A look back at England’s previous Rugby World Cup finals

England will face South Africa in the World Cup final at the International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at England’s previous three appearances in rugby union’s showpiece match.

1991: Australia 12 England 6

England went into the World Cup on the back of a victorious Five Nations grand slam campaign, and with the chance to lift the Webb Ellis Cup on home soil.

After recovering from losing their opening pool match to New Zealand, Geoff Cooke’s side defeated France 19-10 in Paris and then edged past old rivals Scotland 9-6 at Murrayfield.

Will Carling’s men, though, came up short when they tried to play a more expansive game in the final against the Wallabies in front of a packed Twickenham.

A penalty from Michael Lynagh and a try from prop Tony Daly put Australia in control for a 9-0 half-time lead.

England’s only response came from the boot of Jonathan Webb – but a deliberate knock-on at a critical time by David Campese was not punished by a penalty try.

2003: England 20 Australia 17 (aet)

Jonny Wilkinson kicked England to World Cup glory in a thrilling final with a nerveless drop goal in the final minute of extra-time to defeat the hosts in Sydney.

England had won all four of their pool matches and came through 28-17 against Wales in Brisbane before sweeping past France 24-7 to book another final showdown with the Wallabies.

Lote Tuqiri crossed early at Stadium Australia, but his fellow rugby league convert Jason Robinson replied for England – and three Wilkinson penalties gave England a 14-5 lead.

Australia clawed their way back with penalties from Elton Flatley, levelling the scores at 14-14 in the final minute.

Further penalties were exchanged in extra-time before Wilkinson had the final say when he clipped the ball between the posts after being set up by scrum-half Matt Dawson for England’s golden moment.

2007: South Africa 15 England 6

England suffered World Cup final heartache against South Africa in France
England suffered World Cup final heartache against South Africa in France (John Giles/PA)

Brian Ashton’s England saw hopes of a successful World Cup title defence fall short against South Africa in Paris.

England had been beaten 36-0 by the Springboks in their Pool A match earlier in the tournament, but gained momentum from a crucial win over Tonga to defeat Australia 12-10 in the quarter-finals at Marseille – thanks to the kicking of Wilkinson – and then saw off hosts France 14-9.

The final proved to be another decided by the boot.

South Africa took a 9-3 lead into half-time with England having a try from Mark Cueto early in the second period ruled out by the Television Match Official for the winger’s foot being in touch.

With the game – and their title – edging away, Wilkinson’s long-range drop goal was off target as the Springboks, for whom Percy Montgomery had kicked four penalties, closed out victory to claim a second World Cup crown.

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