To help you through the 48 matches, ITV has put together a sensational line-up of former winners as part of their coverage team, which will be fronted by Steve Rider. So sit back and hear the views of a quartet who have won more than 250 caps between them. Over the World Cup, these four legends will share with you their views on the tournaments’ big topics…
What was the secret to your World Cup win?
Francois Pienaar: We had a very good team, very good management and our preparation was intense. The majority of that 1995 side came from a very good Transvaal team which had won the inaugural Super 10 competition in 1993. So we had experience and we knew how to win tough games. But that wouldn’t have been enough without a great coaching team (led by Kitch Christie), and fortunately we had that. I believe that if you’re to have any chance of winning a World Cup you need between three and four months’ preparation.
Lawrence Dallaglio: A lot of hard work over about six years. We were the number one side going into the World Cup and we had been for the previous two or three years. So momentum and experience were big factors for us in 2003. We were also the fittest team at that tournament. We’d already coped with the pressure of being the world’s best team for a few years so we handled it okay when the tournament came around. We just focused on the next game, and we had good self-belief. You’ve got to accept the fact that no matter how good a side you are, you will have some tricky moments at the World Cup and you’ve got to overcome them.
Sean Fitzpatrick: We had a fantastic team of one to 26 who all contributed, as well as a team of fantastic coaches, and most importantly we just believed we could win.
Michael Lynagh: First, we enjoyed each other’s company, which is always key to success. Then during the 1991 World Cup we were lucky with injuries and, apart from Tim Gavin, didn’t suffer any. We also had a good blend of experience and youth – from Nick Farr-Jones and David Campese to younger players like Tim Horan and Phil Kearns.
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This article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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