat surprisingly the Wallabies defeated the All Blacks and England defeated France.

The Final was one of the best games ever with Australia equalising just before full time to force the Final into overtime. The score was again all tied up until Johnny Wilkinson kicked a field goal just seconds before the end of overtime and England won their first World Cup.

2003 Rugby World Cup Cover

The Royal Mail somewhat surprisingly released 4 stamps and a Miniature Sheet to celebrate England's World Cup Win to go with their 1966 Soccer World Cup Win. A personalised privately produced sheet of Smilers was released prior to the win and was overprinted with "World Champions"