England skipper Chris Robshaw faces Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa in the RWC opening match at Twickenham. Photo: The Guardian
England’s pack under scrutiny at Rugby World Cup after scrum was pushed off own ball by supposedly inferior Fiji forwards
A game in and already England have a rallying point to crowd round. How they react will go some way to defining their progress or otherwise from Pool A. It happened just shy of the half-hour mark in Friday’s win over Fiji. Such is the incident’s notoriety that there should not be need for too much introduction. Nevertheless, let’s set the scene.
England have just been torn apart by some typically Fijian brilliance by Nikola Matawalu, who failed to score a solo try only because he dropped the ball in stretching for the line. Relief surged round Twickenham. England were awarded a five-metre scrum. They had survived the demonstration of what Fiji do; now they could resort to what they do.
Filed under England, Fiji
Japanese fans celebrate a famous win over South Africa. Photo: EPA
The rugby world has reacted with praise and astonishment after Japan pulled off the biggest upset in the sport’s history with a last-gasp victory over South Africa in their opening game of the World Cup.
As Japanese sports fans digested the enormity of their compatriots’ feat in Brighton in the small hours of Sunday morning, rugby stars past and present took to social media to applaud the tactical brilliance of the Brave Blossoms and their Australian coach, Eddie Jones.
Michael Cheika, Australia’s coach, fields the questions at the MacDonald Bath Spa hotel on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Michael Cheika believes that all five teams in Pool A will be feeling concerned about their World Cup prospects but welcomes the challenge
Australia does not sack its rugby coaches with quite the regularity it dumps prime ministers. However, if Michael Cheika is to keep the Wallabies job longer than Tony Abbott ran the country then results at the World Cup clearly have to go his way, no easy matter considering the opposition – three sides in the world’s top 10 – coming his way.
First up Fiji, the new Pacific champions and ranked ninth in the world, followed by Uruguay, pool outsiders but still inside World Rugby’s top 20, England, the home nation ranked fourth, and then Wales, one further off in fifth spot.
Fiji are in form, possess a modern-day Jonah Lomu in Nemani Nadolo and will worry Australia, Wales and England, but getting out of the group will be tough
Fijian wing Nemani Nadolo plays wing against Canada at the Stoop on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images
Fri 18 Sep England v Fiji, Twickenham, 8pm
Wed 23 Sept Australia v Fiji, Millennium Stadium, 4.45pm
Thur 1 Oct Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium, 4.45pm
Tue 6 Oct Fiji v Uruguay, Stadium MK, 8pm
Odds to win World Cup Continue reading
Coach Pete Carroll of Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks. Photo: NBC
If it is “common knowledge” that rugby is the father of American football, as some claim, in the US the game can nonetheless seem more like an eager but overlooked child, jumping up and down at the back of the schoolroom, eager for rare and fleeting recognition. This week, however, rugby received a tribute straight from the top of the class.
The head coach of the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll, narrates a training video in which he explains his team’s approach to tackling and its relevance to concerns about safety in football: