When Rugby shapes our behaviours
"A spectacular Rugby World Cup"
A spectacular Rugby World Cup has just come to a close. These last few weeks it has been difficult to miss, especially in the UK but it was also a huge success all around the world! More than 4 billion television viewers worldwide and fans from more than 100 countries came to support their favorite team. It was an incredibly well organized event and London had it all: a fun and safe atmosphere, great marketing campaigns and smooth logistics. The World Cup saw some surprising twists and turns, the victory of Japan over South Africa will remain a striking event. A Southern Hemisphere final between Australia and New Zealand rounded out the Cup with a spectacular final and the incredible All Blacks became three-time world champions, the only team to achieve this feat. As CEO I had the opportunity and the pleasure to represent Societe Generale firsthand at some of the games. I took it all in, the exciting pre-match build up in the air, the incredible energy from the fans, the hush of the crowd before the play on the field and the rise of the cheers. Everything is great, and two words sum it up: team spirit. Just listen when the players discuss the games or the incredible silence when a player kicks the ball; and the greetings at the end of the game when rival players and fans give each other a knowing look, a pat on the shoulder and wish each other the best. What could be a stronger symbol than when the losing team gives a guard of honour to the winning team, which then returns the gesture?
"It is the culture of rugby that makes it all possible"
Where else would you see such an attitude? It is the culture of rugby that makes it all possible. A culture of respect and solidarity that each player learns along with the game. Somehow these sportsmanship codes are as important off the field as they are on the field. And if the players don't comply, they are not part of the team. I praise the rugby world for doing such a great job in sustaining this culture and I cannot resist comparing the importance of this positive behaviour and spirit to our business life. Societe Generale is proud of its ties with rugby and of its sponsorship commitments in this World Cup as the sole financial partner, building on an already special partnership that goes back almost 30 years. Rugby has brought us together around a strong set of values embodied by the game, which are also at the heart of our approach, at all levels of the company.
"Nothing is as strong as Team Spirit"
'Nothing is as strong as Team Spirit' is our motto and it gets even better when it is Jonny Wilkinson, the legendary rugby player and ambassador of our brand, that says it. I couldn't agree more. But it takes more than words to make it a reality in a day-to-day business environment. It takes role models and exemplary behaviours, it takes real understanding that success is collective and not individual and it takes leverage to make sure that every part of your company is aligned to the vision: from evaluation to rewards and, if necessary, sanctions. This overall positive attitude is portrayed by players on the field, as Jonny Wilkinson was quoted saying: "The best way to reach your objective in rugby is to help the others reach theirs. I play with the fear of letting people down. That's what motivates me". Finally, in rugby as in the business world, in the end it all comes back to leadership and the importance of guiding teams in the right direction, to a culture inspired by team spirit, engagement and the priority that we give to our clients.
Frédéric Oudéa, Chief Executive Officer of Societe Generale
The 'best of' video by Societe Generale's special insider
The organisation of the RWC 2015 was a complete success
All Blacks retain their title of world champions
New Zealand retained their title of world champions by beating Australia in a breathless final (34-17). This is the third success for the All Blacks who are the first team to successfully defend their title. And no-one could argue with the fact that the best team since the start of the competition deserved to come out on top.
The ferocious Kiwis had Australia in trouble from the outset with Dan Carter eventually opening the scoring with a penalty (3-0, 8th min). Although on the back foot in the early stages, the Australians managed to draw level after a quarter of an hour thanks to the trusty boot of Bernard Fowley (3-3, 14th min). But after 39 minutes of fierce combat, Australia paid the price for some rare missed tackles as Nehe Milner-Skudder crossed in the corner, after collecting a pass from Richie McCaw (16-3, 39th min). The Kiwis ran off at half-time thirteen points ahead.
Still reeling from this try after the break, the Wallabies let in a second try after good work by the substitute Sonny Bill Williams which allowed his fellow centre Ma'a Nonu to race through the defensive wall and give the world champions a comfortable cushion (21-3, 44th min).
The yellow card picked up by the New Zealand back Ben Smith (52nd min), for a lifting tackle five metres from the try line, restored some suspense as the Australians rapidly scored a try through David Pocock, one of the best defenders of this Rugby World Cup (21-10, 54th min). Tevita Kudriani found another gap in the defence to power through for the second Australian try (21-17, 65th min).
The last quarter of an hour increased in intensity. But while Australia began to dream of the title after being dominated for nearly an hour, Dan Carter took matters in hand by slotting a 40-metre drop-goal from a standing start in front of the posts (24-17, 70th min). A classy gesture from the world's best player in 2005 and 2012 who would then further punish the winners of the Rugby Championship with a final penalty late in the game (27-17, 75th min).
To cap an inevitable success, Beauden Barrett scored a try in the final minute to offer the All Blacks a third World Cup crown. Dan Carter kicked the conversion and was deservedly named man of the match with 19 points to his credit (34-17, 80th min). Richie McCaw and Dan Carter cemented their places in the world rugby hall of fame. But it is this entire generation of New Zealanders which has entered the record books and which will be looking to make it three straight World Cup crowns four years from now in Japan.
Sonny Bill Williams offers his World Champion medal to a supporter
A dream final between Australia and New Zealand
It is hard to image a more mouth-watering final for the Rugby World Cup than this clash between the reigning champions, New Zealand, and the last winners of the Rugby Championship, Australia. The stage is set for a titanic battle between these two southern hemisphere giants on Saturday 31 October at Twickenham, where the winners will be the first triple world champions in history.
Impressive throughout the tournament and winners of the "group of death" ahead of Wales and England, the Australians were given a real scare in the quarter-finals by the lively Scots. After qualifying by the narrowest of margins thanks to a penalty kicked by Bernard Fowley in the last minute (35-34), Michael Cheika's men rediscovered their cast-iron defence in the semi-final against Argentina, as earlier against Wales, not to mention the kind of attacking verve which helped knock out the English.
For their part, the All Blacks seem unstoppable as they advance down the road to retaining their title. Led by the momentous Julian Savea, already scorer of eight tries in this tournament, it is hard to find flaws in their game and the Kiwis have looked to be a notch above their opponents throughout the competition. Although Argentina gave the world champions a run for their money for an hour in the group stage and the Springboks only went down after a fierce battle, an All Blacks victory has seemed inevitable every time.
Historically, matches between Australia and New Zealand have often turned in the Kiwis' favour. Only the world champion Australian teams (1991 and 1999) have managed to consistently defeat their neighbours at the beginning and end of the 1990s. This time, the Wallabies will be counting on Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper, 25 Rugby World Cup tries between them, to counter Julian Savea, in particular. The Kiwi wing may have only racked up eight world cup tries...but they have all come in this year's tournament!
