Tonga’s hopes of moving to the knock out stage of the competition was snuffed out by Argentina. Photo: Planet Rugby
All three Pacific island teams look set to make an early exit from the 2015 Rugby World Cup after mediocre performances for the first three weeks of the competition.
Fiji after being crowned the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup champions in August lost all of their first three matches against England, Australia and Wales before winning their last match against Uruguay.
Japan celebrate their 26-5 win after the game against Samoa. Photo: Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic
A record 25 million people in Japan watched their national team beat Samoa in the World Cup amidst mounting rugby fever, the global governing body says.
Twenty per cent of the entire Japanese population tuned in to Saturday’s match which the Brave Blossoms won 26-5 to record their second victory at the tournament, World Rugby said on Monday.
Tonga’s early loss to Georgia set the tone for a disappointing opening phase to the Rugby World Cup by Pacific Islands teams.
The biggest disappointment from the opening phases of the Rugby World Cup has been the lack of impact from the Pacific Island teams.
A relieved Tonga are crowing about seeing off Namibia 35-21 in the latest island effort.
That’s mainly because it is an improvement on their first-round loss to Georgia.
Census Johnston gets call up to play for Samoa in RWC. Photo: Getty Images
Census Johnston has been called up to Samoa’s World Cup squad after Leicester’s Logovi’i Mulipola was forced to pull out through injury.
The 34-year-old signed a contract extension at Toulouse before calling time on his international career in April, with reports suggesting he came to the decision in a bid to safeguard his future at the French club.
However, he then changed his mind to play in the historic Test against New Zealand on July 8, when the All Blacks made their first appearance in Samoa.
Part one of a series by Daniel Schofield of The Telegraph puts rugby under the microscope before the World Cup focuses on a shameful and harrowing tale of exploitation
France’s winger Noa Nakaitaci scores a try during the rugby union test match between France and Scotland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis last month. Photo: AFP
Fiji, who take on England in the opening World Cup match on Sept 18, have a long and proud tradition of producing the fastest fliers on the planet. Indeed, they are fast becoming a must-have accessory for every nation.
Other than Fiji, New Zealand (Waisake Naholo), Australia (Henry Speight) and France (Noa Nakaitaci) will field wings born on the Pacific Island in the World Cup. England might call up Semesa Rokoduguni if injury strikes, while Scotland tried to recruit Taqele Naiyaravoro for the next tournament, but lost out to Australia.
Samoa doing the siva tau in an international against Fiji. Photo: Zoomfiji
All three Pacific island teams have been world beaters in their own right in the past seven competitions but will the islanders break new ground in meeting up in the knock out stages in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Fiji will have to win Pool A to meet Samoa, as the second team from Pool B if they are to cross swords or vice versa, Samoa topping Pool B and Fiji making the second team from Pool A to advance to the quarterfinals.
Legend: Brian Lima in action for Samoa in Melbourne during the 2003 World Cup. Photo: Craig Golding, SMH
Almost a quarter of a century ago, in the pool rounds of the 1991 rugby World Cup, Western Samoa pulled off one of rugby’s biggest upsets when they beat the once-mighty Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.
It was a result that shook rugby’s established world order to the core, offering a first-hand look at the awesome, largely untapped potential of the Pacific Islanders as well as the decline of Wales, one of the sport’s traditional powers.