Another week of entertaining World Cup Rugby is over and the results have caused a couple of clear shifts in who will make it to the quarter-finals
We will get into all the permutations in the next video to give you a good idea of where this is all going.
It was great to see a number of the smaller unions really stepping up and delivering promising results.
The Uruguay vs. Namibia game offered an entertaining start to the week and was a good game for both teams. Namibia were able to play more of the rugby the way they wanted to play it without the onslaughts they endured in previous weeks. Uruguay came away with the deserved victory though after showing so much heart and passion in their previous games.
The Japan vs. Samoa game was a hard-fought game between a well-disciplined professional team versus a team of magnificent athletes with massive potential. At the end of the day, it was Japan’s well-drilled squad that got them the 28-22 victory on the day to keep them in quarter-final contention.
The New Zealand vs. Italy game promised to be a slightly more competitive affair but the All Blacks had other ideas. They blew away Italy to make a massive statement about what they are capable of and showcased their silky interplay at times.
Argentina vs. Chile also turned out to be a one-sided affair with a 59-5 win in favour of Argentina. The convincing bonus point victory was crucial for Argentina both in terms of log points and much-needed confidence going into the final week.
Fiji vs. Georgia offered a fair deal of excitement for a low-scoring game. Georgia played a lot more to their potential and very nearly stole it at the death. It was good to see Georgia come into their own and play well-structured rugby. Fiji didn’t play their strongest team but was able to rest some of their stars while giving a good amount of game time to the rest of their squad.
Scotland vs. Romania saw Romania suffer another massive defeat. Scotland needed to rack up the points to get the bonus point and set up a very exciting last week match-up with Ireland. It was a mission accomplished with their 84-0 victory.
Australia vs. Portugal was one of the strangest games in a long time. The 34-14 encounter in favor of Australia delivered entertaining rugby from both teams at times but also fell completely flat at other times. It was clear to see that it was a game between two teams that were clearly out of contention to get to the next round.
South Africa vs. Tonga was a hard-fought affair with a Tonga team delivering brutality at the contact points. You could see a lot of battered and bruised South African players at the end of the game and they clearly had to fight for every single one of their 49 points. Tonga has clearly grown as a team, and as the tournament progressed they were starting to come together. In this game, they played as a team.
Biggest Losers in Week 4
It would be harsh to really give it to anyone this week but if I had to pick, it would be Italy. The Italians have shown great resilience as a team over the past few years and pulled off a couple of shocking wins. For much of the clash against New Zealand it looked like they were playing scared and as a result never really gave themselves a chance.
They could take Uruguay’s game against France as an example of what can be done. The size of the dog doesn’t matter but rather the size of the fight in that dog.
Biggest Winners in Week 4
There were many of those. The easy ones to mention are New Zealand, Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa which just got the business done.
But I felt there was more impressive form coming from the other teams. Regardless of winning or losing, the fight, the heart, and really the essence of the game we love, were visibly on display by a few teams this weekend.
I want to give massive credit to Uruguay, Namibia, Japan, Samoa, Fiji, Georgia, and Tonga.
If the way they played is part of the future of their rugby, then we are in for many more years of breathtaking rugby.
Now we need the sponsors and World Rugby to step in and support these teams every single year to ensure we build up rugby globally so we enjoy this type of rugby all year round.