Mission accomplished. England's performances may not always have been the most eye-catching and the nerves of their supporters were barely left intact by the end of the tournament, but in the end it was acknowledged by all that the best team in the world won rugby's ultimate prize: the Webb Ellis Trophy.
Inspired by Martin Johnson's leadership and Jonny Wilkinson's boot, and masterminded by Clive Woodward, England were always going to be the team to beat. South Africa, Samoa, Wales, France and Australia all threatened to upset the favourites but this was a battle-hardened, resilient and totally professional England team that never lost confidence in their own ability.
In a tournament hailed as the best ever, minnows like Uruguay and Georgia and emerging rugby nations such as Canada and Japan all played their part alongside the giants of the game. Both Wales and Scotland exceeded expectations, battling hard against England and Australia in their respective quarter-finals, while France and New Zealand both promised much but ultimately failed to deliver. Then, after the Wallabies' victory over New Zealand, the whole of Australia came alive as the tournament moved towards the 'dream final' - Australia versus England. 'Sweet Chariot' is the complete record of an unforgettable tournament, written by many of the game's leading writers and broadcasters and illustrated by a team of top sports photographers. This is the perfect souvenir of Rugby World Cup 2003, a book which will rekindle memories for the millions who followed the matches on radio and television and the thousands who travelled to Australia to watch the drama unfold.
Includes contributions from Rob Andrew, Gareth Chilcott, Mick Cleary, Terry Cooper, Jill Cooper, Brendan Gallagher, Alastair Hignell, John Inverdale and others.
Ian Robertson was a Scottish international fly half and has been the BBC's rugby correspondent for a number of years. He has edited books on the past three Lions tours, including Wounded Pride (Mainstream, 2001) and this is his fourth Complete Book of the Rugby World Cup.