The All Blacks have only lost once during the last twelve clashes between the two teams! But it has been all square in the last two Rugby Championships (one win, one draw and one defeat each). Australia will be aiming to bar the way to an historic retention of the world champion title for the team sporting the silver fern.
The definition of Team Spirit by the volunteers
The fans arrive from all over the world
Ali Williams's favourite memory of RWC 2015
The World Rugby Museum in Twickenham
Australia easily outscores Argentina to join All Blacks in final
Determined and ready to seize every chance, Australia easily disposed of an Argentinean team (29-15) which made too many errors to go further in this competition. The Wallabies have now earned the honour of facing New Zealand in the final next Saturday.
The scenario for this second semi-final was rapidly sketched out. Although South Africa were able to keep the Kiwi favourites doubting right to the final whistle in the first semi-final on Saturday (defeat by 18-20), the Pumas soon realised that they would have trouble beating the odds on Sunday at Twickenham. With barely a minute on the clock, the second row Rob Simmons put the Wallabies on track for a win by intercepting a Nicolas Sanchez pass and grounding the ball between the posts. This first try was converted by Bernard Foley, although the Australian kicker would make some wayward attempts later in the game (7-0, 3rd min).
Far from being traumatised by this disastrous start to the match, the men coached by Daniel Hourcade tried to hit back in their usual free-flowing style. But faced with a determined and ruthless Australian team, the Pumas were caught in their own trap. Like the unfortunate Santiago Cordero, who knocked on a quick tap inside his own 22-metres. After a perfectly controlled scrum, Bernard Foley threw a superb long pass to the Wallabies wing Adam Ashley Cooper who crossed in the corner (14-3, 11th min).
Ten points down after ten minutes, the Pumas then suffered several setbacks with injuries to Juan Imhoff (18th min) and Agustin Creevy (31st min) as well as a harsh yellow card for the second row Tomàs Lavanini (26th min). A boon for the Australians, who immediately took advantage of the extra man to extend their lead through another try by Adam Ashley-Cooper, skilfully set up by a looping pass from Matt Giteau (19-6, 34th min).
After the break, the Wallabies' indiscipline combined with some accurate kicking by the fly-half Nicolas Sanchez (slotting all five of his penalty attempts) got the Pumas back to within a converted try (15-22, 45th min). But the impressive Australians stood strong against the Argentinean onslaught, largely thanks to some impressive rucking. The coup de grace came ten minutes from the whistle when Drew Mitchell skipped through the Argentine defence with remarkable ease to set up Adam Ashley-Cooper in the corner for his third try of the game (29 -15, 72nd min). Better able to take their chances and savvier than the Argentineans who were unable to score when on top, the Australians deservedly earned the right to play in a historic final against the All Blacks next Saturday. And with one aim in mind: to become world champions for the third time in their history after the successes in 1991 and 1999.
New Zealand overcomes dogged South Africans to reach final
As anticipated, the first semi-final of this English World Cup at Twickenham turned out to be a fiercely contested affair on Saturday 24 October. And in the end it was the All Blacks who ran out winners against the Boks 20-18 in an enthralling encounter. Scoring two tries to none, true to their reputation New Zealand tried to run with the ball while South Africa sat back and waited to pounce on any chances which came their way while playing high-impact, percentage rugby.
Despite the downpour, the crowd at Twickenham were able to revel in a contrast in styles. And both teams in this semi-final were up for the fight right from the start. After Pollard put the first points on the board with a penalty for South Africa, the All Blacks quickly grabbed a slice of the action by scoring the first try of a match which would turn into a frenetic battle on the gain line. Following a New Zealand lineout, Richie McCaw lobbed a pass to Jerome Kaino on the blind side allowing the back row to race across the line. But this sparkling start from Steve Hansen's men failed to pave the way for total dominance. With their rigorous rugby focused on battling forwards, the Boks calmly picked up the penalties they were looking for and after 3 successful kicks from Pollard they ran off at half-time leading 12-7.
In the second half, New Zealand picked up the pace to create dangerous attacking situations. Playing to his trademark high standard, Carter firstly slotted a magnificent drop goal to punish his opponents who were a man down. Then once both teams were at full strength, Carter began to run the game with total mastery and after a turn of speed down the left by Nonu to draw the Boks defence, Beauden Barrett crossed in the corner. The All Blacks now had their noses in front and were set to stay there. Although South Africa threw everything at them and got to within two points through penalties by Handré Pollard, the match turned on the loss of two lineouts in the last ten minutes which could have set up match-winning chances. The favourites New Zealand have now qualified for the final of the World Cup and will run out onto this same pitch next Saturday in a bid to be the first nation to retain its title of world champion.
Southern hemisphere makes clean sweep of last four
The four semi-finalists of the Rugby World Cup are all from the southern hemisphere for the first time in the history of the competition. This represents an extraordinary achievement by the Rugby Championship nations given that the tournament is being held in Europe.
For the first time since the creation of the Rugby World Cup in 1987, there will be four teams from the southern hemisphere in the semi-finals and not a single European representative to challenge their supremacy. Australia and New Zealand were impressive in the group stage and remain the only two unbeaten teams in the tournament.
During the previous seven editions, parity has been respected six times between Europe and the south. In 1999, only France made it to the semi-finals alongside the three former Tri-Nations giants. The arrival of Argentina at the top of the world rankings since their first quarter-final in 1999 has only bolstered the supremacy of the southern hemisphere so allowing it to achieve this clean sweep in 2015.
The final at Twickenham on Saturday 31 October will therefore inevitably be an exclusively southern hemisphere affair. And it will also be unique no matter what happens! South Africa won the only final between two southern-hemisphere teams in 1995 at home against the All Blacks. Only one of these two double world champions will make it to the final since they clash in the semis this time.
The Rugby Championship was shortened with only three matches per team (instead of six) to facilitate preparations for the Rugby World Cup. However, the Six Nations tournament was left unchanged at five matches per team. While it is true that this curtailed schedule for the Rugby Championship is not the fairest, it did mean fewer matches for international players at a time when fixture lists are increasingly overcrowded. The national teams are clearly favoured in the south while the clubs remain the main employers of players in Europe.
In their semi-finals only lost in the dying minutes, Wales and Scotland showed that it is possible to stand toe to toe with the southern titans. To see if Europe has learned the lesson, we will have to wait until the 2019 Rugby World Cup which will be held on neutral ground ... in Japan!
Even in defeat, nothing is as strong as team spirit
Australia squeezes through to all southern hemisphere semis
On Sunday 18 October Scotland gave everything in this last quarter-final against Australia, but Vern Cotter's men eventually fell short of what would have been an amazing upset, due to a killer penalty by Bernard Fowley in the last minute (35-34). There will be four teams from the southern hemisphere in the semi-finals ... and yet the Rugby World Cup is being held in Europe!
