New Zealand 83 Japan 7
The first major blowout of the tournament. The problem with All Black games in recent tournaments is that during the Group Stage, opponents have completely given up before the opening whistle and stopped even the pretense of having a competitive game. My brother-in-law recalled paying a hefty sum to watch the All Blacks play Scotland in the last World Cup, only for Scotland to field what could generously be called a ‘C’ team for the game. And they are supposed to be one of the more competitive rugby playing nations. Japan rested ten players from the squad that impressed against France and it showed. The end result was a complete thrashing. Yawn.
Australia 6 Ireland 15
The first major upset of the tournament saw Ireland unexpectedly beat the Wallabies. After turning around their performance in the second Tri Nations game against the All Blacks, the Wallabies reverted to their bad old ways in this game. A distinct lack of aggression in defense let the Irish have the lion’s share of possession and a lack of continuity in the Wallabies forward pack allowed the Irish backline to move quickly to shut down Genia and Cooper. A major criticism could be levelled at Robbie Deans who didn’t utilize his bench until far too late in the game. The end result is that Ireland are now likely to finish top of Group C, meaning that the Wallabies are likely to face South Africa in the quarter final with the winner advancing to play against the All Blacks. England will be loving it. Their Road To The Finals looks a lot clearer now.
Lack of Recovery Time Between Games Is Like The Holocaust. What?
Samoan centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu had some words to say about his side having less preperation time between games than their opponents Wales. Specifically that it is like the systematic annihilation of four million Jews. On Twitter he posted:
Wales get 7 days, we get 3. Unfair treatment, like slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid. F*** U.
A fair point marred by an unfortunate choice of words.