After Australia’s semi-final victory over Argentina last Sunday, most of the talk following the game was in regard to David Pocock’s tireless display.
Pocock won four turnovers and was first to the breakdown quicker than the AA ever could manage. There was the invariable deluge of memes and jokes, with many citing as one of, if not the, greatest performance a player has produced at the Rugby World Cup. Such hyperbole got me thinking; what are the most outstanding individual performances the World Cup has seen during its brief history?
Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the position, the most common role in this list is the fly-half. However, in order to ensure parity, there are only four no. 10s who feature in this list.
Continue reading “The 10 most outstanding individual performances in a single RWC game”
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Ireland, rather than bucking the trend, crashed out of the Rugby World Cup on schedule; at the quarter-finals stage. Rather than write a postmortem about the game, because let’s face it, there’s enough of them out there, I thought I would focus on writing up something easier; another clickbait “greatest-ever” list.
Rather than teasing you with “this Irish rugby team had something powerful to say. What happened next will break your heart” bullshit, mine is simple: the 10 greatest games played at the Rugby World Cup (in my opinion, of course).
It is something I was planning on writing at some stage but Scotland’s heartbreaking defeat to Australia has prompted me to finally getting round to it. So, without further ado, here they are…
Continue reading “The 10 greatest games played at the Rugby World Cup”
This week’s rugby-related news, in the absence of any action until Saturday’s quarter-finals, was dominated by disciplinary news. Sean O’Brien’s marathon hearing finally ended with the news he would receive just a one-week ban for striking Pascal Pape. I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t relieved but accept that O’Brien was lucky and the punishment should have been far harsher.
Of course O’Brien wasn’t the only one in the dock this week. Scotland’s Jonny Gray and Ross Ford both face three weeks on the sidelines for driving Jack Lam into the ground during a ruck clear-out against Samoa. That spells the end of their World Cup, even if Scotland were to make it all the way to the final. David Pocock escaped citation altogether despite kneeing Scott Baldwin in the back of the head against Wales and being sin-binned.
At the other end of the spectrum, Samoa’s Alesana Tuilagi was suspended for five weeks for “foul play”. The incident in question occured when Tuilagi was running with the ball in hand against Japan. He struck Harumichi Tatekawa’s head with his knee after riding a particular poor tackle from Tatekawa. Social media frothed at the mouth upon hearing of the severity of his suspension. In the face of such a barrage, his ban was reduced to just two weeks.
The most maddening aspect for aggrieved fans is the inconsistency of the disciplinary process, which merits its own post. It is the Tuilagi decision that has prompted today’s post because World Rugby has a potential problem on its hands; the alienation of rugby’s tier-two nations.
Continue reading “World Rugby should cherish the tier-two nations, not belittle them”
With the Rugby World Cup well underway, I thought it would be appropriate to write about the man who captained the first-ever New Zealand test side to have the moniker “All Blacks” as part of my burgeoning ‘great Irish sportspeople abroad’ series. His name was Dave Gallaher and he was born in Co. Donegal. Although he only played six test matches for them, Gallaher is a true legend of the game and revered in New Zealand to this day.
Continue reading “Great Irish sportspeople abroad: Dave Gallaher”
The Rugby World Cup in England will continue on for another 26 days but without the participation of its hosts beyond this Sunday evening.
England’s elimination at the pool stages was not only a surprise, it is unprecedented. No other host nation in the tournament’s 28-year history has failed to get beyond the pool stages. Where then does England’s exit rank among the high-profile early exits from the past?
Continue reading “Where does this England side rank among the biggest RWC flops?”