The 2015 Rugby World Cup was held in England for the very first time in its history, where the sport was born. All 2.4 million spectators in the stadiums and many more across the globe saw this tournament full of exciting rugby. We were all asking: How would England do? Would the All Blacks make history? And who would be there to challenge them?
It is safe to say the biggest shock of the tournament was Japan’s performance versus the almighty South African team, the Spring Boks. Going into the match, rugby enthusiasts across the world had already written off the Japanese “Brave Blossoms”, who were considered underdogs before the warm ups had even begun. However, the match told a very different tale. At half-time the score was only 12-10 to the Boks having scored two tries and a conversion, while the Japanese skipper, Leitch, scored the one converted try. The second half showed more of a ping-pong game, with tries and penalties achieved at both ends. But it was the Japanese who managed to secure the win, 5 minutes into overtime with a very well worked try, scoring in the corner, making it a staggering 34-32. It was overheard in a Brighton bookies that one lucky winner had the odds 1:1000, after placing £1 on Japan to win!
The Quarter Finals proved to be a fantastic spectacle of rugby. The key game, Australia vs. Scotland, proved to be an important one for Northern Hemisphere rugby, as Scotland were the last team in the North left in the tournament. The extremely tight game never exceeded more than an 8 point margin between the teams. This match simply came down to one huge decision, by the referee Craig Joubert, who gave an extremely controversial, game-changing (and in many spectators’ opinions, poor) penalty to Australia, allowing Bernard Foley to slot the ball between the sticks. The outrage from the spectators came from the fact that he had previously missed numerous kicks and only executed the one that really mattered.
Everyone had their eyes on the Final, of course involving the All Blacks. They had proved from the offset that they are the world’s greatest with players such as Julian Savea, Dan Carter and Ma’a Nonu in their arsenal. Dan Carter proved to be make difference in the whole game, slotting penalties, conversions and a drop goal from all over the pitch. During a usual final, not many tries are scored; however, this match resulted in 5 tries (3 from New Zealand), leaving the final score at 34-17 at full time. The All Blacks made history as the first team ever to defend a World Cup title and also win the tournament 3 times: 1987 (the first World Cup), 2011 and 2015. This year was also the first time they had won the tournament not on their home territory, another huge achievement for the team.
You may also be asking: what happened to England? Well, England were unfortunately placed in the ‘Group from Hell’ including Wales, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay. We failed in our challenging task of winning against Australia and Wales, meaning we are the first host team to go out in the group stages. England, and particularly Stuart Lancaster, has been under immense criticism for his ‘faulted’ selection process. He has now stepped down from Head Coach and the experts seem to think we will pinch the Japanese Head Coach, Eddie Jones. David Flatman believes England should use the likes of Martin Johnson, Lawrence Deligio and Jonny Wilkinson as our coaching team, who would be huge assets to our team and change it for good.
The rugby world now looks to Japan to host the 2019 World Cup and hopefully we will see bigger tries, bigger hits and more records broken.
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