As expected, Australia qualified at Scotland's expense, but it was much tougher than predicted for Michael Cheika's men who were in a real fight right down to the dying seconds. Despite three Australian tries in the first half (against just one from the men coached by Vern Cotter), the Scots took advantage of some stray kicking by Bernard Fowley and the trusty boot of Greig Laidlaw to lead by the tightest of margins at half-time (16-15, 40th min).
The match seemed to be inevitably turning in favour of the double world champions when the referee handed a harsh yellow card to wing Sean Maitland for a knock-on which was judged to be deliberate. A minute later, against the fourteen Scots, Drew Mitchell scored his fourteenth Rugby World Cup try (one short of the record held by Lomu and Habana). But the top scorer in the competition, Greig Laidlaw, kept up his 100% record to close the gap (22-19, 47th min).
Not on one of his best days, the fly-half Bernard Fowley saw his kick intercepted by Russell who raced through before setting up Seymour for a try! The conversion from a tight angle was missed and so Australia had a mere one point lead on the hour (25-24, 59th min). Kuridrani stretched Australia's lead to a handy eight points fifteen minutes from the end. But the Scottish kicker once again brought his team to within less than seven points to put pressure back on the Australians in the last ten minutes (27-32, 69th min).
A typically Scottish shower then passed over Twickenham almost as a sign from above... A minute later, Bennett intercepted a sloppy pass from the substitute prop Slipper to run through to the promised land and equalize. The conversion gave the Scots a two-point lead. The unimaginable Scottish victory now seemed inevitable... But a fumbled ball from the lineout picked up in an offside position by the unfortunate Jon Welsh gave Fowley a chance to kick the penalty which would qualify his team... Although ill at ease from the outset and having to contend with unexpected whistling from the crowd, the Waratahs kicker kept his nerve to slot the ball over from 30 metres out and slightly to the right (35-34, 80th min).
For the first time in the history of the Rugby World Cup, there are four representatives of the Rugby Championship and no European nations in the last four! The affront is all the worse for the Old Continent given that the competition is taking place in Europe!
The unstoppable Argentineans knock out Ireland
The Argentinean Pumas qualified for the second semi-final in their history (after 2007) by defeating Ireland on Sunday 18 October (40-23) in a hard-fought match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In an end-to-end, breathless encounter with four tries to two in favour of the South Americans, the break was made in the last twenty minutes when the Irish were almost back on level terms.
A superb match of rugby took place in Cardiff between two teams which were ready to give their all to reach the semi-finals. Argentina for the second time after their 3rd place in France in 2007 and Ireland for a first time. And the Pumas came out on top thanks to a thunderous start to the game with two converted tries in 10 minutes by Moroni and Imhoff. They lead by 17 points (17-0) after twenty minutes. And then just when the Irish were on the ropes, the yellow card picked up by Herrera gave them fresh impetus. With the extra man, Fitzgerald's try was crucial and the Irish were only 10 points down at the break (20-10).
The Irish got off to a flying start in the second half with Murphy scoring a quick try following a superb break through the defensive wall after a lineout. Now just three points behind (20-17), Ireland were defending better and even had the chance to equalize with a penalty by Madigan, Jonathan Sexton's replacement, in the 53rd minute. But his missed kick would sound the death knell for the men in green. Two new tries for the Pumas by an excellent Tuculet and Imhoff, for his second, rounded off a huge performance by the South Americans.
In Sunday's semi-final, Argentina will meet Australia, the double world champions. The challenge will be daunting for the players coached by Daniel Hourcade but this Argentinean team is full of tricks and impressive in both defence and attack. An upset is possible at Twickenham but whatever happens we are in for a spectacular game of rugby.
Everyone enjoyed the show during the Ireland/Argentina match
The mighty All Blacks outclass France
New Zealand were firm favourites for their quarter-final in Cardiff against the French team and the reigning world champions proved the bookies right by easily qualifying for a semi-final clash with South Africa this coming Saturday. Against Les Bleus, the All Blacks were simply magnificent (62-13), chalking up 9 tries and outscoring their opponents by no fewer than 49 points.
Four years ago in the World Cup final, New Zealand scraped home by a single point against France (9-8). But it was a different ball game four years later with this remarkable lesson in rugby. The French team only resisted for half an hour although there was a flicker of hope after a try by Picamoles. But in the aftermath, Julian Savea, scorer of a powerful hat-trick restored a healthy lead for the Kiwis before the break (29-13). The French, who had lost their fly-half Fred Michalak early in the game, were well and truly under the cosh.
The second half was interminable for the men coached by Philippe Saint-André against the talent and power of Richie McCaw and his teammates who scored five tries in the period including two by substitute Tawera Kerr-Barlow. New Zealand gave a demonstration in all facets of the game, including set plays, especially the scrum, and through the speed and power of their backs. The French defence was helpless in the face of an onslaught built on quick possession and passing. This French team was simply blown away by the talent on show. In the semi-finals, New Zealand will meet South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday 24 October. They will start as favourites against the Springboks.
South Africa in last-gasp wins over Wales
For the first quarter-final of this World Cup, the match between Wales and South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday 17 October lived up to all the hype in terms of sheer intensity and drama. The Springboks emerged as winners in the final minutes of the match (23-19) thanks to a try by the scrum-half and captain Fourie du Preez. Wales had come agonisingly close to reaching a semi-final berth which they would have amply deserved.
In this tense game, it was primarily the goal kickers who stood out with Handre Pollard for the Boks and Dan Biggar for the Welsh both doing the business. Then came a try by Davies after some fantastic skill from Biggar to put the Welsh ahead with the conversion. At the break, Wales were in front by a single point (12-13). There then followed a series of penalties as well as a great drop goal by Pollard that allowed South Africa to stay in the match. And then at a scrum in the 75th minute, the no. 8 Vermeulen made a pass behind his back to send the no. 9 Fourie du Preez over the line for the decisive try. A superb try which opened up the way to the semi-finals.
As often, the Springboks brought all of their power to bear in the closing stages as their forwards wore down their opponents. However, Wales put in a superb showing and can be disappointed by this elimination after emerging from the "group of death" in such style. So South Africa now meet New Zealand in the semi-finals on Saturday 24 October at Twickenham. In three World Cup matches, the Boks have beaten the All Blacks twice.
"Les Bleus" take on the All Blacks in a Rugby World Cup classic
Swept aside by Ireland in the Group D final, the French team will have to conjure up something truly special to overcome the Kiwi world champions in the quarter-final match which kicks off on Saturday 17 October. The All Blacks are unbeaten since the start of the competition and are the team to beat, but France have been able to rise to the challenge in the past and knock New Zealand out of the Rugby World Cup.
