Thursday, 5th October 2023
#1. New Zealand vs Uruguay (73-0)
New Zealand dominated the Rugby World Cup clash last Thursday as they stormed into the quarter-finals, securing a sensational 73-0 victory over Uruguay.
As the All Blacks applied the pressure, their impressive tally of 11 tries exhibited how their prowess on the field was undeniable.
Most notably Will Jordan demonstrated his scoring finesse by crossing the try line twice, while Cam Roigard, Fletcher Newell, and Leicester Fainga’anuku made noteworthy contributions in the match. Fainga’anuku particularly stood out with a memorable hat-trick, showcasing his exceptional skills on the field.
Additionally, Tamaiti Williams, Richie Mo’unga, and Damian McKenzie also played crucial roles, with McKenzie adding two more tries to New Zealand’s already impressive tally.
Now propelling the All Blacks to the top of Pool A after accumulating 15 points, the New Zealanders are positioned two places ahead of hosts France.
Even in the face of adversity following the loss of tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax due to an earlier injury in the game, the All Blacks displayed unwavering determination as they faced the ambitious Uruguay team, ranked 17th in the world.
Although Uruguay initially put up a fight, it didn’t take long before New Zealand’s playmaking shone through.
McKenzie initiated the scoring for New Zealand in the 20th minute, with Mo’unga adding to the tally just five minutes later.
Jordan capitalised on a brilliant assist by McKenzie to secure another try for the All Blacks.
Roigard then clinched the bonus point with the fourth try just before halftime, establishing a commanding 26-0 lead for New Zealand at the break.
In the second half, New Zealand sustained their relentless attack, with players Newell, Fainga’anuku, and McKenzie all crossing the try line.
Despite Uruguay’s best efforts, it proved insufficient to fend off the All Blacks’ relentless onslaught.
Jordan and Fainga’anuku both scored their second tries, while replacement prop Williams marked his first Test try, not only contributing to New Zealand’s impressive tally but also highlighting Head Coach Scott Robertson’s exceptional eye for talent.
Fainga’anuku completed his hat-trick, putting the finishing touch on the scoreline just minutes before the end of the match.
Despite the crowd’s appreciation for Uruguay’s resilience, the game concluded with a final attacking effort from the South Americans.
Friday, 6th October 2023
#2. France vs Italy (60-7)
France confidently secured their spot in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a stellar performance on Friday, demonstrating exceptional determination as they scored eight tries, ultimately clinching a commanding 60-7 victory over Italy in Lyon.
The French team, otherwise known as Les Bleus, delivered a standout display, highlighted by Damian Penaud’s two tries in the first half, securing a crucial bonus point.
In addition to Penaud’s contributions, Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Thomas Ramos significantly added to the score, leading to an impressive halftime tally of 31-0.
The second half saw France maintain their dominance, with Matthieu Jalibert, Peato Mauvaka, and Yoram Moefana (twice) all scoring tries, extending Les Bleus’ lead to 52-0.
Despite Italy’s resilient efforts, Manuel Zuliani managed to score their sole try in the 70th minute, with Tommaso Allan successfully adding the extra points.
This victory allowed France to secure the top position in Pool A with 18 points, placing them ahead of New Zealand in the group stages, while Italy settled for the third position.
Notably, Fabien Galthie’s team faced this challenge without their captain, Antoine Dupont, who was sidelined due to a fractured jaw and subsequent surgery.
Despite Dupont’s absence, Maxime Lucu seamlessly took on the role of scrum-half for France. Remarkably, the team’s dominant performance against Italy showcased their resilience and depth, demonstrating that they were undeterred by the absence of their skipper.
For Italy, the tournament ended on a disappointing note, following their overwhelming 96-17 defeat by New Zealand on Thursday. As the final whistle blew, the visibly distraught second-youngest team in the tournament exited the competition, marking the conclusion of their challenging campaign.
