What a week it’s been at the Rugby World Cup as the pool matches drew to a close. Typhoon Hagibis caused havoc and destruction, but Japan has inspired the world with their resilience both on and off the rugby field.
Tuesday 8th October
A spectacle of tries for the Springboks as they eased their way into the QFs.
Josh Larsen’s red card (Canada’s 4th in RWC history, and the most for any one nation) made it easier, with Reinach scoring a speedy hat trick and RSA winning all 47 of their RWC line outs. But the biggest taking point came with Larsen’s heartfelt apology to the South Africans in their changing room, showing how much respect there is in the game.
Wednesday 9th October
This is the first time Argentina not reached the QFs since 2003, but the Pumas have, at least, secured a place at the 2023 tournament with a decisive win against the USA.
Scotland thrashed Pool C underdogs Russia with 9 tries and head towards their final game against Japan (if it proceeds, that is) with elevated confidence they hope will see them through to the QFs.
Wales survived a war of attrition against a brutally powerful Fiji team giving us all a scare in the process! However, they manage a slender win and progress into the QFs with some significant injury concerns
It was also Japan gingerbread man’s first match at Oita, as he accompanied my parents to the game! #Gingerbreadontour
Friday 11th October
As Typhoon Hagibis approached, Australia struggled to keep Georgia at bay in the challenging weather conditions. After a slender half time score they managed to secure a bonus point win to guarantee their place in the QFs.
Australia will lose top spot in Pool D unless Wales fail to win against Uruguay on Sunday.
Saturday 12th October
#NZLvITA – Cancelled 0-0
The first match to fall at the hands of Typhoon Hagibis was the game between the All Blacks and Italy and both teams were awarded 2 points for a draw. Italy were certainly disappointed, as they could technically still qualify for he knockouts had they managed to beat the men in black.
A tough decision, but safety of spectators and players must be the priority.
It’s been a pleasure watching Italy over the past few weeks and we say goodbye to legends Sergio Parisse, Leonardo Ghiraldini & Alessandro Zanni.
#ENGvFRA – Cancelled 0-0
As Typhoon Hagibis gained mass and power over the Pacific, World Rugby took the decision to cancel those of Saturday’s matches due to be held in the wider Tokyo area. Both teams were awarded 2 points, but it made little difference to the team (as France seemed happy enough to stay in second place behind England). Lots of disappointed fans in Tokyo of course, but there was no denying the danger posed by the typhoon as all those in Tokyo hankered down and hoped for the storm to pass.
Impressive performance by the Irish despite having been reduced to 14 men before half time. But it was a disappointing match for Samoa and the loss will see them having to qualify for RWC2023.
Ireland are now into the QFs but will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of tomorrow’s #JPNvSCO match to see in which place they progress.
Sunday 13th October
#NAMvCAN – Cancelled 0-0
Late on Saturday evening (BST) the announcement came that the match would not be played. Not the end to the tournament either of these sides wanted, as they both hoped for their first win today. But Typhoon Hagibis has been a destructive force and there was no possibility of the match continuing. However, Canada used their extra time to good use and spent the day helping locals with the area’s recovery efforts. This is what rugby is all about.
After a solid start from the Eagles, Tonga secured the victory. We say goodbye to both the USA and Tonga today and it will be sad to see them go. We’ll miss the Sipi Tau!
The spirit shown by the Eagles shows how rugby could be transformed if the USA could get on board, and here’s to hoping that the 2027 tournament will be hosted by America…
Phew! It was not to be another Pool D upset. Wales survived against a determined Uruguay securing their top spot position and progress to face France next week.
Japan gingerbread man was there too, accompanying my parents at Kumamoto Stadium. He even spent some time beforehand at the FanZone.
He’s off on the Bullet Train tomorrow, and is looking forward to supporting both England and Wales at the Oita Stadium quarter finals next weekend:)
It has been a traumatic few days for Japan, having suffered its worst typhoon in living memory, where at least 35 people have already lost their lives and many more injured or unaccounted for. The game was facing cancellation, and World Rugby facing legal action from Scottish rugby, but even after an earthquake and surrounding water levels remaining high, the resilience and dedication of this wonderful country meant that the match went ahead as scheduled.
It was billed as the game of the tournament so far, as Japan were in prime position to progress to the knockout stages with only Scotland standing in its way. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. What a game!
To deny Japan a place in the quarter finals, Scotland needed to win four match points more than Japan (which just after half time meant that Scotland needed to win the game by 8 or more points and score a try bonus point), but Japan wasn’t going to let Scotland deprive them of their first appearance in a RWC quarter final, and their performance was nothing short of brilliant. The tempo didn’t wane from the starting whistle to the final gong, and Japan controlled the melee with crushing precision and determination, wearing the suffering of their nation on their sleeves.
Japan’s success is not a fluke or a miracle, but the culmination of four years of grit, hard work and conditioning. Today, Japan showed the world why it truly deserves a seat at the top table of World Rugby and I can’t wait to see them play a re-match of the 2015 “miracle” against South Africa next weekend!
In what was a bittersweet day for the Japanese, after silences held before the anthems at all three of today’s matches, Japanese captain, Michael Leitch, dedicated the historic win to all those impacted by Typhoon Hagibis.
Final Pool Standings
And then there were eight… After a dramatic weekend, the #RWC2019 quarter finalists are confirmed. Here’s how the tables looked at the end of week 3…
Congratulations to Wales, England, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, France and Australia.
All four QFs will be played next weekend:
Saturday 19th Oct
#ENGvAUS – 8:15am BST (#RWCOita)
#NZLvIRE – 11:15am BST (#RWCTokyo)
Sunday 20th October
#WALvFRA – 8:15am BST (#RWCOita)
#JPNvRSA – 11:15am BST (#RWCTokyo)