Sport

The Best Of The Rugby World Cup

Finally, a month in which Jose Mourinho headlines won't dominate the sports pages.

The Rugby World Cup is upon us, filling terrestrial television with an endless ruck of games, anthems and tear-streaked fans. In the melee of fixtures, we aim to keep you up to date with the moments that you might have missed - from superb individual efforts within a losing side, to massive groan-inducing tackles.

Here's the best of the Rugby World Cup so far.

  • The Best Of The Rugby World Cup

    South Africa stunned by Japan

    Result: RSA 32 - 34 Japan

    Film worthy. A moment in sporting history. The stuff of legend.

    What happened: No superlative you angle at this result can quite do it justice: even if the Brave Blossoms of Japan fail to qualify from Pool B (they've still got tough games ahead against Scotland and Samoa), their relentless performance against South Africa has ensured this tournament is already a 'success'.

    Goromaru had a foot like a guided missile, guiding five penalties over for Japan as the Boks kept giving away needless penalties in the face of the Japanese pace, while the final try is going to be replayed at every World Cup for the next 50 years. 

    What next: Japan face Scotland, while South Africa take on Samoa - a set of results which could arguably indicate which of these four teams will be making it through the Pool stage.

     

  • The Best Of The Rugby World Cup 1

    Georgia make their own history

    Result: Tonga 10 - 17 Georgia

    What happened: Georgia, a nation of 4.4 million squeezed between Turkey and the southern foot of Russia, added to their own rugby history books with a fine, disciplined display against Tonga - only the third win of their Rugby World Cup appearances. 

    Mamuka Gorgodze was the standout performer, with his 27 tackles deflating Tonga's efforts, along with a bullish try.

    What next: Tonga picked up a bonus point for finishing within eight points, but their hopes of escaping the pool could well be over, with Argentina looking fierce in their loss to New Zealand. Georgia will most probably fail to repeat their triumph against either of these sides, but will look to add another page to their rugby heritage when they take on Namibia on 7 October.

  • The Best Of The Rugby World Cup 2

    DHT Van Der Merwe scores a try to remember

    Result: Ireland 50 - 7 Canada

    What happened: In short, Ireland thumped Canada, putting in a performance to settle their nerves and prove they can move the ball through the hand with comfortable ease. 

    But in the midst of an expected white-wash, Canada's DHT Van Der Merwe put in a superb try, sprinting some 51 metres to ensure he'll have a story to tell his grandkids.

    What next: Ireland will have another opportunity to grab a bonus point when they face Romania on 27 September, while Canada will look to cause an upset against the resilient Italian side that lost their opening game to France. 

  • The Best Of The Rugby World Cup 3

    New Zealand wobble, but win

    Result: New Zealand 26 - 16 Argentina 

    What happened: For the majority of the first half, Argentina looked like they might be about to challenge Japan for "biggest upset" in this World Cup, with New Zealand reduced to 13 men, struggling to get into their rhythm. 

    It was the final 20 minutes that proved decisive - as Aaron Smith powered over the line for New Zealand, there was a sudden return of their familiar class and steel, and Argentina didn't have the legs to come back into the game.

    What next: New Zealand have an extra days rest before they take on Georgia on 2 October, which means they could blow them off the park. 

  • The Best Of The Rugby World Cup 4

    That opening ceremony

    Result: A confused set of rugby fans the world over

    What happened: We're not quite sure. A Downton-esque dramatisation of the birth of rugby tripped into a dancing, climbing set piece that made everyone remember how much they missed the 2012 Olympics opening. There were some muddy men, some old men and some very confused singers.

    What next: We never speak of it again.