Saturday, 7th October 2023
#3. Wales vs Georgia (43-19)
On Saturday, Wales showcased their unwavering determination and exceptional skills as they secured the top spot in World Cup Pool C with a hard-fought 43-19 victory over Georgia.
The standout star player, Louis Rees-Zammit, proved to be a force to be reckoned with, stunning spectators by scoring an exceptional hat-trick of tries for the daring dragons.
Despite Georgia’s spirited comeback, Wales displayed remarkable resilience, holding a 17-7 lead at halftime. Tries from Tomas Francis and Liam Williams highlighted their strong first-half performance.
However, Georgia’s captain, Merab Sharikadze, and substitutes Vano Karkadze and Davit Niniashvili managed to breach Wales’ defense, causing some initial concern.
The second half brought heightened pressure on Wales, but they managed to hold their ground. Late tries from Rees-Zammit and George North thwarted Georgia’s determined attempts, securing the victory.
Fly-half Sam Costelow, stepping in for the injured Gareth Anscombe, played a pivotal role, contributing 14 points through precise kicking.
As is characteristic of the Rugby World Cup, the match was filled with dramatic moments, including a late brawl that resulted in yellow cards for Niniashvili and Wales’ substitute Taine Basham.
With just one point needed to top the pool after their win against Australia, Wales faced a formidable challenge. However, Costelow’s strategic play in the first half, coupled with tries from Liam Williams and Rees-Zammit in the second, solidified Wales’ lead and ensured their triumph despite Georgia’s spirited efforts.
In the face of Georgia’s determined comeback, the exceptional performances of Louis Rees-Zammit and George North, along with Wales’ sixth try, ultimately secured the victory for Warren Gatland’s team.
Now, with a quarter-final showdown against Argentina scheduled for Saturday, October 14th in Marseille, the question lingers: will the dragons have what it takes to emerge victorious?
Only time will tell.
#4. England vs Samoa (18-17)
In a thrilling kickoff, England surged ahead, igniting the crowd’s fervor with Ollie Chessum’s swift ninth-minute try.
The stadium roared as Owen Farrell’s precise boot extended their lead to 8-0 with a 16th-minute penalty, etching his name in history as England’s all-time leading scorer.
Amidst Samoa’s early onslaught, England’s resilience shone bright. A brilliant exchange between Joe Marchant and Manu Tuilagi set the stage for Chessum’s corner glory.
Farrell’s 16th-minute penalty not only added points but marked a milestone, eclipsing even Jonny Wilkinson’s record.
Yet, Samoa’s ferocity couldn’t be denied. Nigel Ah Wong’s corner brilliance, fueled by Sopoaga’s expert conversions and Fumoi’s strategic kick, pushed Samoa to a commanding 14-8 halftime lead.
As the second half dawned, Samoa tightened their grip, expanding their lead to 17-8 with Sopoaga’s pinpoint penalty. England, undeterred, struck back swiftly, but a mistimed conversion attempt left points hanging in the balance.
Then came the turning point, as Tamua Manu’s sin-bin offered England a glimmer of hope. With sheer determination, Danny Care breached Samoa’s defenses, landing a converted try that propelled England to a nail-biting 18-17 lead.
Amidst relentless Samoa pressure, England’s warriors stood firm, securing a heart-stopping victory that echoed their unyielding spirit on the grandest international stage.
Owen Farrell gave his verdict on the game, noting:
“It was scrappy. It didn’t feel like the best from us, but all credit must go to Samoa.
“The way they came out and fired shots at us was tough to deal with at times.
I’m glad we found a way back in, and I’m glad when we weren’t at our best,we found a way to win”
With England set to play Fiji on Sunday, 15th October, do they have what it takes to get to the semi-finals?
#5. Ireland vs Scotland (36-14)
Ireland unleashed their fury in a thrilling face-off at the Stade de France, dazzling spectators with exceptional skill and determination against Scotland. The Shamrocks secured a resounding 36-14 victory, keeping fans teetering on the edge of their seats.
