The recent debut of three Fijians in separate Tier One nation teams has highlighted the fact that the Fiji Rugby Union is sitting on a wealth of resources that if tapped dilligently and frugally will bring dividends in abundance. Continue reading
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Fly-half Bernard Foley struck a last-ditch penalty just 30 seconds from the end to clinch Australia a 35-34 victory over Scotland in a Twickenham quarter-final awash with eight tries, drama and controversy.
With his team trailing 34-32 after an interception try from Scotland centre Mark Bennett in the 73rd minute, Foley snatched victory for the Wallabies who scored five tries to Scotland’s three to make the semi-finals an all-southern hemisphere affair for the first time in the history of the World Cup. Australia will take on Argentina in the last four, while New Zealand meet South Africa.
Man in the middle for Wales vs Australia, Craig Joubert, has refereed 54 Tests
As the pool of death gets down to the nitty gritty, we look at the man in the middle, tasked with keeping calm in the Twickenham cauldron between Wales and Australia on Saturday
Craig Joubert is an experienced referee from South Africa, who has been on the international scene since 2003.
The 37-year-old, from Durban, has officiated in 54 Tests, including the 2011 World Cup final between New Zealand and France.
After surviving what he called the “group of hell,” Wales coach Warren Gatland was scathing of a Rugby World Cup draw that was based on rankings three years ago and resulted in his team ending up in Pool A with two-time champion Australia, 2003 winner England, and Fiji, a team that easily could have contended for the quarterfinals.
England’s back-to-back losses to Wales and Australia meant a host team became the first to miss out on the quarterfinals. Gatland, a New Zealander, was stuck between a rock and a hard place while watching the game at Twickenham on Saturday — needing Australia to beat England to ensure the pool would be decided before his Wales team meets the Wallabies next week, which came with the unpalatable concept of being a Kiwi supporting his archrival Aussies in a sporting contest.
The Pool A showdown will be more clear after the weekend; separating the two teams going to the quarterfinals, one winning a free passage to the 2019 competition while the fourth team with Uruguay fighting for qualifications.
The three Tier One nations with England on six points on the points table; and Wales and Australia with nine points apiece leading the charge for the final two places to get into the final eight.
The second loss 13-28 of the national team to Australia on Thursday morning (Wednesday afternoon in Cardiff, Wales) has opened up discussions on radio talk back shows in the vernacular ruing the missed opportunities.
Heard on Viti FM last night was the continual mention of the lack of fresh legs of the substitutions off the bench which could have added impetus to the team after crucial segments in the second half when Fiji was down 13-25.
“We could have added some fresh players especially in midfield where Lovobalavu and Goneva looked tired out (in the iTaukei language),” a Fijian fan said.
Fiji coach John McKee said the Wallabies deserved a considerable amount of credit for exploiting the opportunities that presented themselves during their World Cup fixture at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday.
McKee felt that his Fiji team made too many errors at critical stages during the match but also thinks the Australians were very professional during those key moments in the game.
“It was a tough night for our team tonight. We came here with high ambitions for this game and felt that if we could be at our very best, we could get a win. All credit to the Wallabies, they played very well,” said McKee after the defeat to Australia.