Rugby World Cup Review: Week Four

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Organising any event at a world level involves hoping the draw carries play down to the last possible moment in qualifying. That was achieved, even in the face of unprecedented abandonment of games caused by Typhoon Hagibis.


Once all games were completed the quarterfinal draw was set (New Zealand times):



England v Australia, 8.15pm

New Zealand v Ireland, 11.15pm



Wales v France, 8.15pm

Japan v South Africa 11.15pm

Pool A

Ireland played its last pool game knowing if it was to claim a playoffs berth after its earlier loss to Japan, it needed to beat Samoa. It did that comfortably, winning 47-5 after playing much of the game without second five-eighths Bundee Aki, who was sent off for a tackle ruled to be head high. Then, on Sunday, the requirement was clear for both Japan and Scotland, they needed to win to have any chance. As it turned out, the mood was with the Japanese who unleashed a superb first half, and while the Scots came back, the tenacious home defence held them out long enough to secure top place in the pool with a 28-21 win.


Pool B

The action wasn't as exciting in Pool B where the All Blacks and Springboks had already secured first and second placings. The cancellation of the New Zealand-Italy game, disappointing for all concerned but unavoidable as Typhoon Hagibis demonstrated, meant the two points New Zealand received was enough for it to finish top while Italy were homeward bound. The only dent for New Zealand was that it brought an end to their World Cup-winning record which now has to be regarded as its unbeaten record.

Pool C

Similarly determined before the weekend games needed to be played Pool C saw England and France advance. Their much-anticipated game was also abandoned. That was disappointing as the French were keen to test themselves against the English. Instead, the only action in the pool saw Tonga claim a 31-19 win over the United States in another Sunday game, the USA finishing without any points in the tournament.


Pool D

Unaffected by abandoned games, Pool D was able to be played out in full. Australia claimed a 27-8 win over Georgia, an effort that was below what the Australians would have been looking for but enough for coach Michael Cheika to start pouring the pressure on England for their quarterfinal. In the other game Wales were 35-13 winners of Uruguay who, in spite of their upset win over Fiji still ended up as the lowest placed side in the pool.


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