A meeting between France and New Zealand is never a trifling affair. Apart from South Africa and Australia, no team has faced (and beaten) the All Blacks as often as France. But it is in the Rugby World Cup that this clash really comes into its own. Les Bleus bring back the fondest memories and the worst nightmares for the All Blacks. To be double world champions, the Kiwis have won their two World Cup finals at home .. against France (1987 and 2011). But in 1999 (semi-final) and 2007 (quarter-final), the French knocked the New Zealanders out, even though they were tournament favourites.
The All Blacks have lost to France every time they have played them in a knock-out match (1999 and 2007). The 1999 semi-final has gone down in the annals of rugby history with 74 points scored and a 43-31 victory for a team which included Fabien Galthié and Christophe Lamaison. The New Zealanders had never conceded so many points in their history!
In 2007, France won in Cardiff (18-20), the very place where the two teams will face each other on Saturday night in an effervescent Millennium Stadium. The spectacular attacking play of 1999 allowing Philippe Bernat Salles to race clear at will had by then given way to a series of hard hits from Thierry Dusautoir which opened up the road to victory. New Zealand took revenge in 2011, easily beating France in the group stage (37-17). But when the decisive games come around, France always manage to put the Kiwis on the back foot. Once again facing France in a final in its den of Eden Park, the All Blacks struggled right down to the last minute, squeaking home 8-7, despite sweeping all before them throughout the tournament.
Once again, France will not be the bookies' favourites against an impressive New Zealand team in Cardiff, but the All Blacks know better than anyone that the French love nothing more than underdog status...
Japan finishes in style and the USA with promise
The Japanese team ended its World Cup with another victory, its third in Pool B, by overcoming the United States (28-18). This third Japanese success means that they are the first nation in Rugby World Cup history to be knocked out at the group stage despite chalking up three wins. The players coached by Eddie Jones have made a lot of friends, earned total respect and become heroes in their home country into the bargain. Although this was another defeat for the American Eagles, they managed to finish on a high by almost snatching the defensive bonus.
In this final group-stage match of the tournament, the Japanese demonstrated their trademark approach based on technical, powerful and intelligent rugby. Effective too, with three great tries by Matsushima, Fujita and Mafi and also unerringly accurate thanks to the trusty boot of the full-back Goromaru, one of the revelations of the tournament. The Japanese were able to hit back every time the American Eagles put points on the board. They will be welcomed home as victors since rugby truly caught the public imagination in Japan during the tournament.
But the Americans were not just making up the numbers in their last match and scored two tries, after the ball was thrown out wide to Ngwenya and Wyles. Mike Tolkin's men also made progress in defence throughout the competition. Although the USA are going home without a point, they can draw comfort from the fact that they are well on the way to closing the gap with the top rugby nations. The Americans will be doing their utmost to qualify for the tournament in Japan in four years' time and show whoever they come up against just how much progress has been made.
France goes down to Ireland and All Blacks now loom for the quarter-finals
On Sunday 11 October the Group D final between France and Ireland logically turned in favour of the winners of the last two RBS Six Nations tournaments, Ireland, which secured victory without ever coming under any real pressure from the French (24- 9). Ireland finished top of their group and will face Argentina in the quarter-finals. France will now have to square up to the World Champions, New Zealand.
This match in Cardiff was played at a breath-taking pace between two teams determined to come out on top and so avoid the All Blacks while also staying on a winning run. In a first half in which the defences held the key, the only points came from penalties and the Irish walked off at the break with a three-point lead (9-6). But, at that stage, Ireland had lost two of their best players, Jonathan Sexton, injured by a hard but fair tackle by Louis Picamoles and their captain Paul O'Connell.
After the turnaround, Ireland still managed to ratchet up the pace and finally ran in the try they were looking for through Kearney. Second best in all aspects of the game and even the scrum where they are normally a force to be reckoned with, the French never managed to find any weaknesses in the Irish game which would allow them to create chances. Although solid and disciplined in defence, Les Bleus coached by Philippe Saint-André barely created a try-scoring opportunity. Ireland scored a second try through Murray in the last 10 minutes to put the seal on a precious victory.
The matches for all of the quarter-finals are now known. Next Saturday at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, France will face New Zealand who beat them in the final four years ago. The records show that the French are always capable of creating an upset against the Kiwis. The Irish side will run out against Argentina on Sunday at the same stadium.
Italy beats Romania and qualifies for the 2019 Rugby World Cup
The Pool D "play-off" between Italy and Romania for third place in the group proved an entertaining match on Sunday 11 October which lived up to its promise. The Italians won 32-22 with the offensive bonus point after an excellent first half. After the break, Romania upped their game but were unable to claw back the difference. The Italians secured the 3rd berth in the group, meaning they have now automatically qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
To wave goodbye to the 2015 World Cup, Italians and Romanians conspired to put on an exciting festival of rugby for the public at Sandy Park in Exeter. Jacques Brunel's team enjoyed a superb first half punctuated by three tries and walked off at the break 19 points ahead. The tries came from the wing Sarto followed by Gori, the scrum-half, and Allan, the fly-half. Everything seemed in order for the Squadra with a nicely balanced tactical approach and clinical backs.
But then Romania, coached by Lynn Howells, fought back after the break. More focused in defence despite a fourth Italian try by Zanni (46th min), the introduction of fresh players like Apostol would make all the difference. The wing scored two superb tries after some effective scrummaging. The other Romanian try was the work of the second row Poparlan. This last stand by the Oaks, which was impressive but too little too late given the first half lead built up by Italy, showed that Romania will have to be reckoned with in future competitions.
For Italy, which end this Rugby World Cup with two wins and two defeats, qualification for the quarter-finals is drawing ever nearer and 2019 could see their long-awaited first appearance in the later stages of the competition.
England goes out on a high while Uruguay will return stronger
Eliminated from the tournament to the astonishment of the rugby world, the England team bowed out of their own World Cup with an easy win against Uruguay (60-3) on Saturday 10 October, making a final last stand in front of their supporters. They offered them a deluge of tries against a plucky Uruguayan team and will now be looking to rebuild with a new generation of players.
Despite a revamped team and their shock elimination, the English were keen to finish this World Cup on a positive note and did all they could to put on an entertaining show in Manchester. Ten tries in all, some free-flowing rugby, no kicking for goal, and all in the face of a valiant South American team. Nick Easter and Jack Nowell both scored hat-tricks while Anthony Watson added two tries in a free-scoring second half which saw no fewer than seven English tries.
