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Rugby World Cup 2011 : First Impressions 7 views 2 Comments
13 September 2011 by The Swede Eaters
 
Connected with: Wiki Player Francois Hougaard, James Hook, Chris Paterson

The opening weekend of the Rugby World Cup has come and gone. Scotty Donaldson gives us his observations and highlights.

Most teams have played matches as part of the opening weekend of Rugby World Cup 2011.  Plenty of questions have been raised, while there are even more to be answered in future matches.  Here is a summary of my findings.


1)  The minnows are punching above their weight so far with no teams conceding 50 points yet.  While there were no actual upsets, the margins of victory were a lot lower than you would usually expect in most of these encounters.  This goes against the usual hidings which usually occur in Rugby World Cup pool play.  Why is this?  I think there are more players from these smaller teams playing professionally these days and I also think the adrenaline of the first match on the big stage gave these teams a boost.  I think there will be some hidings dished out in the later stages of pool play once the big teams start building on their performances and the minnows start running out of depth.


2)  England and South Africa only just won their matches with patchy performances against the usual middle type teams like Wales and Argentina.  Both England and South Africa don't usually thrash teams by scoring stunning tries.  They usually rely on strangling their opposition with great defence.  You can't read anything into their narrow wins.  They still got the points and have a habit of playing a brand of rugby that is successful at Rugby World Cups.


3)  The draw is funny with some teams playing two games before others have played one match.  Russia, Georgia, Samoa and Canada start their campaigns quite late, but with five teams in each pool you have to expect that.  It makes it difficult to predict.


4)  That kick from James Hook.  I was at the game and the kick actually crossed the plane of the crossbar while over the top of the upright post.  Hook kicked this too well as if the posts were higher it would have hit them and could have potentially gone over.  The other problem was the swirling wind which helped the ball swing toward the right hand upright and then drift back to the left causing the illusion that it had gone over.  The crazy thing is that this have given New Zealanders another reason to hate referee Wayne Barnes, even though the touch judges were supposedly the ones in question.

6)  Although the England and Argentina teams produced some rather uninspiring rugby in the flash new indoor stadium, at least this Argentinian streaker didn't have to worry so much about the cold weather.  It is a great leveller though.  You don't see enough streakers at rugby these days.

7)  Was this worst kick you have seen at international level?  Scotland's Chris Paterson kicked this at my home ground in Invercargill.  It summed up the flat Scotland effort against Romania.

8)  It seems that all of the good players especially halfbacks run at the referee these days.  It helps the player look better than he is.  Will Genia did it in the Tri Nations.
Francois Hougaard scored an important try against Wales using Wayne Barnes.

9)  The fans from throughout the world who are coming to New Zealand are bringing good natured fun to the country.  Rugby fans tend to be better behaved than the football hooligans, so they are more civilised.  They bring a sense of patriotism that New Zealanders aren't used to.  While the costumes aren't quite as full on as the Wellington Sevens or the chanting isn't as loud and ordered like the football chants, it is great for New Zealand to experience such an influx.  It also makes us show our patriotism to our own country.  It also provides a challenge for us to dress up and support a team if the All Blacks aren't playing.  Most overseas fans are more your middle aged, middle class fans.


10)  This tournament has put the topic of rugby onto everyone's lips.  It has been refreshing to be able to chew the fat about our national game again for the first time years.  Rugby has taken a back step to talking about feelings, poetry and skinny white mocha-chinos in recent years, especially in Wellington.  Not only has this tournament in one weekend brought a passion for the country, but also the game.  Rugby needs to make the most of this influx of interest.


What have been your impressions of the Rugby World Cup 2011 after one weekend?

rugbyworldcuptips.com

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comment Comments (2)
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2 . Farmers Anonymous 14 Sep 2011 05:47 AM
A little unfair on Chris Paterson don't ya think? The ball fell off the tee just before he kicked it. FYI he has one of the highest kicking percentages in world rugby.

1 . Moonblade56 13 Sep 2011 08:37 PM
I have to say I completely disagree with your comments about Wales being a "middle class" rugby team. They regularly pull their weight in the six nations and are every bit as capable as England. Whats more they played a much better game than England losing out only due to a bad call on the kick.

Scotlands game was far more inspiring and fun to watch than Englands. The style of rugby they play is successful but highly boring. I would also like to point out that right now Scotland are the top of the table... Results speak louder than words and if England continue their preformance against Argentina across the board then they could be in trouble.

Overall I'm enjoying the Rugby world cup and the preformance of the smaller teams coupled with lack lustre preformance from teams like S.Africa and England matched by teams like Wales playing fantastically means the Rugby world cup could be highly entertaining and very surprising.

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