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David does RWC – Days 7 and 8

RWC Days 7 and 8

The Rugby World Cup (RWC) has motored through its second round of action over the weekend with the first real upset of the competition occurring on Saturday evening. The atmosphere has been great at the games, and it helps that most games have featured a reasonable degree of competitiveness. I mentioned that I was going to the fan zone on day three, and I did and it was a good experience. They set it up like a rugby field (with an actual mini sized pitch in the middle) with stands and massive screens to watch the games on.  There was a good crowd in, especially considering it rained for the first wee while.

 

Games

Argentina fired off a flurry of tries to claim their first RWC victory by overwhelming Romania 43-8.  Argentina came out and were on fire as they scored four tries in the first 30 minutes to take a 26 – 8 half time lead. They tapered off in the second spell, partly due to Romania playing well and the fact that they were up by so much. Argentina had to wait until later on in the game to get their next two tries, but the game was beyond doubt by then.

Defending champions South Africa were the ones who played a Fiji-style attacking rugby en route to a 49-3 win, in the process sending a clear statement of intent to the rest of the competition. Fly half Morné Steyn scored 21 of South Africa’s points with a try, five conversions and two penalties, while man of the match Danie Rossouw scored a try in a powerful performance of strong running that Fiji struggled to contain. This was South African rugby at its best. Fiji were seldom able to breach South Africa’s defensive line whilst in attack, South Africa quickly realised space was available out wide and took advantage of it with crisp passing.

Ireland produced an inspired performance to give the RWC its first upset, as they downed Australia by 15 – 6. The Irish, on the back on massive support from the huge crowd, manage to put aside their recent poor form to finally gain a RWC win over the Wallabies, having previously lost all of their previous four matches. The win was built on the back of a dominant forwards performance that nullified the much-vaunted Wallabies attack and earned five critical penalties from a back-pedalling Australian scrum.

Samoa came close to causing an upset over Wales, but fell to the more experienced Welsh by 17 – 10. In an intense match, both sides brought their physical games with massive hits causing both sides troubles.  Samoa scored the first try late in the first half, and lead for a good portion of the second half. However, they ran out of fuel towards the end and allowed Wales in to score the match winner towards the end.

Whilst they may have won 41 – 10, England were not as convincing against a fired up Georgia. Six tries gave England a bonus point, and put them level on nine points with Scotland at the top of the group, as they kept up their habit of winning Rugby World Cup matches with under-par performances. In a worrying first-half display, they conceded 11 penalties and surrendered 75 per cent of the territory to the Georgians, who went into the break only seven points down. They were better in the second half but will need to improve.

France overcame a slow start and a dogged performance from Canada to eventually run away with a 46 – 19 win. Again like the English game, this was not nearly as convincing as the score line suggests. Canada closed the gap to just six points a couple of times during the second half but just couldn’t find their way over the try line for a second try. They eventually tired and let the French in for three late tries. France was defiantly not at their best and will want improvement.

 

Tips

I was slack on my last post and didn’t do this, but Tips will make their come back here.

Italy should prove too powerful for Russia when they play on Tuesday. The Italians experience and forward power should prove too much for a Russian side that didn’t do a lot against the USA.

Tonga faces a tough task ahead as they take on Japan. Both sides rested their top players from their last games, in order to be ready for this game. It backfired on Tonga, but they will be looking to bounce back strong. Japan has been good in these encounters recently, but Tonga has generally lacked their top stars in these matches. My prediction is Japan to win by a narrow margin.

Namibia will be hoping that South Africa go lightly on them as they play on Thursday. These two sides have only met once, and it resulted in a 105-13 victory for the Boks.  They will probably play a more second string side, but should still be good enough to take this game by at least 13 points.

Australia will want to get their campaign back on track with a victory over the USA. They should do this with ease, but the US has improved a heck of a lot since the last World Cup and should put up a fight for at least the first 60 minutes. Australia should take this by a fair bit though.

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