For their part, Uruguay resisted well in the first-half before running out of steam after the break. Uruguay had nevertheless opened the scoring in this match thanks to a penalty in the second minute by Berchesi. Despite their best efforts, the South Americans finished the competition without a point in the standings but picked up valuable experience in a tough pool where even the host country was unable to qualify for the first time in rugby history.
England has exited their World Cup and is now gearing up for the Six Nations Tournament where it will be going all out to show that this early elimination was no more than an unfortunate accident.
The Australian defence denies Wales
Australia vs Wales was being billed as a fantastic match of attacking rugby between two teams which love to run with the ball. But although this was a high-tempo, entertaining match on Saturday 11 October, it turned out to be the defence which played the decisive role. And at that particular game, the Wallabies were impressive, winning 15-6 and brilliantly adjusting during a period in the second half when they were two men down. Australia topped its group and will now face Scotland in the quarter-finals while Wales will be squaring up to South Africa.
There were no tries in this game which rapidly settled into a duel between two kickers. A duel which Bernard Foley won against Dan Biggar with five penalties against two. But where Australia really made the difference was in defence. A defence which resisted a second-half onslaught from the Red Devils metres from the line, when the Wallabies were playing at 13 against 15 after overlapping yellow cards for Genia and Mumm. Australian determination made the difference but they were also dominant in the scrum, which had not been the case for years. There is no question that Australia are now considered main contenders for the title.
For their part, Wales were unable to take their chances as they did against England last week, perhaps blunted by the high-level matches they have had to play in this tough Pool A. We now know the teams for two more quarter-final clashes. South Africa will face Wales at Twickenham on Saturday 17 October. The next day, Australia and Scotland will meet in the same stadium for a place in the semi-finals.
Scotland goes through after some rugby fireworks!
The Scots dug deep to confirm their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a hard-fought win on Saturday 11 October against a Samoan team which put in a more than honourable display, scoring four tries and taking the opposition all the way!
Scotland had to beat Samoa in front of a largely partisan crowd in Newcastle to secure a place in the quarter-finals in a Group B which also includes South Africa and Japan. It was mission accomplished for the Scots, but the Samoans' determination very nearly saw them sneak home.
The first try of the match by Tusi Pisi came after just ten minutes, with the former RC Toulon fly-half converting his own try (10-3, 10th min). But the Pacific Warriors were caught out by their high-risk rugby when Seymour was gifted a try as they tried to run inside their own 22 metres (10-10, 12th min).
The Samoans went back on the charge with two more tries to move ahead in an incredible start to the match (20-13, 21st min). The Scots lost patience and began to commit errors with Ryan Wilson picking up a yellow card (27th min). But despite being a man down, Vern Cotter's team scored a classic forwards try as Hardie crossed the line (23-23, 31st min). Samoa then kicked a penalty to move back in front at the end of an extraordinary first half (26-23)!
The second half was less flamboyant as the tension rose. After five tries in thirty-one minutes, it was only at the end of the match that Scotland pulled away when Greig Laidlaw crossed the line (36-26, 74th min).
But this match would then achieve legendary status at the 2015 Rugby World Cup since Stephen Betham's men were still up for the fight and got back to within three points just two minutes from the whistle thanks to a converted try by Matu'u (33-36 , 78th min!). Scotland had to fight until the closing seconds with Laidlaw kicking into touch at the end of regulation time to clinch victory.
Scotland finished second in Group B and will face Australia in the quarter-finals. Although Samoa ended on a high they only managed fourth place in the Group behind Japan.
Proud to host the Rugby World Cup
The people of Cardiff speak about the atmosphere in their city at the time of Rugby World Cup 2015.
Even without England team spirit remains
Now that the home team is out of the competition, does that make a difference on the global atmosphere of Rugby World Cup 2015? Not in the hearts of the volunteers!
Georgia squeezes past Namibia
The match between Georgia and Namibia on Wednesday 7 October went down to the wire at Sandy Park in Exeter. After a tight first-half (6-0 for Namibia), Georgia rediscovered their attacking prowess to snatch the win with two tries. Namibia's plucky defence finally cracked after the break as the Africans let a first ever victory in the Rugby World Cup slip from their grasp.
With two wins in four matches, the team led by Mamuka Gorgodze took a big step towards a third-place finish and automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. But before victory opened up, Georgia had to fight to the end against a valiant Namibia which even led at the break thanks to two penalties by Theuns Kotze. Courageous in defence but constantly on the back foot, Namibia stayed in the game thanks to handling errors by the Georgians with the line at their mercy.
The Georgian fight-back in the second half came just five minutes after the restart, with the emblematic captain of the Lelos, Mamuka Gorgodze outmuscling three defenders to stretch over the line and score. The yellow card against the Namibian Bothma for a high tackle then gave the Georgians a boost and the fly-half Malaguradze ran in another try shortly afterwards. Theuns Kotze's converted try in the last ten minutes gave the Namibians renewed hope but it was all too little too late. The African team have never come so close to such an historic victory.
Georgia must now wait for Tonga's match against New Zealand to learn their fate. Only a Tongan win against the best team in the world would deprive them of third place and qualification for Japan in four years' time. Namibia now have to recover quickly to end their promising World Cup with a flourish against Argentina on Sunday.
The atmosphere during the Rugby World Cup
During the Rugby World Cup the atmosphere has been absolutely fantastic between the volunteers and the many supporters.
Behind the scenes of Rugby World Cup 2015
More than six thousand volunteers are working each day to the success of Rugby World Cup 2015! Our correspondent in London met two of them who tell you about their work within the service of accreditations.
The Societe Generale volunteers enjoyed the match between South Africa and USA
South Africa goes through as Habana makes history
The defeat to Japan now seems like a distant memory. As if nothing had ever happened, the Springboks secured first place in Pool B by beating the USA with the offensive bonus point (64-0) on Wednesday 7 October in London thanks to an explosive second half which saw them score 8 tries. The Eagles failed to score a single point in this match and ran out of steam after the turnaround. Yet the USA will no doubt leave its mark on world rugby in the years ahead.
The match was a real battle in the first half, but all within the spirit of the game. Although both teams endeavoured to play open rugby, the South Africans soon took the upper hand. The Boks forwards made all the difference in the set plays and especially the scrum which allowed Heyneke Meyer's men to pull away at half-time thanks to a penalty try (14-0).
And that was when the Bryan Habana and South Africa show could really begin. With a second-string outfit which soon tired, the USA could not compete physically in the second half and spent 40 minutes on the rack. Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick after the break, running in his 13th, 14th and 15th tries to match the record held by Jonah Lomu, the legendary New Zealand winger. Although his teammates tried to set him up for his 16th try, others in the team managed to shine, like Francois Louw, who went over the line twice supported by the forwards. And while the Eagles went through multiple phases in a bid to get points on the board in the dying minutes, a length-of-the-pitch counter attack saw Lwazi cross the line to score his side's 10th try.
