Rugby World Cup - 10 highlights

 01 Nov 2015 - 15:09

Rugby World Cup - 10 highlights
Captain Richie McCaw of New Zealand holds up the Webb Ellis Cup after winning the Rugby World Cup Final against Australia at Twickenham in London October 31, 2015. New Zealand won by 34-17.

 

London: Ten highlights of the Rugby World Cup, won by New Zealand and hailed by the global governing body World Rugby as the "best" ever:

+ In the biggest upset in World Cup history, Japan beat South Africa 34-32 in the opening Pool B game on September 19. South Africa went on to reach the semi-finals but Japan failed to get out of the group even though the 2019 hosts won three pool games.

+ England captain Chris Robshaw made a fatal error in the Pool of Death match against Wales on September 26 choosing a lineout to bid for a try instead of a penalty that could have drawn the game. England lost 28-25 in the first sign that the host nation were in trouble.

+ Georgia's giant captain Mamuka Gorgodze was sent to the sin-bin in their group game against Argentina. But in their next match on October 2, the European minnows put up a battling performance against New Zealand and "Gorgodzilla" was named man of the match.

+ England lost 33-13 to Australia on October 3 and became the first World Cup hosts to fail to reach the World Cup knockout stages. Disappointed would be an under-statement. Coach Stuart Lancaster's job is in doubt and the agonising is set to last for months.

+ Bryan Habana scores a second half hat-trick of tries in South Africa's 64-0 hammering of the United States on October 7 to equal Jonah Lomu's record of 15 in World Cup matches. The Springbok hero did not manage another one in the tournament though.

+ New Zealand crushed France 62-13 in their quarter-final in Cardiff on October 17. Julian 'The Bus' Savea scored one of the tries of the year, barging aside three French defenders Lomu-style as the All Blacks savagely took revenge for past World Cup upsets.

+ In one of the biggest World Cup controversies, South African referee Craig Joubert wrongly gave Australia a penalty that Bernard Foley kicked home in the last minute to beat Scotland 35-34 on October 18. Many observers said World Rugby's decision to make the error public was an even bigger blunder.

+ Dan Carter scored a rare drop goal as the All Blacks resisted a South African onslaught to win their October 24 semi-final 20-18. The match also saw a social media storm with images that appeared to show New Zealand captain Richie McCaw elbowing an opponent. Other angles that came out later showed however that there was no contact at all.

+ Ashley Adam-Cooper scored a brilliant hat-trick of tries as Australia ended Argentina's stunning World Cup run with a 29-15 victory in the October 25 final. The presence of Diego Maradona for the second time at the tournament failed to lift the exhausted Pumas who still made a dramatic impact on the World Cup.

+ Dan Carter stretches his world record points total to 1,598 with another 19 -- including another crucial drop goal -- in his final match for New Zealand who claimed a third World Cup title with a 34-17 triumph over Australia on October 31. The All Blacks performance led some to rank them as the best team in history -- the debate will go on.

AFP