After a four year wait, the Rugby World Cup kicked off on Friday evening with a visually spectacular opening ceremony celebrating the iconic culture and traditions of Japan with Mount Fuji (and Richie McCaw) at its heart. With the return of the Webb Ellis Cup to the fold, the stage was set for the tournament’s first match.
#JPNvRUS – FT30-10 (Pool A)
Kick off 11:45am BST , Tokyo Stadium
What a cracker of an opening game! The tournament’s opening try come courtesy of Russian winger Kirill Golosnitskiy, giving the Russians a bold early lead. The underdogs tested the hosts throughout, but the #BraveBlossoms responded decisively to secure a victory with a hat trick from the brilliantly nimble Kotaro Matshushima. Having been the first team ever to win three group games and not make it to the knockouts in 2015, Japan is not taking any chances, and scoops up a four-try bonus point.
Saturday 21st September
#AUSvFJI – FT39-21 (Pool D)
Kick off 5.45am BST, Sapporo Dome
After an early wake up call, first up on Super Saturday was a Southern hemisphere showdown between Australia and Fiji.
The Fijians looked formidable for much of the match this morning, and will certainly be a worry for the rest of Pool D (Fiji has, of course, derailed Wales on a number of occasions). But the Wallabies rediscovered their rhythm and turned the game around in their favour.
#FRAvARG – FT23-21 (Pool C)
Kick off 8.15am BST, Tokyo Stadium
An exhilarating clash between France and Los Pumas! The game went right down to the wire but France managed to pip to the lead with a drop goal from CamilleLopez. Argentina looked to steal the win right in the final minutes with a great long-range effort by Emiliano Boffelli, but didn’t quite make it over the posts. The Pumas did, however, secure a coveted bonus point.
Fun fact: Did you know that the Argentinian “Pumas” nickname stuck after an error by a South African journalist in 1965 who mistook the Jaguar on their shirt for a Puma…
#NZLvRSA – FT23-13 (Pool B)
Kick off 10:45am BST, International Stadium Yokohama
Super Saturday’s finale saw rugby’s two top tier heavyweights demonstrating their sporting prowess on the field. A thrilling clash of the titans saw the balance of power oscillate between the All Blacks and the Bokke until the men in black did what was needed (as indeed they usually do) to secure the victory. Can New Zealand make it three World Championship titles in a row? Stay tuned to find out…
Sunday 22nd September
#ITAvNAM – FT47-22 (Pool B)
Kick off 06:15 BST
Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka
Another early morning start, but it proved worthwhile as we were treated to a try feat as the Italians fended off a particularly spirited Namibian side.
#IREvSCO – FT27-3 (Pool A)
Kick off 08:45 BST, International Stadium Yokohama
It was a woeful performance by Scotland in a biblically wet Yokohama, and the Irish were taking no prisoners and took full advantage, running riot over their Six Nations foe.
As a result, second place in Pool A is up for grabs, and Japan will certainly be fancying their chances…
#ENGvTGA – FT35-3 (Pool C)
Kick off 11:15 BST, Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
Still some work to do for England, but a great start for Eddie’s men with a bonus point win over Tonga. A good and tough performance by Tonga, but England welcomed back the powerhouse and Man of the Match, Manu Tuilagi.
After the first weekend of the tournament, England and Ireland are the only teams not to have conceded a try, but we still have plenty of rugby to look forward to next week, starting with Wales vs Georgia tomorrow.