Rugby World Cup heating up
Australia dominated every aspect of play Saturday to humble England 33-13 and knock them out of the Rugby World Cup. It’s the first time in history the host nation has not gone on to the knockout round.
Coaching, selections, team disharmony and captaincy rumors will swirl, but truth told, the Australian Wallabies, champions in ’91 and ’99, merely crushed the hapless English in front of a packed Twickenham. For the second week in a row, Prince Harry and his not so merry men left Twickers looking at their shoes. Australia faces Wales on Saturday to determine who will finish first and second in the “pool of death”.
The New Zealand All Blacks predictably beat Georgia to remain at the top of the pool, however an unconvincing performance has thrust Australia, South Africa, Wales, France and even Ireland ahead of the men in black to take the title. While All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says they are keeping some tricks in the bag for their title defense, one can’t help notice the basic mistakes and aging players’ performances costing many scoring opportunities.
Japan continued the fairy tale with an outstanding match against Samoa to remain in contention for the quarterfinals. Japan beat South Africa in the first round and lost to Scotland after a shocking four-day turn around, but regrouped and beat another of the heavyweights with astute coaching from Eddie Jones and superior fitness and conditioning of the brave blossom players, turning in an 80-minute performance of sublime rugby.
Wales got past Fiji, France beat Canada, South Africa dismantled Scotland, Argentina blew past Tonga, Ireland was pushed all the way by a Sergio Parisse inspired Italy, and the rugby gods are smiling as we look forward to some of the greatest test matches in history coming up over the next 4 weeks.
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