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Rugby World Cup 2015 so far

23/09/2015

I have watched three games thus far; England v Fiji, Japan v South Africa and NZ v Argentina. I watched most of the first match live but the others being screened before 5am NZ time make it tough to pull myself away from the lure of my bed covers and the wonderful land of nod.

Obviously Japan beating the Springboks is the biggest talking point and has really set the tournament alight. The brave blossoms have won a few more fans through their determination and skill. People love a good underdog story. An 84th minute try is pretty sensational but the highlight for me was actually fullback Goromaru’s try, the second to last for Japan (there is a short video not quite doing it justice embedded below), which came off the back of a very smart bit of back line play where the left winger took an inside ball creating space for the fullback to exploit. Even though I watched it on replay it was exciting stuff. Although the Springboks will still be a bit shell-shocked, they remain a strong side and have the potential to still go further. Despite losing to Tonga in the last RWC, France still made the final and could have easily taken the cup.

England were solid but unimpressive, I thought, in dispatching Fiji who must have rued their lack of a competent goal kicker. Fiji competed really well and showed they won’t be easy beats in the so-called pool of death especially with the fire power of Nemani Nadolo out wide. England got the job done but need to improve on discipline and continuity of their attack before their next encounter with Wales.

The All Blacks were very scratchy in opening their account against a fairly ferocious Argentinian side who didn’t give an inch. It’s good to see the progression that Argentina have made since joining the Rugby Championship in 2012. They defended extremely well and the All Blacks initially struggled to get over the gain line while Argentina looked more threatening for much of the first half. Richie McCaw’s blatant foot trip, which deservedly earned a trip to the bin, and Conrad Smith’s yellow card and the bombing of at least three tries didn’t help matters for the men in black but with pocket dynamo Aaron Smith firing on all cylinders and an enormous effort from a super subs bench the kiwis overcame the Pumas.

I wasn’t seriously concerned about the All Blacks going down at any stage in spite of these jitters and I think they will be better for having been tested. I only hope that the squad can remain well enough prepped for a quarter final show down after matches against Namibia, Tonga and Georgia.

Looking forward to seeing how the Aussies shape up tomorrow morning against the Fijians and whether Japan can back up against Scotland.

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