David does RWC days 18, 19 and 20
David does RWC – Days 18, 19 and 20
Sorry this has been a bit late, but I’ve been really busy of late. The atmosphere up in Auckland for the games was amazing. I have to give props to the organisers of the RWC as they have done a superb job on creating such a good tournament. Both at the game and in the fanzone, it was great to see that heaps of people were getting into the games and supporting their team.
Tempers flared as a single-minded South African side achieved the win they needed over a determined and physical Samoa team to book a place in the quarter-finals with a 13 – 5 victory. It was great to be in the crowd as the atmosphere was electric. Both sets of fans were really getting into this one, which was helped by the closeness of the game. It was a tough game, with both sides being at their physical best. Samoa attacked well in the second half, but was constantly repelled by the Springboks defence.
Australia’s overworked medical staff will get no respite in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after yet another serious injury marred the Wallabies’ 68-22 victory over Russia. The makeshift Australian outfit ran in 10 tries to achieve the bonus-point win they needed to secure their quarter-final berth but failed to achieve their goal of navigating the physical encounter without further injury. They played really well for the first half, but got a bit sloppy in the end when the game was more than in the bag.
Tonga provided the tournament with exactly what it was crying out for in a massive upset against a heavily favoured France. October 1 could well become a new national holiday in the Kingdom of Tonga (population 104,000) after they rode a red wave of support to batter France (population 62 million) into submission. The 19 – 14 score line does not do justice to how well the Tongans played, as some sloppy handling denied them some certain tries towards the end.
Scotland wanted to send England home to think again. Instead it was the Scots who were left to ruminate on how they threw away victory in the dying minutes for the second match in a row. Despite Jonny Wilkinson’s misfiring boot, a last-ditch try by wing Chris Ashton secured England a 16-12 victory. The English were terrible in the first half as Scotland played the better tactical game, but the Scots failed to find the killer blow in the second half.
Argentina scraped through to a quarter-final after winning their match against Georgia 25-7. Both teams struggled to do much for most of the game, with the Pumas knowing that a single point would get them into the quarter – finals for the second consecutive time. They were not motivated for the match and will need to be better if they are to get any further.
New Zealand coach Graham Henry used his 100th Test in charge of the All Blacks as an audition for a new fly half, with both Colin Slade and Piri Weepu on stage.With star No.10 Dan Carter ruled out of the tournament with a torn groin muscle, Slade played the first 51 minutes in the 79-15 win over Canada before moving to the wing to allow replacement Weepu a shot. The game was won with ease, but the All Blacks were sloppy in patches.
Fiji had promised they would enjoy themselves but it was Wales who had all the fun in their match up. The Welsh ran in nine tries as they kept the Fijians scoreless in a 66-0 victory at Waikato Stadium to clinch second place in their pool and set up a quarter-final against Ireland. They were better in almost every facet of the game and sent a disappointing Fijian side packing.
Brian O’Driscoll felt right at home during Ireland‘s 36-6 victory over Italy on Sunday that clinched their progression into the quarter-finals. More than 28,000 fans, nearly all of them in green, white and orange, witnessed a first-half performance that held a hungry Italian pack at bay before the Irish kicked away after the break with some expansive rugby.
My tips will be found in the quarter final preview.