Wallaby number 8 Isi Naisarani wins a lineout against the Springboks in Johannesburg. Photo: AFP
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
Filed under Australia, Bledisloe Cup, Fiji Rugby Union, France, French Club, HSBC Sevens World Series, Manu Samoa, New Zealand, PNC, Rio de Janeiro, Rugby World Cup, Samoa, South Africa, Springboks, Super Rugby, Tonga, Top 14, Wallabies
Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley celebrates the successful penalty with skipper Stephen Moore which won the match against the Scots. Photo: World Rugby
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.
Referee Craig Joubert has refereed lots of important Wales Tests in the past. Photo: WalesOnline
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.
Wales coach Warren Gatland watches his team play Fiji last Friday. Photo: WalesOnline
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 Fijian side huddle at the Swansea University grounds for a final tuneup before the match against Wales. Photo: Fiji Rugby
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.
Tuapati Talemaitoga goes in for tackle against Michael Hooper in Fiji’s 13-28 loss to Australia yesterday. Photo: SMH
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.
McKee rues first half mistakes against Australia. Photo: Getty Images
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.
Fiji’s flyhalf Ben Volavola goes in for Fiji’s lone try against the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images
New Flying Fijian flyhalf Ben Volavola came into his own in the 13-28 loss to Australia at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff early this morning.
Volavola’s sliced through the Wallaby defence and powered over from 20 metres out to score under the cross bar in the 60th minute.
The Crusaders bound flyhalf had overcome the jitters of the big stage fumbling his first high ball against England at packed out Twickenham Stadium last Friday night in the opening match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The Wallabies are ready to rumble. Photo: Getty Images
With Australia and Fiji pledging to stick to their traditions of attacking rugby, Cardiff should be in for a cracking Rugby World Cup contest when the Pool A rivals clash at the Millennium Stadium on Thursday morning.
The Wallabies, winners of both previous World Cups played in Britain, finally get their campaign under way six days into the tournament and will be strong favourites to start with a win over the Pacific Islanders.
After Japan’s victory over the Springboks on Saturday, however, no one is taking anything for granted and Fiji showed enough in its defeat against England to suggest that it is capable of an upset if everything comes together.