RWC Gold: Billy Whizz delivers killer punch
England could swear by the accuracy of Jonny Wilkinson’s goal kicking throughout RWC 2003 but no form of expletive was necessary to describe another key factor in their success – the wizardry of Jason Robinson and his superb try in the final against Australia.
After having his defence exposed by the significantly taller Lote Tuqiri in the early stages of the compelling contest, ‘Billy Whizz’ as he was known bounced back off the ropes to dash over the line and score arguably the most important try of his career.
While not the killer blow - that was to come just over an hour later - Robinson’s finish shortly before half-time turned the tide in England’s favour and the winger was understandably 'pumped' as he punched the ball in the direction of the sea of red and white-clad supporters occupying the Telstra Stadium stands.
Most mere mortals would not have been able to control themselves, as Robinson’s teammate Will Greenwood testifies in the latest edition of Total Rugby.
“He was a giant that night,” Greenwood comments. “He scored that try and who could forget him sort of punching the ball away and shouting, ‘come on!’ He wouldn’t swear – even in that moment in time. We might have been saying all sorts of profanities but he just shouts 'come on' and gets the whole nation lifted.”
If Robinson’s try had England fans on their feet, Wilkinson’s match-winning drop goal in extra-time sent them into orbit.
“Looking back now, what an exciting game - the final of all finals,” Robinson reflects. “It was one of those games where you look around at the guys in the circle at half-time and at full-time and you think, this is our game. To then go on and win it was just unbelievable.”
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