We are nearly at the pointy end of the tournament, whilst some teams are out and playing for pride for others there’s lots to fight for including qualification for 2019. Here’s my review of the mid-week games.
Rugby World Cup
Canada 15 – 17 Romania
Fiji 47 – 15 Uruguay
South Africa 64 – 0 USA
Namibia 16 – 17 Georgia
3 from 4, I didn’t pick the Romania upset but Canada have struggled to get their 7s players up to speed.
Canada started well and dominated the territory and possession but for all their work they only clamming a penalty and try to lead 8-0 at half time. Another try for Canada early in the second half appeared to decide the game as the score was 15-0. But then came the biggest comeback in Rugby World Cup history. They got the upper hand in territory and possession, using their forwards to drive a maul over for their first try. With a Canadian in the bin the Romanian 8 powered over the line form the back of a scrum with 7 minutes to go. The pack did the job again gaining the winning penalty from a scrum. It was a fantastic come back by Romania but I would be remise if I didn’t point on they Canada missing 4 kicks at goal lost the game as well.
Fiji started strongly as we y would expect and would have been over in the corner if not for a shoulder charge. That ended in a yellow card and penalty try. Fiji picked up another try off the back of a scrum and looked comfortably in control. Uruguay though kept fighting and came right back in it with a penalty and converted try. That was as good as it got though as the Fiji scrum earned a penalty try and another typical hard running try meant they led 26-10 at half time. In the second half Uruguay soaked up the pressure and scored a turnover try with just over 20 minutes to go to suggest a comeback. But Fiji were too good to allow an upset and replied with 2 tries in 3 minutes to settle any nerves. The icing on the cake was a try at the end. It showed that in another pool Fiji could have made the quarter finals.
The Boks initial try came from scrappy play as the USA were caught napping with a tap penalty. The USA did well to keep South Africa out for the rest of the half except for a penalty try for collapsing a scrum. Early in the second half South Africa scored a couple of tires and it was then just a matter of how many. In the end of was 10 tries and setup by a lot of hard running by the forwards as we would expect from South Africa. The locks and back row got through a lot of work creating the platform for the backs to play. The USA fought hard for the first half but just ran out of steam.
Namibia got a penalty straight from the start but it looked ominous when Georgia looked to have scored a try only for it to be disallowed for a knock on. Namibia managed another penalty to lead 6-0 even though they were under pressure for most of the half and finishing with 2 players in the bin. Those players in the bin eventually told as Georgia crashed over as another player went to the bin. Georgia grabbed another try whilst Namibia were still down to 14 men. Despite Georgia dominating the territory and possession there was an exchange of penalties. Then with 7 minutes to go Namibia showed power and ball retention to score a try and close to within 1 point. Georgia thought managed to grind out the game and qualify for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The Aviva Premiership starts next week and I’m running a prediction league again. Join here as I give you my predictions and reviews for every round.