New Zealand undoubtedly stole the show at this year’s World Cup, returning the Haka to our hearts, Ma’a Nonu to the try lines and Daniel Carter to his tee. Advancing from their win in 2011, they played with unquestionable ability, speed and style which were second to none.
Australia too, as part of the Southern Hemisphere takeover, played with great tenacity. Although they did not win, they played to a far superior standard than the likes of the Six Nations sides. Shockingly, England went out in the group stages, their earliest exit ever, becoming the first host nation to do so in a World Cup.
However, with Sam Burgess’ recent decision to leave Bath and rugby union to return to rugby league, there is a very obvious difference in the level of commitment and courtesy shown by players from varying teams.Former national coach Sir Woodward made his opinion of the RFU very clear: “We are the laughing stock, not only of world rugby, but also sport and business.”
There was not much luck for the Irish in the quarter finals and they played poorly even with the loss of Sexton and O’Connell. As Six Nations champions in 2015 they were expected to win but the Pumas made the most of the chances they were given and kept the intensity up right till the end. Therefore Argentina’s success can only be upheld as a deserved win.
The same can be said for Japan who stormed against the odds in their win against South Africa. Even if the losing margin was only minimal it still prompted a public apology from the South African coach Heyneke Meyer which although not needed was entertaining.Dare I say it, it is only a game.
Such unexpected triumphs and defeats have hit the World Cup at the perfect time, opening up the game to many more contenders around the world and challenges the Six Nations status quo.