The 2015 RWC has been really good for spectators and fans of rugby so far as we reach the halfway point of the pool games. Past World Cups have had a type of feeling surrounding them. Like the 1995 RWC where the dreams of a fledgling New South Africa were realised or in the 2011 RWC where after so many disappointments there was the constant question were the All Blacks going to win it or not? This RWC seems to be one of positive rugby will make you a winner.
It all started with that historic victory for Japan over South Africa. Other matches have given us unexpected results. Georgia getting the better of Tonga, Namibia scoring a really good try against the All Blacks, Canada very nearly beating Italy, The U.S.A going into half-time ahead against Scotland. Maybe less unexpected, but probably just as dramatic as any of the aforementioned games, the injury hit Welsh’s come from behind stunning win against England.
Whose campaigns are runinng smoothly? New Zealand although the Argentinians gave them a hell of a match. The Argies can’t be to upset so far. Not taking anything away from what a good team Argentina are, did they realistically expect to beat the All Blacks? It was Argentina’s victory against Georgia that confirmed their class. Ireland took Canada apart and had a big win over Romania. It was the manner in which Ireland went about their business that was impressive. France are gliding in unnoticed, with two impressive wins and a big collision expected against Ireland, France are looking good. Australia would be pleased with their first-half against Fiji but less so in the second half. Scotland could turn out to be a suprise success for the Home Nations.
It’s not just the unexpected competitiveness of the tier 2 nations, it’s the quality of these teams play in particular their willingness to attack the bigger teams and put the big teams under pressure. Professional coaching seems to be coming of age. We have a guy out of the Welsh Valleys, Phil Davies, coaching a bunch of guys out of the Kalahari or the Namib,and having a really big influence on their structure and belief.
RWC rugby has now been played at Sandy Park down in Exeter, Kingsholm in Gloucester, Brighton and at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. All these games have been sell-outs and the atmosphere at all the games has been magnificent.
There is a downside and that is the amount of injuries so far in the RWC that have forced players out. It is a contact sport and with players being in better shape than players have ever been in, collisions will have consequences.
The RWC 2015 so far has been one of many surprises but mostly it has been one of entertaining rugby that has created huge excitement among rugby fans.