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5 rugby union stars who tasted drop-goal glory

There are few more dramatic ways to settle a match.

Sexton celebrates scoring the winning drop goal
Sexton celebrates scoring the winning drop goal

By Press Association Sport staff

Johnny Sexton’s spectacular drop-goal in the third minute of added time snatched victory for Ireland over France in their opening NatWest 6 Nations clash.

The dramatic intervention was a stunning way to win the game, but the fly-half is in good company when it comes to match-winning drop goals.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five more of the best.

Jeremy Guscott – BRITISH & IRISH LIONS v South Africa, second Test, Durban, 1997

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Guscott celebrates after kicking the match-winning drop-goal

The second Test was tied at 15-15 following Neil Jenkins’ fifth penalty of the game, and after Keith Wood’s clever kick had established field position for the tourists, it was all down to Guscott. It was the final throes and all the centre had to do was get his attempt between the posts. It was not the cleanest strike but it went over and handed the Lions an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Jonny Wilkinson – ENGLAND v Australia, World Cup final, Sydney, 2003

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Wilkinson clinches the Rugby World Cup for England

The Webb Ellis Cup was at stake in this one and the two teams could not be separated after 80 minutes. Only seconds of extra-time were left when Wilkinson, on his weaker right foot, struck the decisive drop-goal that clinched a nerve-shredding 20-17 victory and a first Rugby World Cup for England.

Joel Stransky – SOUTH AFRICA v New Zealand, World Cup final, Johannesburg, 1995

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Stransky drops the winning goal against New Zealand

Stransky booted all the points for South Africa as they won a first Rugby World Cup. Andrew Mehrtens was replying with kicks of his own for opponents New Zealand and the scores were tied at 9-9 at the end of normal time. That sent the final to extra-time for the first time, and after one penalty apiece for each side, Stransky was the hero with a stunning 30-metre drop for goal that sailed between the posts. Nelson Mandela presented the trophy to Francois Pienaar, an immortal moment in South African history.

Stuart Barnes – BATH v Harlequins, Pilkington Cup final, Twickenham, 1992

Both teams were flagging in this one as extra-time took its toll. Jeremy Guscott had already missed a drop-goal attempt for Bath and Harlequins had failed to make four efforts when a flu-ridden Barnes swung a weary leg 45 yards out and the ball scraped over to snatch a 15-12 victory for Jack Rowell’s men in dramatic fashion.

Jannie de Beer – SOUTH AFRICA v England – World Cup quarter-final, Paris, 1999

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Joost van der Westhiuzen jumps on the back of De Beer in celebration

England’s World Cup hopes were ripped apart by De Beer as he racked up 34 points, including five drop goals in 31 second-half minutes. That remains a record for the highest number in a single World Cup match. The fly-half scored all 12 of his attempts with the boot as South Africa achieved a 44-21 victory.

Press Association

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