With the first round of games at the 2015 Rugby World Cup over and done with, we take a look at the key talking points from the action…
Let’s face it, everywhere you turn there is coverage of Japan’s incredible victory over the Springboks. There’s no doubting the fact that this is the single greatest upset in the history of the Rugby World Cup. The result this weekend opens up the real possibility that Japan could find themselves making it out of the group stage for the first time in their history.
You can’t escape the complaints about the TMO after just one round of the Rugby World Cup. not a game has gone by without the TMO being used on multiple occasions, much to the chagrin of rugby fans who find the constant breaks of play infuriating. We have even seen two tries chalked off before conversions despite having initially been given courtesy of the TMO.
3.This looks set to be the closest tournament yet
Despite a couple of big scorelines, absolutely no side has been completely blown away, and we have had several occasions when so called minnows have given their more illustrious opponents a bit of a scare. It’s fantastic to see so many close encounters, and it would be genuinely fantastic to see a couple more upsets, and maybe even a tier 2 nations make the quarters.
4.There has been too much inconsistency between referees
Referees have tough jobs during rugby games, but there needs to be a greater degree of consistency amongst officials. Some have been penalising crooked feeds whilst others have clamped down on clear outs. The problem being that nobody quite knows what they can and can’t get away with as the laws aren’t being applied consistently.
5.The set piece will be vital
So far we have seen that it is the teams controlling the set piece that are winning games. This will come as no great surprise to rugby fans, but it proves the old adage of ‘forward win games, backs decide by how much’. Teams haven’t necessarily needed to be dominant at the scrum and line out, but it has been vital to claim their own ball as a bare minimum.
6.The injuries are already beginning to mount
France’s Yoann Huget has already been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup, whilst Wales have seen Liam Williams, Dan Lydiate, Paul James and Cory Allen all leaving the action with various injuries. As ever, the side most capable of dealing with their injuries is likely to find themselves doing well in the tournament.
7.Bonus points will be vital
Despite their loss to Japan, the Springboks still managed to pick up two points from the game. Elsewhere England claimed a vital try scoring bonus point in the dying seconds of their game against Fiji. It has become clear that bonus points will be more important than ever during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.