With a first-choice team against Japan, the Americans will be better placed to finish this World Cup on a high. With top spot in the group now in the bag, the South Africans have 10 days to rest and prepare for their quarter-final against Wales or Australia. A new tournament is about to begin.
A few supporters of the Springboks had the opportunity to attend a training session of their team at the Olympic Stadium in London.
Romania overcomes Canada
In a thrilling encounter on Tuesday 6 October, Romania beat Canada at the death (17-15) thanks to an impressive last ten minutes of a match which the Canucks had earlier dominated. The Oaks came back from 15-0 down to achieve their first win in the competition and the best fight-back in World Cup history. The Canadians can console themselves with another defensive bonus point but are now going home without a win (2 points).
And yet it had all started so well for the North Americans who carved out a 15-0 lead just after the break through a converted try by winger Jeff Hassler (45th min), following an earlier score by his fellow winger in the first half, DTH van der Merwe. The Canucks once again played some solid rugby, after coming close to beating Italy (18-23) in their second match in Pool D which was illuminated by some slick attacking rugby with ball in hand. But once again the closing stages were hard going and Jebb Sinclair's yellow card for bringing down a rolling maul in the 72th minute would prove fatal to his team.
The Romanians finally found some momentum in the second half as embodied by their no. 8 and captain, Mihai Macovei, who scored two tries to finish off superb work by the forwards. Florin Vlaicu slotted the winning penalty in the 78th minute. This was a crucial win for Romania who can still finish third in the group if they beat Italy in the last match and so automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. This is the first time that the Oaks have beaten Canada away from Bucharest.
Irish supporters send a message to French supporters
The match between France and Ireland, which will be played on Sunday 11 October, will determine the winner of Pool D. Both teams are already assured of their qualification for the quarterfinals of Rugby World Cup 2015, but the winner of the match will be ensured to avoid New Zealand. Irish supporters are hoping for a victory of their team and took the opportunity to warn their French rivals.
Ireland scrapes through against Italy
On Sunday 4 October Ireland had to work hard to overcome a plucky Italian team, running in just one try in a tense and tight game (16-9). The Irish are now set for a group final against France, while Italy will try to clinch the third place spot in their match against Romania.
Italy had to beat Ireland to stay on course for the quarter-finals. Jacques Brunel's men came close to achieving a remarkable success against the winners of the last two Six Nations tournaments, finally bowing to a narrow defeat with a defensive bonus point.
The Irish had nudged ahead at the break thanks to the eighth World Cup try by Keith Earls, beating the national record held by his former teammate and fellow centre, Brian O'Driscoll (10-3, 20th min).
Italy narrowed the gap to four points at half time with a penalty by Tommaso Allan (10-6, 24th min). In the 48th minute, the second row Joshua Furno found himself on the end of a passing move in what would be the turning point of the game. Clearly unused to having the line at his mercy out on the wing, his foot in touch wasted a great try-scoring opportunity!
In the 72nd minute, Peter O'Mahony put his team under pressure by picking up a deserved yellow card for a needless shoulder charge around a maul, forcing the fourteen Irishman to fight hard to hold onto the seven-point lead opened up in the 62nd minute (16-9)! But the Italians had little possession to work with in the last ten minutes, due to some clever kicking by Sexton.
Ireland failed to move into top gear ahead of the clash with France next Sunday, which will now be the final of Group D. But Les Bleus will now be seen as favourites after this lacklustre showing by Joe Schmidt's men.
Australia sends England crashing out in a thrilling match
Rightly billed as a high-risk match for the English, following the win by the Welsh (28-25) ten days ago, this match between Australia and England in a tight Group A had suddenly become crucial for the home nation. And defeat was unthinkable.
But on Saturday 3 October at the end of a match dominated by the Wallabies (33-13) from the outset, the host country had to resign itself to an early exit from its own World Cup. This is the first time that England will be absent from the quarter-finals and also the first time that a host country has failed to emerge from the group stage. Australia and Wales have now qualified and their clash will decide first place in the group.
With a game plan underpinned by speed and creativity, Australia immediately set out their stall by confiscating the ball for long periods. And one man was pivotal in this stunning victory, fly-half Bernard Foley, who had scored all of his team's points until Matt Giteau ran in a late try. With two tries, three conversions and four penalties, or 28 points out of 33, the man who plays his club rugby with the Waratahs put in a classy performance. Despite the dominance of the Wallabies, the English fought hard to claw their way back into the game, cheered on by the raucous Twickenham crowd. After narrowing the lead to just 7 points in the 65th minute thanks to a penalty by Owen Farrell, the English saw their last chance evaporate when Farrell himself was sin-binned for the last ten minutes after an off-the-ball tackle.
It was one-way traffic in the closing stages as the Wallabies moved further ahead. At the final whistle, the humbled English gave their victors a guard of honour. A true lesson on how to lose with dignity.
South Africa steamroller Scotland to move top
Two games on from their surprise defeat against Japan in their opening Rugby World Cup match, South Africa took control of Pool B on Saturday 3 October with victory against Scotland (34-16) on the back of a masterful performance.
For the Springboks, it was back to basics, with a game plan founded on direct contact and the kind of non-stop war of attrition which ultimately wears down opponents. As group leaders, South Africa are now virtually certain to qualify for the quarter-finals in first place but Scotland still have all to play for.
In the first half, the Scots were powerless against the physical challenge and aggression of their opponents but rallied early in the second half as Tommy Seymour scored their only try of the match. The Springboks had scored two tries in the first 40 minutes through Schalk Burger and JP Pietersen to put daylight between the teams (3-20) ahead of half-time. As the final whistle approached, the Boks' left wing Bryan Habana also crossed the line to notch up his 12th Rugby World Cup try and draw closer to the record (15) held by the legendary Jonah Lomu.
With this logical defeat without a defensive bonus point, Scotland slipped to second in their group two points ahead of Japan. Their last game against Samoa will be decisive if they are to take the second qualifying place. The Cherry Blossoms are scheduled to face the United States and will now be praying for a Scottish slip-up the previous day.
Japan keeps the dream alive
The tough match against Scotland (10-45), only four days after stunning South Africa (34-32), is now firmly in the past for Japan who got their campaign back on track on Saturday 3 October by beating Samoa (26-5) in a game which they controlled from start to finish. In the zone and on top in the set plays, the Japanese barely gave their opponents a chance to get into gear.
