Heroes and Zeros: Biggar saves the day while icon de Villiers retires
Each week, RUCK analyzes how the stars of Rugby Union have performed over the last seven days identifying who have been the fearless heroes and the ill-fated zeros.
The number 10s heroics guided Wales to a famous narrow win against their greatest rivals England at Twickenham. With eight goals from eight, his points haul was crucial, but his overall performance was nothing short of brilliant – when the chips were down for the visitors, he stood up and guided his battered and bruised teammates over the line. The undoubted Man of the Match.
Jean de Villiers
South Africa Captain and icon Jean de Villiers has retired from international rugby after being ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a fractured jaw. Although this is a negative he remains a hero due to how long he has played at the very top level. The 34-year-old centre amassed well over 100 caps for the Springboks, which includes hoisting the Webb Ellis Cup in 2007’s triumph.
The Springboks went back to what they know best as they overcame Samoa, which is being South African and believing in the value of relentless physicality. Now, with their fans back on side, they will be hoping to top their Pool and advance to the quarter-finals in good spirits.
If Wales’s Biggar was the hero England Captain Robshaw probably played the role of the villain on Saturday night. The flanker put in his usual mammoth effort in defence but has faced some serious questions regarding his decision making as captain. With Farrell kicking well, the decision to run rather than snatch a draw proved to be gut-wrenchingly costly.
Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist has been left “devastated” after being ruled out of the rest of the Dark Blues’ World Cup campaign through injury. The 25-year-old was withdrawn in the first half of Scotland’s win over the USA on Sunday but had the crushing news broke to him on Monday that his tournament was over. Meanwhile, Vern Cotter is also sweating on the health of fly-half Finn Russell, who picked up an ankle injury.
It’s been universally accepted that the England head coach got his team selection spot on; however, the alterations he made throughout the game were highly questionable. He gambled with more firepower and it unbalanced England, with the men in white losing momentum before they eventually lost the match. As a result he will have seven days of hell from the media before his side take on Australia, who they must overcome to avoid becoming the first host nation of a Rugby World Cup not to escape the Pool stage.