Japan and Argentina in England’s group for World Cup

The flagship international rugby union event, the World Cup, returns in 2023, and the preliminary draw has already been made. In a ceremony that took place in Paris, which will also host the final at the Stade de France, the 12 teams that have already qualified were drawn into their respective pools.

RWC 1 Continue reading “Japan and Argentina in England’s group for World Cup”

Contrast between codes illustrates magnitude of job on Rennie’s hands

Over the next three years there are World Cups in both rugby league and union, but how Australia’s national teams are expected to perform differs wildly depending on the code. League is the pink of health, but union appears to be sinking fast, with fans disappointed with the lack of success for both the country’s Super Rugby sides as well as the Wallabies. The gap appears to have widened so much that some journalists are suggesting that union be merged into league in light of the Covid-19 pandemic that has further crippled the 15-man code Down Under.

The Kangaroos, Australia’s national rugby league side, have lifted the RL World Cup a record 11 times and are ranked the second best team in the world behind New Zealand. They have a thriving club competition in the National Rugby League (NRL) which attracts the best players from around the globe to come Down Under. Continue reading “Contrast between codes illustrates magnitude of job on Rennie’s hands”

Key Talking Points- Springboks 32-12 England Rugby World Cup Final 2019

South Africa became the first team to lose a group stage game and win the Rugby World Cup after beating England 32-12 in Yokohama. The Boks defied history to claim their third World Cup crown, putting them equal with New Zealand and keeping the title in the Southern Hemisphere.

Here we take a look at five key reasons why the Springboks won

Dan Cole becomes another Phil Vickery: England were dealt a blow early in the game when tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler walked off due to concussion after a collision with Maro Itoje. It meant Dan Cole had to play nearly 78 minutes, and he suffered the same fate that befell Phil Vickery in the first Lions test ten years ago- domination at the hands of Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.

The Springbok scrum had the English one backpedalling on several occasions (despite being 20 kgs lighter) and thanks to the trusty boot of Handre Pollard, kept adding points whenever Jerome Garces blew a penalty their way- nearly 12 points came from scrum penalties.

Cheslin Kolbe’s early tackle on Courtney Lawes: England were restricted to their own half for the first ten minutes, and couldn’t build the quick start they normally desire. On one occasion with the Boks 3-0 up, England had a 5 on 2 overlap, but Cheslin Kolbe executed a brilliant tackle on the much larger Courtney Lawes. England managed to take three points from a ruck penalty, but it should’ve been seven, but for Kolbe, who is so integral to the Bok blitz defence, and implements his role perfectly.

Farrell’s missed kick at 15-9: England started the second half much, much better than they did the first one, and Owen Farrell, normally a very reliable kicker, had the opportunity to reduce the gap to three points. However he missed a relatively easy kick by his standards and instead of it becoming 15-12, the Boks pounced at the other end to make it 18-9, and the game was effectively over then, with England needing two scores to overhaul the Boks.

The brilliance of Duane Vermeulen: The Springbok 8thman has probably been the Player of the Decade for them, and put in a Man of the Match performance for them. He earned them breakdown penalties, was instrumental in the massive 20 odd phases of defending on the own line that the Boks did against Vunipola, Tuilagi and co. around the half hour mark, and was also the brains of a midfield maul move that took England by surprise, and earned them a penalty that put them two scores ahead.

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(via Twitter)

Two fantastic tries for the Boks: The Springboks have often been accused of playing ten man rugby, but both their tries in this game were fantastic- Lukhanyo Am’s no-look pass to Makazole Mapimpi for the first, and Kolbe’s individual brilliance, leaving Owen Farrell eating grass, for the second.

As Warren Gatland had predicted, England perhaps played their World Cup final a week before against the All Blacks, and the Boks, with their six man forward bench, were too big and strong for Eddie Jones’ side, and thoroughly deserved winners.

Longest ever touch finder in rugby union?- Facundo Munilla kick for Spain vs Georgia 2019

This was some touch finder from Spain’s Facundo Munilla against Georgia- effectively a length of the field kick aided by the wind. Was near his own try line when he kicked the ball, and it goes around 99 metres to the other end! Continue reading “Longest ever touch finder in rugby union?- Facundo Munilla kick for Spain vs Georgia 2019”