The second week of Rugby World Cup 2019 kicked off Saturday morning with the Argentina versus Tonga encounter. Both teams had already experienced defeat so it was a must-win game if they still harboured thoughts of making the play-offs.
And despite facing the heaviest pack in the tournament – over 1000kg – the South Americans scored four converted tries before the Tongans could get points on the scoreboard of their own. And that was all in the first half. The second half saw a solitary unconverted try by the islanders as the only score. Final score 28-12.
And then came the Japan versus Ireland encounter already covered on page one this week. All we’ll say here – for those who haven’t read that front page yet – is that Japan won. And brilliantly so.
Next up it was the Springboks vs Namibia in a match that could really only ended with one result, especially because our African neighbours chose to field what was largely the second team. The result was a nine-try rout that ended 57-3 in favour of South Africa.But perhaps the most heart-warming moment of the match was the sportsmanship displayed after the match when both teams thanked the crowd by bowing to them in the traditional Japanese manner.
Later that day, Australia faced off against Wales for the chance to top the pool going into the knock-out rounds.
It was a tight affair but the Welsh eventually triumphed 29-25, much to the chagrin of the convict coach and captain, who, we are told, displayed the other side of the sportsmanship coin. But you be the judge.
On Sunday, Georgia bounced back from a thumping at the hands of Wales to completely demolish Uruguay 33-7. That said, the South Americans would have been a bit weary after their triumph over Fiji only four days before and the coach probably rested some key players.
On Monday, Scotland bounced back from defeat to Ireland in the first round by thrashing a rather lacklustre Samoa 34-0. To be fair though, conditions were atrocious and the Scots handled them better than the Pacific Islanders.
Yesterday, the early game was Georgia vs Fiji and the Pacific islanders bounced back from disappointing defeats by both Australia and Uruguay. The 45-10 scoreline and bonus point give them a mathematical chance of making the playoffs but other results have to go their way too.
The late game was a five-try blitz by Ireland over Russia that ended in a comprehensive 35-0 victory. The match stats on our Ultimate Rugby app tell a story: Russia had the higher numbers in five areas: tackles made (182/95), tackles missed (21/11), turnovers won (9/7), penalties conceded (10/6) and yellow cards (2/0).
There’s only one match today: South Africa vs Italy and it is effectively a decider for that second spot in the knock-out rounds. That match is previewed in more detail on page four (and beyond) along with several other interesting match-ups over the next several days.