The Rugby World Cup Weekly Review

Group A

Wales 23 – 13 Fiji

A tired-looking Wales were run close by the Pacific islanders, who at one point in the second half looked like they could take the lead. However, the reliable boot of Dan Biggar steered them to safety and through to the quarter-finals.

England 13 – 33 Australia

The hosts are down and out. Australia proved too tough a test as they produced a scintillating performance that highlighted everything that is wrong with this England team. The difficulties at the breakdown in particular, where an inspired David Pocock ran riot, claiming three turnovers which halted England’s momentum at crucial points in the game. In addition, England’s and Robshaw’s decision-making came into question again when, having been rewarded with a penalty, they opted to kick for the corner with the game poised at 3-3. This decision to not build a lead proved a poor one, as soon after Australia were celebrating their first try of the game. Lancaster’s decision to choose Farrell again also seemed odd after building a team around Ford and encouraging an expansive game that utilised the elusive running of players such as Joseph and Watson. Yet Lancaster took the conservative route and again was punished. It is going to be a difficult few months now for England and there will undoubtedly be a lot of big changes.

Group B

Samoa 5 – 26 Japan

The underdogs that gripped the nation following their surprise defeat of powerhouses South Africa won again to put themselves in contention for a quarter-final berth. Japan controlled much of the match with their dominance at the set-piece forcing a multitude of penalties from an error-strewn Samoan side. It now goes to the final game of the group stages to see if the next World Cup hosts can progress.

South Africa 34 – 16 Scotland

After their humiliating defeat to Japan, South Africa has made some real progress. Their usual forward dominance is back and they showcased their raw power in the maul multiple times to make Scotland suffer. It was not all bad for Scotland; having been dominated in the first half, they showed good strength of character to get themselves back in the game. The task is simple now for Scotland; beat Samoa and they reach the quarter-finals.

Group C

New Zealand 43 – 10 Georgia

The current holders of the Webb Ellis Cup progressed to the next stage of the tournament following a workmanlike performance against Georgia. In recent times New Zealand have been known for being able to do the basics incredibly well and take advantage of every mistake their opponents make. Instead their game was littered with handling errors and poor kicking from record test points scorer Dan Carter. Yet with a hat-trick from try machine Julian Savea, New Zealand were able to battle to a win. It was a game to remember for the Georgians though with Tsiklauri crossing the line for a memorable try and the imposing Gorgodze claiming the man of the match award.

Argentina 48 – 16 Tonga

Argentina survived an early scare from Tonga to demonstrate some brilliant attacking rugby. Tries from Tuculet and Imhoff put Argentina in control and they did not look back after the break, as this bonus-point win put them on the brink of the quarter-finals.

Group D

France 41 – 18 Canada

Second-tier side Canada put in a gutsy performance to produce a tough contest for the French. They dominated much of the early proceedings but France rallied late on to blitz their opponents in the final 20 minutes with Michalak in particular impressing at fly-half.

Ireland 16 – 9 Italy

Ireland were made to dig deep to beat a rejuvenated Italy side inspired by the brilliance of Sergio Parisse. It came down to small margins and Ireland owe their win largely to the performances of Henderson and O’Mahony whose try-saving tackle kept Ireland in front at the break. It’s looking like their next game against France is going to be immense.


James Steel

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