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2015 Rugby World Cup

Bill Sikes

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One of the most exciting games so far. Edge of the seat stuff and in the end it was only Scottish grit that got them over the line. Samoa, if they had played like that from the start of the competition might have been contenders.

This is what I like about Rugby, guts and grit count for a hell of a lot.

One thing strikes me after watching this game. Japan, Samoa, Canada and even the USA have all impressed me (despite placings) and are going to be a real handful by the time the next WC comes round.

The reason I think that is because they are all playing the right way. I think England could take a leaf out of any one these team's book when it comes to playing the game.

I don't think Scotland will go further but they are a very young team apparently, so they will come again in 4 years time.

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The last time Wales played Samoa they lost to them 19-26 in Wales

The last time Australia played Samoa they lost to them 23-32 in Australia

So maybe that wasn't a bad result by the Scots. It sure was exciting anyway. I think that pool B has been the most exciting of the tournament.

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Well, I've got a lot of PVR'd games to catch up to now that I've returned from my trip! Fantastic atmosphere being there live in the Canada/Italy game particularly, but as well in the game against Romania. Shockers with England out already, Wales hanging in there despite injuries, and Scotland playing well. Cuddles (Jamie Cudmore) having some harsh words for the RWC (more on that in another post), and the Tuilalagi suspension - now reduced.

It was incredible being there and I'm so glad I bucked up and did it. I spent a little more than I planned between souvenirs and nice restaurants (and conversion rates!) but it was worth it. Two games in England, as well as time in between in The Hague and Paris, and I'm already looking forward to the Sevens next year (costume ideas anyone?)!

But for the two I saw live:

Canada vs Italy

A game Canada should have won, even according to the Italian coach. I won't say they deserved it, as it wasn't just bad luck that kept them out of it. They didn't take enough of their chances in the Italian end to come away with points, and they allowed Italy too many opportunities to get back in the game when they should have kept the pressure on. They really were the better team on the day though, playing exciting attacking rugby, and they won a lot of fans from the locals with that kind of play (one of the tries of the tournament from DTH!).

Canada vs Romania

What more do you say than the largest comeback in RWC history? That covers the mistakes made in the final 30mins, letting Romania play into their forward play and getting away from their own game plan. Mack going blindside in the middle of the field and getting isolated, Hirayama's clearing kick getting blocked, Jebb Sinclair's yellow in the final 10 and even Hassler trying to run through the Romanians in the final minutes and going into touch when possession would have been enough and might have gotten us a chance at a penalty. Romania took advantage though, and it was on Canada to close that out and we didn't.

DTH again though!

Some shots from my trip:








Disappointing end for Canada, especially when they had great stretches of play, but now it's time to refocus on improving our record in competitions like the PNC.

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“Go now, or pay your own way.”

That was the message to Canada’s rugby players earlier this week, as their Rugby World Cup campaign came to a close. Despite the tournament posting endless records for attendance and, you’d assume, record funds landing in World Rugby bank accounts, it’s being suggested that RWC organizers are playing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

It’s the latest item to be added to the off-field chatter about what’s left to be done about global rugby’s money situation, unfortunately drawing attention from the mountain of commentary on how far the overall quality of the on-field play has come at this latest edition of the world’s greatest rugby competition.

To put it bluntly, there’s a great disparity between the haves and have-nots. The big countries receive huge payouts from organizers, while the lesser nations do not. There’s been plenty of noise about how Tier Two nations have proven how close they are to joining the big boys – but there’s also been plenty of calls for World Rugby to take further financial steps, with the aim of pushing the game’s have-nots over the final hurdle.

In the Canadian case, professionals like Jamie Cudmore are stuck paying for their own transport back to their playing base – France in his case – as the England 2015 budgeting would only pay for train trips and plane flights, and only if those trips were taken within 24 hours of the end of team’s competition. Cudmore and his Europe-based teammates, several of whom brought family along by car, were told “sorry” when they sought compensation for their trip home, even if those costs were actually cheaper than what RWC organizers were offering.

And it’s not just about players like James Pritchard, DTH van der Merwe, Richard Thorpe, Jebb Sinclair or Tyler Ardron driving back to their club in England or Wales or France from the team’s base in Leicester having to pay from their own pocket. Cudmore said players who wanted to stay on for days or weeks longer, even to enjoy the rest of the RWC, would have to pay for their final trip home themselves as well, as they’d missed the 24 hour window to travel home.

Cudmore said he was shocked by this “no exceptions” treatment. It’s a change from how players were treated from past world cups, he said: “The players need to be treated better as they are the product.” Further, he expressed concern about some of his injured teammates being forced to leave so quickly.


More at the link, but it was certainly overly strict on the part of World Rugby to force it in this way. Even after the Georgia/Namibia game the other day, the 24hr window after that final game for the Georgians to travel home and be covered was before they'd officially been eliminated.

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And while we're at it, thoughts on the Tuilagi suspension? It was initially 5 weeks but now reduced to 3. Just running through the tackle or raising his knee dangerously?



Tuilagi was cited by independent commission Yves Thieffine, a Frenchman, for striking Japan player Harumichi Tatekawa with his knee during Samoa's disappointing 26-3 defeat in Milton Keynes.

The reality is Tuilagi carried the ball into Tatekawa, and the second-five fell backwards. He needed treatment for a shoulder injury soon afterwards but carried on; the incident typical of that played out on countless rugby fields around the world every weekend.

Commentators have made mention of the fact that the act of bumping off would-be defenders was something that turned former All Blacks wing Jonah Lomu into the sport's first big star.

Not surprisingly, Tuilagi denied the act of foul play, but judicial officer Antony Davies, an Englishman, upheld the citing.


Former England captain Lewis Moody tweeted: "I'm appalled Alesana has been banned for 5 weeks. How is running into an opponent an act of foul play. Should we play walking rugby now!!!"

Former Wales flanker Martyn Williams said: "Crazy decision, seriously think by the time we get to the 2023 World Cup it will be a tag rugby tournament."

Ben Kay, a commentator for ITV and a former England forward, said: "I'm all for making our collision sport as safe as possible, but really? World Rugby I suggest you review this decision."

Others have pointed out the fact that England player Tom Wood escaped without sanction after committing a much worse act of violence. Wood made contact with the head of Wales fullback Liam Williams, knocking him unconscious, yet was free to play the next week against Australia.


The touch line angle does show him raising his knee more than you'd see in a normal run - and that's a danger to any player coming in with their head low to tackle around the waist and legs - but we see players quite often look to step over players or do much more dangerous things not even get a citing.

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