The 10 Best Moments Of The Rugby World Cup So Far
It was tough work only picking 10!
So after over a month of pretty much non-stop rugby, we’re now at the turning point of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The pool stage has ended, the Quarter-Finals have come and gone, and we’re well and truly down to the nitty gritty. With 44 games having been played, only 4 teams remain and the Semi-Finals get underway this weekend.
Some sides have lit the tournament on fire (kudos Japan) and others haven’t lived up to fans expectations (sorry England) but one thing's for sure, it’s been an absolute feast of rugby that has captured the hearts of sport lovers around the world.
Much of Dubai has embraced the Rugby World Cup and there is a real buzz around town with so many expats here from rugby hotbeds such as England, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Here are some of the best moments from the 2015 Rugby World Cup so far;
10. Nigel Owens – comedy gold
Welsh referee (and national treasure) Nigel Owens is one of the most respected referees in world rugby. Added to that fact he’s a bit of a comedian both on Twitter and in dealing with players on the pitch. He’s certainly not afraid to lay down the law and speak his mind. Here he tells off Scotland’s Stuart Hogg for diving – suggesting he comes back to the stadium in 2 weeks to play soccer instead. Oh Nigel!
9. Australia put 11 tries past Uruguay
Australia came into this tournament on the back of a seriously impressive display at this year’s Rugby Championship, the flagship competition in the Southern Hemisphere. After winning the competition for the first time in 4 years, they built on this form by racking up an impressive 11 tries against Uruguay in their Pool A encounter, more than any other team in the Pool stage.
8. England kick-off the tournament in style
After years of build-up and a
spectacular opening ceremony, the 2015 Rugby World Cup finally kicked
off on Friday September 18
th. Despite being in a
ridiculously tough group that they ultimately failed to get out of,
England got off to a pretty emphatic start against a decent Fiji side
scoring 4 tries and consolidating the feel good factor in the
7. Madigan steps up to the plate for Ireland, sheds a tear
Spending most of the time in the shadows of first-choice Irish out-half Johnny Sexton, Ian Madigan must have assumed that he would be watching the bulk of this World Cup from the bench. With Sexton being substituted through injury during the crucial pool game against France however, Madigan was given his chance to shine and he grabbed it with both hands. After a bruising encounter in which he puts 8 points on the board. Madigan couldn't control his emotions after seeing his parents in the crowd after Ireland's win over the French.
6. Romania manage the biggest comeback in Rugby World Cup history
No offence to Canada, but they are not a rugby powerhouse. Nevertheless, things didn’t look good for Romania when they went 15-0 down early in the second half during their Pool D ‘wooden-spoon-off’ against the Canadians. Never before had a team come from 15-0 down to win a game in the Rugby World Cup. Try telling that to Romania though, who went on to do just that with two tries from Mihai Macovei, finishing just above Canada in the Pool.
5. Australia leave it late to overcome Scottish resistance
Not many people gave the Scots much of a chance in their Quarter-Final clash with the Aussies. Scotland have struggled in the Six Nations over the last few years and they hadn’t exactly lit the Pool Stage on fire either, only just edging out Japan for a place in the Quarters. Despite going behind to an early try, the Scots managed to go into the break 16-15 ahead. Australia took the lead early in the second half only for a 74th minute Mark Bennett try to put Scotland back in front. It was not to be though as a controversial Bernard Foley penalty with 1 minute left on the clock broke Scottish hearts and sent the Aussies into the last four.
4. Georgian captain Man of the Match against the All Blacks
New Zealand were rightfully the massive favourites going into this competition. Georgia on the other hand were seen as another team just there to make up the numbers. Not ones to roll over though, the Georgians showed fantastic character against the reigning world champions and even pegged them back after an early try with Beka Tsiklauri going between the posts in the 7th minute. Despite eventually losing 43-10, Georgia’s captain Mamuka Gorgodze was awarded Man of the Match much to the surprise of the man himself.
He can't believe it! Mamuka Gorgodze realises he's man of the match, & possibly the most popular man in the stadium! https://t.co/ti7BlOvsBf— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 2, 2015
3. Wales last ditch comeback against England
Trust Wales to come in and spoil the party for their neighbours. In a ridiculously tough group that also included two former World Cup winners in Australia and England, every game was massive. Despite England leading at half time, as well as being 7 points in front with only 10 minutes left on the clock, a Gareth Davies try in the 72nd minute brought England right back down to earth. And while Dan Biggar’s penalty put Wales into the lead with 5 minutes to go, England squandered a late chance at leveling the game by going for a try instead of a penalty that would’ve kept them in contention. An intense end to a box office clash that had serious ramifications for the hosts.
2. New Zealand demolish France
OK, so we all know that the All Blacks
are the best team in world rugby, no contest. France in contrast have
basically struggled for consistency pretty much since the last World
Cup. Having said that, the French are somewhat of a bogey team for
New Zealand, and you never know what can happen in the knock-out
stages, right? Well, there was no fairy tale ending this time for
France as they were systematically dismantled by a seriously
impressive All Black side that scored nine tries, three of which came
from Man of the Match Julian Savea, adding to his hat-rick against
Georgia. One of the best displays of rugby we’ve seen all year.
1. Japan’s injury time victory over South Africa
This is a pretty obvious pick for the moment of the tournament so far, especially when it comes to the sheer feel-good factor it produced. On opening weekend, rugby minnows Japan took on two-time World Cup winners South Africa in what most viewers saw as an absolute dead-rubber. Japan got off to a great start and, despite South Africa going in front on a number of occasions, they stayed close until the last minute. Deep into injury time, Japan had an opportunity to level the game with a penalty but chose to go for a match-winning try instead. Cue the internet going into meltdown and a whole host of new fans falling in love with the game.
Bring on the Semi-Finals we say!
Want a cool spot to check out the rest of the matches? Garden Fest on 8 is set up like a beer garden, long tables perfect for big groups with class big screens to watch the rest of the games. It always pulls in a good crowd, so ring ahead or head there early to make sure you get a good spot!
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