Samoa were unable to rise to the Japanese challenge and duly waved goodbye to the World Cup quarter-finals which the Cherry Blossoms can still qualify for. It will all come down to the final day between South Africa, Scotland and the remarkable Japanese.
The Asian team once again attracted the plaudits after this match in Milton Keynes which allowed them to display the qualities already on show against the Springboks. Their attacks were fast paced with tireless support play, as embodied by their "captain courageous" Michael Leitch, who ran himself into the ground. The Japanese played rugby which was disciplined in the set plays and free flowing when the opportunities came.
After rapidly pulling away thanks to two team tries and yellow cards for the opposition, the men coached by Eddie Jones were also able to rely on the boot of their full-back Ayumu Goromaru, the tournament's top scorer, reaching the break with a 20-point lead (20-0). Despite a superb fight-back by the Samoan players after the break illustrated by a glorious length-of-the-pitch try finished off by Paul Perez, they were unable to put their opponents under any serious pressure. However, the Japanese fell short of obtaining the bonus point they felt was within their grasp. This is the first time ever that the Cherry Blossoms have won two matches in the same World Cup.
New Zealand overcomes feisty Georgia
Minnows are becoming a thing of the past in international rugby! New Zealand beat Georgia on Friday 2 October at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (43-10) by scoring seven tries to one against a spirited Georgian team which pushed the world champions all the way.
For many pundits, this match should have been a cakewalk for New Zealand but that was far from the case. Although the All Blacks came away with an offensive bonus point, secured as early as the 22nd minute, the crowd at the Millennium Stadium were thrilled to see the Georgian's courageous and disciplined defence continually repel the Kiwis.
However, New Zealand had got off to a fantastic start with the fastest try of this World Cup run in by the Clermont wing Naholo after 72 seconds. Dan Carter landed the conversion to score points in a match for the 100th time running. And although most onlookers were then expecting an avalanche of points to follow, the Georgians rapidly drew level with a storming try by Tsiklauri after picking up a New Zealand knock-on (7-7). The Georgian defence was key in this match since, despite their seven tries, the All Blacks struggled to get into their stride and knocked on ten times in the first-half.
In this match marked by a hat-trick of tries by the Kiwi left-wing Julian Savea, who has now scored 35 tries in 38 selections, the man of the match was actually Georgian, Mamuka Gorgodze, the Toulon flanker. A symbolic choice for this Rugby World Cup match between two top-level teams.
France beat Canada to go through
On 1 October the French rugby team kept its nerve against Canada to come home winners with the offensive bonus point. Les Bleus have now qualified for the quarter-finals and will play Ireland to decide who finishes top of Group D.
France could hardly have dreamed of a better start against Canada as they ran in the fastest try in the Rugby World Cup! Frédéric Michalak broke through the line before making a glorious backhand pass to release the unstoppable Wesley Fofana who dived over for a try (7-0, 3rd min). After slotting the conversion, the RC Toulon fly-half kicked a penalty on 15 minutes to beat the record for points scored by a Frenchman in the Rugby World Cup previously held by Thierry Lacroix.
France polished off their stunning first half-hour with a drive by the forwards which was finished off by Guilheim Guirado (17-0, 29th min). But Rémy Grosso was caught napping at the restart and Van der Merwe outpaced the defence to score Canada's first try (17-7, 31st min).
The Maple Leafs gave us a reminder of how close they had come to beating Italy in the previous match by immediately putting pressure on the French defence which cracked once again as Aaron Carpenter ran through to score (17-12, 34th min). However, Rabah Slimani allowed the French to run off at half-time in more confident mood thanks to the third try by a front-row player out of the five scored in a frenetic first half!
The match was well balanced in the early stages of the first half and it was only in the 67th minute that Pascal Pape scored the bonus-point try which signalled a certain win. Rémy Grosso celebrated his first start for his country on the wing scoring the fifth and last French try to end the scoring (41-18).
Canada can still dream of third spot in the group ahead of their match with Romania. France will play Ireland for first place at 5.45pm on Sunday 11 October.
Ireland overwhelm Romania to go top of Pool D
On 27 September Ireland brushed aside Romania and picked up the offensive bonus point into the bargain (44-10). Already impressive against the French, the Romanian defence once again demonstrated its resilience and the outsiders managed to save some honour with a late try.
Ireland continues to advance in its duel with France for first place in Pool D after this victory. The Irish showed they were up for the fight from the outset with an initial sequence of play lasting 2.58 minutes which set the tone for the rest of the match! The teams were still tied 15 minutes in since Valentin Calafeteanu's penalty cancelled out Ian Madigan's earlier kick (3-3, 11th minute).
After a disallowed try by Simon Zebo (15th minute), Tommy Bowe crossed the try line (13-3, 20th minute) much to the delight of most of the 89,267 spectators at Wembley Stadium, a record for a world cup match after the New Zealand-Argentina game on Sunday, 20 September. It was the full-back Zebo who was at the heart of the best Irish moves, setting up his winger for a try (16-3, 29th minute), before the Irish fly-half closed the point-scoring in the first-half with a conversion (18-3).
Faced with the hard-tackling Romanians, Joe Schmidt's men then set off in search of the offensive bonus point. It duly came thanks to two tries from Tommy Bowe when Romania were a man down (62nd minute). Having scored six tries after 73 minutes, the Irish started going through the motions and The Oaks grabbed the chance to save some honour by scoring a try from veteran Ovidu Tonita (44-10, 79th minute).
Romania will now focus on their next match against Canada on 6 October. Ireland went top of the group, a point ahead of France.
Before the Ireland - Romania match...
Scotland pull away from the American Eagles
The Scottish team kept its 100% record in Pool B of the world cup with a second bonus-point win against the United States (39-16) on Sunday 27 September. The Scots had to rely on an excellent second-half performance since the Eagles had them on the back foot for the first 40 minutes. In fact, Scotland ran in all five of its tries after the break.
Matt Scott's fourth try of the match for Scotland was the 100th of the competition so far. But before the Scots turned on the style to pull away in the second half, the Americans had played some thrilling rugby. The Eagles dominated in the set plays and even scored the first try of the match through Lamositele (21st minute). The United States led at the break (13-6) but could have put even more daylight between the teams if they had taken their chances.
In the second half, the Scots, coached by former Clermont manager Vern Cotter, were on fire with fly-half Finn Russell the instigator of some free-flowing rugby. And boasting more depth on the bench than their opponents, the Scots were able to inject the new blood needed as the game progressed to ensure victory. Visser (42nd minute ), Maitland (47th minute ), Nel (54th minute), Scott (65th minute ) and Weir, in one of the last plays of the match, were all try-scorers for Scotland which now leads its group ahead of South Africa. The two nations will go head to head on Saturday, 3 October for what is shaping up to be the pool final.
