It was an entertaining weekend of rugby, there was so much to consider as plenty of standout moments. Bet Central brings you 5 points taken from the past weekend’s action.
Argentina Recovered Spectacularly From A Horrid Start
Argentina put in a superb performance to get past Wales 29-17 in the 1st of the weekend’s quarterfinals. It was a far cry from the poor start they had where nothing went right as England obliterated them. Coach, Michael Cheika described it as a game where everything that could go wrong went wrong.
There were improvements in the other pool games, but against Wales, they had arguably their most complete performance of the tournament thus far. They executed their kicking game very well and balanced it with their running game. They were aggressive on defence and showed they could tough it out.
New Zealand-Ireland Play Out A Classic
If ever there was anything that summed up just how good a game New Zealand and Ireland played out in Saint-Denis, it was Ireland going 37 phases in the final play after the hooter in their quest for the win. Ultimately it wasn’t to be for Ireland as All Blacks veteran Sam Whitelock won a breakdown penalty to end the game as New Zealand edged past Ireland 28-24.
The game was fast, ferocious, and physical from the onset with both teams exchanging blows in a bruising encounter. Sometimes such games have high error rates due to the intensity, but not this one. Both teams showed their quality throughout, and it was a battle for the ages between the 2 powerhouses. A treat for rugby lovers.
Johnny Sexton Call Time On A Great Career
A visibly disappointed Jonathan Sexton said it was a dream come true for him to have worn the green jersey in his final press conference as a rugby player and captain of Ireland. Those who have watched him over the years can attest that it has been an absolute dream to watch him strut his abilities for Ireland over the years.
The 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year came into the big shoes of Ronan O’Gara and filled them with aplomb and along the way usurped the Irish legend as his country’s greatest no.10. To take it further, Sexton is widely considered as the 2nd greatest player in his nation’s history after the great Brian O’Driscoll. It has been a wonderful career and despite the disappointment of exiting the World Cup, the 38-year-old can look back on a superb career.
Mathieu Raynal’s Horror Show
It was Fiji’s 1st quarterfinal appearance at the World Cup since the 2007 edition and there were high hopes that they could a 1st semi-final appearance after having improved exponentially over the last couple of years. But it wasn’t to be as they lost to England.
While Fiji had its moments of naivety, the refereeing performance of Mathieu Raynal would have left a bitter taste in the mouth of Fijian supporters the world over. England was allowed to get away with a lot at the breakdown and Tom Curry’s no-arms tackle akin to a chop tackle only got a penalty as punishment. Just about every 50/50 call went England’s way and it was unfortunate as the Fijian could have gotten over the line were it not for the one-sided officiating.
Antoine Dupont Underlines His Greatness
The game was dubbed the hosts vs the defending champions and it lived up to the billing like Ireland-New Zealand. But more than anything else it was also about seeing how Antoine Dupont would perform following his injury in the pool stages which needed surgery.
The hosts lost to the Springboks, but it was like their captain Dupont was never injured as he pulled the strings of the French assault and almost got them over the line with a truly world-class performance. His long and short kicking game was on point, and he just read play beautifully. He got stuck in and was constantly keeping the French moving. It felt like a reminder that we are watching a player who when it’s all said and done is likely to be remembered as one of the all-time greats of the game.