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Rugby World Cup: Heroes and Zeros

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.


HEROES


Japan

There is no other place we could start then with the brave and courageous Cherry Blossoms as they overcame two-time Rugby World Cup winners South Africa in Brighton on Saturday. Fans around the world are still attempting to get their heads around the fact that Eddie Jones’s men somehow managed to defy the overwhelming favourites in a match that had everything. Their fearlessness to turn down the kick at goal, which would have got them the draw, in pursuit of the victory is well and truly what makes each and every member of this Japanese team heroes.


Mike Brown

England and Fiji slogged out an uninspiring opening match at Twickenham on Friday night, but the man of the match Brown was on hand to save the day for the hosts, scoring two crucial tries. The fullback was the men in whites best-attacking threat all game whilst in defence he was great under the high ball and connected with a vast majority of his tackles.


Vasil Lobzhanidze

The Georgian scrum-half, who would have been six-years-old when England lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 2003, became the youngest player in Rugby World Cup history when he ran out to take the field against Tonga on Saturday. His fearless attitude and calming presence when he had the ball in hand helped Georgia keep their composure to hold on for a historic victory despite a late rally from Tonga.

ZEROS


Richie McCaw

The iconic New Zealand Captain didn’t have the greatest opening weekend, which included being labelled “dumb” by his head coach Steve Hansen for his sin bin during the All Blacks 26-16 win against Argentina at Wembley. McCaw was shown only the third yellow card of his 143-cap career for an entirely unnecessary trip on Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe. Spectators then booed the world’s most-capped player, making it a pretty horrendous day for the Skipper. At least his team got the win, in the end.


South Africa

Although you can’t take anything away from the gutsy Japanese, it’s hard to deny that South Africa were overall pretty woeful. The Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer, has apologised to his country for what he said was an “unacceptable” performance. This defeat follows them finishing bottom of The Rugby Championship last month, meaning they really have now hit rock bottom

TMO

Technology is something that if used correctly in sport can be excellent tool. However, over the opening weekend of The Rugby World Cup the over-zealous use of the television match official has been highly criticised for making matches way to long as well as also taking away an element of excitement from the games. On the opening night in Twickenham, South African Jaco Peyper couldn’t go ten minutes without calling his countryman in the box and the problem continued throughout the weekend.


 

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