Wales break English hearts
Wales enjoyed a shock win at Twickenham in a match of breath-taking intensity (28-25) on Saturday 26 September. In a group which also includes Australia, the road to the quarter-finals has suddenly become perilous for Stuart Lancaster's men.
The two host countries of this eighth world cup clashed at Twickenham for the first big face-off in Pool A. At the end of a hard-fought match it was the Welsh who came out on top watched by Prince Harry, in an England shirt, alongside his brother William who was wearing a Welsh shirt sporting the triple plume of feathers. On the pitch, the match started tentatively for the English who committed two errors in quick succession to give Wales the first points from the boot of Dan Biggar in the 3rd minute of the game (0-3).
Both kickers kept the scoreboard turning over during the first 25 minutes. Owen Farrell, given a start ahead of George Ford as fly half, matched his Welsh counterpart blow for blow. Shortly before the half-hour mark, Jonny May ran in the only English try of the match after a slick line-out in the Welsh 22 metres opened up a swift passing move (16-6, 27th minute).
After the break, with the score standing at 16-9 for the English, the pace of the game gradually increased. The Welsh Red Devils paid the price of a physical encounter with three players injured in less than five minutes just after the hour! Warren Gatland's men could have fallen into disarray but Gareth Davies picked up a cross-field kick to dive over between the posts and Biggar brought the teams level with the conversion (25-25, 71st minute).
He then went on to kick the winning penalty from 49 metres in front of the posts (25-28, 75th minute). The English turned down the opportunity to kick a penalty which could have secured a tie two minutes from the final whistle, instead opting to kick for touch in a bid to drive over for a winning try. But the Welsh forwards rallied majestically to push them into touch!
England will now have to beat Australia to be sure of a place in the quarter-finals of its World Cup. For Warren Gatland's men this was a historic victory before their next outings against Fiji and Australia when they hope to confirm their new-found form.
Italy overcome resilient Canadians
Squadra Azzura came out on top against Canada (23-18) on Saturday 26 September after being taken all the way by an impressive North American team who played some exciting rugby.
The Italian team coached by Jacques Brunel had to be patient in a free-flowing game which thrilled the Elland Road crowd in Leeds up to the last minute. Italy came away with a win after defeat in its first outing against France (32-10), while the never-say-die Canadians picked up a well-deserved defensive bonus point for their strong showing.
The Italians had to fight hard in the second half to contain the pumped-up Canucks who continually drove forward in a bid to get back into the match. But before the epic closing stages, it was the Canadians who had scored the first try of the match in the first half in spectacular fashion, just fifteen minutes in. After picking up the ball from the Italians, winger Van Der Merwe ran the length of the pitch and left two opponents for dead before exchanging passes with Hearn and dashing under the posts. But Italy hit back immediately with a try by Rizzo who finished off Gori's snaking run through the defence.
It was just seconds from half-time that Italy moved in front thanks to a penalty from Allan (13-10). At the start of the second half, the Canadians took the game to Italy. Evans scored a fantastic try after a solid line-out and an expansive move down the left touchline. Straight from the kick-off once again, the Canucks ran in another try with flair, although it ruled out for a final forward pass. Now lagging behind, Italy showed real guts and smart thinking to grab the lead back through a try by Gonzalo Garcia. They then held on through to the final whistle thanks to a cast-iron defence which withstood an onslaught from the courageous Canadians.
Argentina chalks up first victory by beating Georgia
On Friday 25 September Argentina bounced back from its defeat by world champions New Zealand with a bonus-point win against a spirited Georgian team, which paid dearly for the yellow card picked up by its captain Mamuka Gorgodze (final score: 54-9).
Although Tomas Lavanini crossed the line for a try in the first ten minutes, it was not until the second half and the yellow card handed to Mamuka Gorgodze (45th mins), that the Argentineans really started to pull away thanks to three tries in six minutes (47th, 49th and 53rd mins)! The two wingers, Imhoff and Bosch, each scored a brace of tries late on to give the Pumas a comfortable win with seven tries in all!
The steadfast Georgians, who were still hanging onto Argentina’s coat tails at the end of the first half (14-9), can take some pride from this defeat to the third-placed team at the 2007 World Cup. The yellow card for the Toulon forward Gorgodze proved a turning point since Argentina scored 21 points with the extra man! Milton Haig's players have already achieved a famous victory at this World Cup by beating Tonga in their first outing and they are now heading for a gala match against the All Blacks. The Lelos will then try to finish on a high against Namibia on 7 October.
With its legendary team spirit, Argentina played some fast-flowing rugby in the second half to show its class and overcome Georgia thanks to seven tries. A quarter-final match is now opening up for the Pumas, probably against Ireland or France. But whoever they face, sparks are bound to fly!
France wins its second match of the competition, against Romania (38-11)
Wednesday 23 September
Easy win for Scotland over Japan
On 23 September Scotland easily beat Japan (45-10) with the Scottish national team even securing a bonus point after scoring five tries in the second half. The miracle of their first match didn't hold out for Japan who were only able to hold back Scotland during the first 40 minutes before beeing soundly overtaken in the second half.
The volunteers in action
The volunteers from the Rugby World Cup Pack, just like the players on the pitch, are warming up before the action starts.
New Zealand vs. Argentina (26-16): a great match on the field and in within supporters
Sunday 20 September
Victory of France over Italy (32-10)
Saturday 19 September
Surprise Japanese victory over South Africa!
No one could have imagined the stunning result of the first Pool B match that saw Japan creating one of the biggest shocks in Rugby World Cup history, beating the two-time world champions South Africa 34 to 32!
This match was certainly special for the japanese winger Kotaro Matsushima, who was born in South Africa, and currently plays for the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Union Football Club in New South Wales, Australia, one of the many Rugby clubs sponsored by Societe Generale. Matsushima sent up his teammate and man of the match Ayumu Goromaru for a try ten minutes before the final whistle. Host of the RWC 2019, Japan have marked an important victory in their efforts to reach the quarter-finals for the very first time. Next step will be against Scotland on wednesday (2.30 pm).
The opening ceremony was celebrated at Twickenham on Friday 18 September
Societe Generale will be behind the scenes to share the highlights and emotions of Rugby World Cup 2015.
"There is a long and happy history of partnership and mutual respect between Societe Generale and rugby. For the past 28 years, rugby has brought us together around a strong set of values embodied by the game and which are also at the heart of our approach, at all levels of the company. The core value is clearly team spirit. This constant commitment, in all fields, naturally led us to become a major partner of Rugby World Cup. Our approach to our partnership mirrors our approach to our banking profession, favouring a long-term vision." Frédéric Oudéa, Chief Executive Officer of Societe Generale.