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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020

The winners and losers from a memorable Rugby World Cup

There’s a lot to look back on ahead of this weekend’s decider.

Winners

The minnows

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - South Africa v Japan - Brighton Community Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Brave Blossoms set the tone for a the competition with their first-weekend, memorable victory over eventual semi-finalists South Africa.

And if this tournament has a legacy it will surely be the opening up of the game thanks to the impressive showing from the second and third tier sides present in England and Wales.

The Six Nations have been urged to expand once more to invite the likes of Georgia and Romania into a beefed up tournament.

The side that will face the Boks in the third-fourth place play-off are proof that mixing it with the big boys more regularly will lead to massive improvement. Just ask Ireland how good Argentina are these days.

TV3

Announcement of TV3's Rugby World Cup 2015 Coverage Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Station chiefs must have realised the huge task they faced when they won the rights to the tournament from under the noses of RTÉ.

And, despite plenty of criticism online and in print about the amount of time spent on commercials, the Ballymount station have pulled it off.

Matt Cooper has been a knowledgeable and engaging presenter adjacent to a desk filled by the likes of Keith Wood, Matt Williams and Shane Jennings.

They’ve lacked the entertainment-over-information approach of someone like George Hook but that was a conscious decision you’d imagine. They’ve offered some proper analysis and intelligent debate in between those ad breaks.

Commercially no doubt the venture was also a massive victory for TV3.

The dirt-tracker team of Tommy Martin and Shane Byrne also added ‘is the martian good looking’ to the Irish sporting lexicon, thanks to this quality on-air moment:

Nigel Owens

The Welsh whistler will officiate the tournament decider between Australia and New Zealand this weekend — and that’s the right call.

Unlike some of his colleagues, Owens has had a great few weeks once again.

On the field the 44-year-old has been close to infalible and authorative while always happy to lob in some viral-friendly one-liners. As well as that in the run up to the tournament decider, Owens has opened up about his attempted suicide and addiction to steroids as he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality.

Tweet by @Nigel  Owens Source: Nigel Owens/Twitter

Losers

England

Rugby Union - Stuart Lancaster File Photo Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Ever go to a party and leave feeling awkward for the hosts who are bickering as you leave? Things did not go well for Stuart Lancaster and his side as they welcomed the rugby world over the threshold.

The RFU were done no favours by world rugby chiefs as they were pitted in the so-called group of death with fierce rivals Wales and Australia.

The wheels came off the chariot as captain Chris Robshaw turned his nose up at a chance for Owen Farrell to kick three points and get out of Twickenham with a draw against the Welsh. Instead their attempt to claim the win was woeful and led to plenty of finger-pointing.

Then the Wallabies ended England’s interest in their own tournament and Lancaster’s days look numbered. In truth, the tournament would have been better for their prolonged involvement too.

PSA

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool D - France v Romania - Olympic Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Au revoir, Philippe! This went exactly as you might have expected.

The French looked a rabble at times – ill-prepared and leaderless. Ultimately, the players reportedly took over once more, side-lining Saint Andre in his final days as Les Bleus boss.

In the end, New Zealand showed no mercy and sent the French and their departing coach back across the Channel with a resounding defeat to the All Blacks.

Craig Joubert

When you see a referee run from a rugby pitch, you know what preceded it must have been remarkable.

Source: Delboy Trotter/YouTube

The official legged it after he basically gifted a quarter-final victory to a misfiring Australia. With Scotland leading late on Joubert awarded a penalty — rather than a scrum — to the Wallabies which Bernard Foley knocked over.

That was bad enough but forgiveable. His hasty exit from the pitch however offended rugby’s sensibilities and he earned himself a world of criticism.

Harshly, he was hung out to dry by his bosses at World Rugby days later.

Stock up for the last 2 matches of the tournament at Centra. We’ve got great offers to help you through the full 80 minutes!

 

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