AUCKLAND, NZ – The Rugby World Cup is definitely on now, with England’s loss to Wales meaning this weekend will probably see them get bundled out of their own tournament. New Zealanders everywhere are now faced with the novel experience of supporting the Wallabies this weekend, as the mood of this country is definitely favoring a humiliating English exit. Serves them right for making fun of the haka, really.
Anyway, there wasn’t quite as much excitement in Pools C & D over the weekend, with regulation wins for all the top nations over some spirited opposition.
Argentina 54 Georgia 9
Los Pumas bounced back from their tough opening loss to the All Blacks with a very convincing display over Georgia at Kingsholm, the highlight being the steady play of Nicolas Sanchez at first five. However, the real turning point on the game was a yellow card to Georgian colossus Mamuka Gorgodze. The 10 minutes the number 8 spent in the bin turned the game from being a tight encounter to a blowout, with it answering any questions as to how important he is to the Georgian team. Fullback Santiago Cordero, who had opened the scoring, provide the knockout blow with one of the tries of the tournament so far, weaving down the touchline and putting on a sweet in and away to dot down in the corner. It’s that sort of brilliance the Argies need on a regular basis to go deep in this tournament. The Georgians will be pretty disappointed with this one, things won’t get any easier for them in their next game against the All Blacks.
All Blacks 58 Namibia 14
My esteemed colleague James Harrington has written a comprehensive review of this game, which you can read here. Just from a Kiwi perspective though, it’s worth adding that while the Namibians played out of their skins (especially the heroic Jacques Burger), this game did highlight a bit of a blight on the game right now. The second half was mostly spent setting and resetting scrums, attending injured players and generally doing anything except actually playing rugby. No one is blaming the Namibians for employing tactics that would stop them being on the end of an embarrassing scoreline, but let’s just hope this doesn’t become a feature of the heavyweight clashes.
Italy 23 Canada 18
If Santiago Cordero’s try had any competition for try of the tournament, it was in this game. Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe finished off a sweeping move off the kickoff, linking beautifully with centre Ciaran Hearn to dive over near the posts. This put the Canadians up 10-0 in front of a vocal Elland Rd crowd, whose usual tenants Leeds United probably haven’t done anything anywhere near that exciting since Eric Cantona was playing for them. This rattled the Italians, who struck back through prop Michele Rizzo. But the less-faniced Canadians didn’t go away and the pushed the lead out to 15-7 after Matt Evans scored in the corner. They could’ve struck a knockout blow shortly after, but winger Phil McKenzie’s effort was rubbed out due to a forward pass. This was the break the Italians needed and they ground their way back into a lead through the boot of Tommaso Allan, one which they didn’t relinquish despite the desperate attempts of the Canadians.
Ireland 44 Romania 10
Romania can now proudly boast being part of being a part of the highest attended Rugby World Cup game of all time, one that probably won’t be topped in the foreseeable future anyway. Almost 90,000 packed into Wembley to watch a pretty entertaining game, one which was always in the control of the men in green though. Fullback Simon Zebo was in fine form, almost pulling off a miraculous bit of footwork that was ruled out by the TMO. He did set up a couple for Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe, which were all started by good front foot ball from the Irish forwards. However, as usual in these matches, the biggest cheer came when Romanian lock Ovidiu Tonita crashed over under the posts. Ireland will be feeling pretty good for their upcoming crunch match with France, while the Romanians can be happy with a creditable performance. The biggest moment came after the final whistle though, when Romanian halfback Florin Surugiu proposed to his girlfriend in front of the team. Luckily for him, she said yes!
That’s it for now! Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, James Harrington, Jamie Wall, Nick Hall, DJ Eberle, Jake Frechette, Scheenagh Harrington, Jamie Loyd, Cody Kuxmann, Karen Ritter, Audrey Youn, Akweley Okine, Rocky Brown and Declan Yeats, respectively.