Braves Blossoms lost their steam in their quarterfinals against South Africa. Photo: NikkeiAsia
In spite of the last minute effort by the Welsh to comeback and snatch a win from France; the Red Dragons look the better contender to advance to the finals against England in a fortnight.
Watching the game on television last night, the French had done enough to win the match but didn’t have the killer punch to amass enough points to keep the margin clear from the grasp of the Six Nations champion, Wales.
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.
Chris Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster face the media after the clash against Australia at Twickenham. Photo: Planet Rugby
Stuart Lancaster faces an anxious wait after England’s catastrophic failure in their own Rugby World Cup. Watching England be completely outclassed by Australia means intense pain now but also major concerns looking forward.
Lancaster’s good-guy persona has won him time and faith during previous lows but this is on another scale – the nightmare everyone in England has feared since December 2012 when the draw for the pools was made.
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.
Wales fans celebrate after their win at Twickenham. Photo: WalesOnline
A bitter English supporter has demanded England stop paying for the tournament after losing to Wales
Who knew Wales’ victory over England was linked to the UK’s continued membership of the EU?
In Wales we haven’t stopped celebrating since Saturday’s inspirational victory but over the border some English fans are a little miffed.
Prop Samson Lee speaks to the media. Photo: WalesOnline
Welsh prop Samson Lee has vowed Wales will fix their ailing scrum for Friday morning’s vital Rugby World Cup clash with Fiji after it was put through the mincer by England.
The prop forward came off the bench during the second half of the gutsy backs-to-the-wall 28-25 victory at Twickenham in Pool A.
But he admitted Warren Gatland’s team have to improve their scrummaging if they are to increase their chances of reaching the knock-out stage.
Nick Easter called up to replace Billy Vunipola for England in the Rugby World Cup. Photo: World Rugby
Number eight was on his way to train at Harlequins when he heard he was back on World Cup duty as replacement for injured Billy Vunipola
LONDON – Veteran England forward Nick Easter answered crucial calls from his dog, his professional conscience and his stomach before concentrating on the key one from his country on Monday.
The 37-year-old Easter revealed that he was told about his urgent call-up to the England squad by his Harlequins coach Conor O’Shea when he was driving to club training on Monday morning.
Easter was advised to do a U-turn and head home because England coach Stuart Lancaster would need him to replace the injured number eight Billy Vunipola, who has been ruled out of Rugby World Cup 2015 with a knee injury. But Easter had a few things to do first.
Gatland says the pressure will be on England if Wales beat Fiji. Photo: Getty Images
Wales face the Pacific Islanders on Thursday after their bruising 28-25 win over the hosts at Twickenham.
England then face Australia two days later.
“If we beat Fiji we’ll put quite a bit of pressure on England I suppose because they’ll have to beat Australia,” said Gatland, who has three fresh injury worries.
Wallaby Israel Folau (left) negates Fiji’s Metuisela Talebula (centre) and Asaeli Tikjoirotuma’s attempt to collect a high kick for a try. Photo: SMH
England’s loss to Wales 25-28 has literally consigned Fiji’s chances of reaching the quarterfinals to the ash-heap putting the Red Dragons on nine points leading in the Pool A points table equaling the Wallabies.
The English have moved down to third position with six points after gaining a point from the loss but with two matches on hand with the one against Uruguay easy pickings for a bonus point win will put them in good stead for a place in the last eight.
Sam Burgess attacks against Fiji defence in Vereniki Goneva (left) and Peceli Yato in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup. Photo: Wiltshire Times
Sam Burgess will make his first World Cup start as England go for power in their crucial Pool A clash with Wales at Twickenham.
The rugby league convert replaces the injured Jonathan Joseph in midfield, with Brad Barritt shifting to outside centre to accommodate him.