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.