Their stellar performance catapulted them to the top spot in Pool B, marking a triumphant moment in the tournament. Ireland’s prowess was on full display as they notched up an impressive tally of six tries, orchestrated by standout players like James Lowe, Hugo Keenan (who notably scored twice), Iain Henderson, Dan Sheehan, and Garry Ringrose.
Amidst a barrage of challenges, including injuries to key players, Ireland exhibited exceptional resilience and unyielding determination on the field.
Lowe, seizing the moment, set the match’s tempo with a lightning-fast try within seconds of the opening minute. His brilliant move, orchestrated by Ringrose, exemplified Ireland’s strategic brilliance right from the start.
The momentum surged as Hugo Keenan, showcasing exceptional agility, secured his remarkable second try, courtesy of a seamless pass from Johnny Sexton. Bundee Aki’s precise offload paved the way, highlighting Ireland’s remarkable teamwork and creativity.
Iain Henderson, the embodiment of Ireland’s physical prowess and unwavering grit, swiftly followed suit, powering through the opposition to claim another try. Ireland, relentless in their pursuit of victory, kept Scotland on the defensive, capitalizing on defensive errors that resulted in penalties, frustrating their opponents.
Keenan sealed his brace with a pinpoint delivery from Sexton, while Sheehan acted on Ireland’s flawless attack, orchestrated by utility wing Jamison Gibson-Park, to notch another try.
Ringrose added the finishing touch, skillfully set up by Jack Crowley’s accurate kick-pass, showcasing Ireland’s finesse and precision.
Despite Scotland managing to score twice, including a spectacular counter-attack finished by scrum-half Ali Price, the night undeniably belonged to Ireland.
The only blemish was a missed opportunity for a seventh try, narrowly halted by a knock-on from Finlay Bealham.
With this victory under their belt, Ireland now sets their sights on their formidable rivals, the mighty All-Blacks, in the quarter-finals in Paris next Saturday, October 15th.
Their focus remains steadfast: securing a historic spot in the semi-finals for the nation, a feat that would etch their name in rugby history.
Sunday, 8th October 2023
#6. Japan vs Argentina (27-39)
Wales earned their ticket to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in an electrifying clash on Sunday, setting the stage for an exciting face-off against Argentina.
The match was an adrenaline-fueled spectacle, showcasing a gripping battle of skill and determination that unfolded over an undeniably intense 80 minutes.
From the get-go in Nantes, Argentina seized the initiative, with Santiago Chocobares lighting up the scoreboard just two minutes into the game.
Yet, Japan, resilient and unyielding, quickly countered with Amato Fakatava’s try, leveling the playing field and setting the stage for an epic clash.
The game’s intensity reached fever pitch when Pieter Labusschagne of Japan was sin-binned, granting Argentina a numerical advantage.
They capitalized on this opportunity with finesse, executing a brilliant team play that saw Mateo Carreras cross the try line, thrusting Argentina back into the lead. Emiliano Boffelli further extended their advantage with a precise penalty.
Undeterred, Japan roared back into contention, bolstered by Labuschagne’s return. Naoto Saito’s powerful breakthrough brought the score within a hair’s breadth at halftime, setting the stage for a nail-biting second half.
Carreras once again emerged as the hero, scoring his second try early in the second half and giving Argentina a much-needed cushion. Japan, displaying unmatched tenacity, fought back relentlessly, securing a crucial penalty and a drop-goal to keep the match hanging by a thread.
Boffelli’s pivotal try, followed by a successful conversion, propelled Las Pumas to a 29-22 lead, intensifying the battle. Japan, refusing to back down, responded with a converted try courtesy of Jone Naikabula.
However, Carreras, the standout star of the day, refused to be outdone, completing his hat-trick and widening Argentina’s lead.
In a dramatic exchange of exceptional playmaking, Japan threw everything they had at Argentina. The resilient South American side, however, stood their ground, securing a heart-stopping victory in a match that had fans on the edge of their seats.
