So far this week the results have been more predictable but that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been good rugby on offer. Here is my review of the games so far.
First here is a link to my review of the first group of Rugby World Cup games.
Rugby World Cup
Scotland 45 – 10 Japan
Australia 28 – 13 Fiji
France 38 – 11 Romania
New Zealand 58 – 14 Namibia
3 from 4, I thought Japan could go back to back.
The Scotland Japan game was the first where the saw the influence of the schedule. The first half was a tight affair where the boot of Laidlaw gave Scotland an early lead. Japan through a converted try led for a short while before Laidlaw’s boot gave Scotland a 12-7 halftime lead. That had included Japan surviving a yellow card unscathed. Japan changed a couple of players at halftime and Eddie Jones has admitted that the quality in the squad drops off quickly after the first 25ish players. Even so Japan pulled 3 points back through the boot before Scotland were able to run away with the game. 5 tries in the second half tells of a solid performance that probably would have won the game anyway but the short turnaround certainly influenced the margin. A good indication of how tiredness told was that Japan turned over the ball 7 times against South Africa compared to 19 against Scotland.
Australia won this game in the first half with a Brumbies performance. Pocock who picked up 2 try hat-tricks in Super Rugby off the back of rolling mauls picked up two more here. That allied with good defence from Australia especially in the second half was enough to see them home. In scoring “only” 3 tries Australia didn’t pick up a TBP and that might be important come the end of the pool states. Fiji now with no points from 2 games look to be out of contention despite 2 battling displays.
Romania managed to stay in touch for the first half hour, then a yellow card triggered their downfall. France scored tow converted tries to take a 17-6 lead into half time. Romania again fought well in the second half keeping the French out for the first 25 minutes. Then the better conditioning of the French showed and three more tries were scored picking up the TBP along the way. As hard as Romania battled they never looked like troubling this French side who have started with two good wins.
New Zealand racked up 5 ties by half time to lead 34-6 and a big score looked to be on the cards. Namibia though kept on fighting and scored a try ten minutes into the second half. The All Blacks weren’t a slick in the second half but still picked up another 4 tries and were very comfortable winners. New Zealand are cruising to the top of the group as everybody expected.