With Argentina emerging victorious, the stage is set for a colossal quarter-final clash against Wales. This impending rematch promises to reignite the intensity of their battle just 11 months ago, adding an extra layer of excitement and anticipation to the tournament.
#7. Tonga vs Romania (45-24)
In a pulsating battle on the rugby field, Tonga roared to their first-ever triumph in the Rugby World Cup, outclassing Romania in a thrilling encounter.
Both teams stepped onto the pitch with a burning desire to escape the bottom spot, having weathered the storm against rugby powerhouses like Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa.
From the kickoff, the game blazed with intensity, fueled by the fervor of both teams.
Tonga’s attack was electrifying, sparked by the sheer genius of former All Black Charles Piutau (also known as Salesi) orchestrating a mesmerizing move that allowed Solomone Kata to glide over the try line just 11 minutes in.
Tonga’s onslaught didn’t stop there. Another All Black alumnus, George Moala, bulldozed through Romania’s defenses, securing their second try and sending the Tongan fans wild.
But Romania, resilient and unyielding, clawed back into the game. Their spirit shone as Conache’s precise kick found its mark, announcing Romania’s intent.
Yet, Tonga’s reply was swift and powerful. A thunderous run by Sione Talitui created a scoring opportunity, promptly capitalized by Afusipa Taumoepeau, extending Tonga’s lead to 21-3 within a whirlwind of 22 minutes.
Romania, refusing to bow down, launched a courageous fightback. Cristi Boboc’s tenacity and Florin Surugiu’s veteran prowess brought Romania within touching distance, narrowing the gap to just four points as the halftime whistle loomed.
The second half exploded with action. Tonga’s relentless Sioni Vailanu clinched Tonga’s bonus point, but Romania responded with a strategic gem. Nicholas Onutu’s drop-kick wizardry was flawlessly collected by the agile Marius Simionescu, breathing new life into Romania’s challenge.
Yet, as the clock ticked away, Tonga’s relentless energy proved unstoppable.
Pita Ahki’s finesse, Kata’s lightning speed for his second, and Kyren Taumoefolau’s finishing touch showcased Tonga’s exceptional skill and determination.
The stadium roared as Tonga’s defining moments reverberated, sealing a historic win and leaving rugby fans on the edge of their seats in sheer awe.
#8. Fiji vs Portugal (23-24)
Portugal claimed their inaugural World Cup win in a historic upset that reverberated through the rugby world, leaving fans and players in awe of their exceptional performance.
The match was a rollercoaster of emotions, featuring heart-stopping moments and a finale that will be talked about for years. Rodrigo Marta’s last-minute try and Samuel Marques’s nerveless conversion transformed ordinary players into legends, etching the Portugal side’s names in rugby history.
The game itself was a thrilling spectacle, filled with tenacity, spirit, and a touch of unpredictability.
The first half, ending in a hard-fought 3-3 tie, showcased the unwavering resilience of both teams.
Fiji came agonizingly close to scoring the opening try, while Portugal’s Raffaele Storti missed a crucial opportunity, heightening the game’s tension to a fever pitch.
The turning point came early in the second half when Portela’s towering high ball and Lima’s pinpoint grubber paved the way for Storti to break the deadlock, unleashing Portugal’s latent potential.
Fiji, determined to regain control, managed to level the score through Botia, but Portugal’s unyielding defense, especially during Botia’s yellow card period, proved impenetrable.
Fiji briefly gained the upper hand with Doge’s determined effort and Lomani’s flawless conversions.
However, just as it seemed the tide had turned, Marta’s unforgettable inside run and Marques’s unerring accuracy in the dying minutes reclaimed victory for Portugal.
In a whirlwind of drama and brilliance, Portugal emerged triumphant, leaving an indelible mark on rugby history and inspiring generations of players and fans with their remarkable achievement.
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