Welcome to our daily coverage of the Rugby World Cup, where we’ll keep you updated with the latest news, betting odds, key matches to watch, and top-notch reading material. Stay tuned throughout the entire tournament as we bring you the freshest updates from France.
Headline: The All Blacks’ Incredible 32-Stage Journey
In Paris, on the eve of New Zealand’s clash with France’s Line Auber, Ireland launched a last-ditch assault, leaving everything on the field in an attempt to upset the mighty All Blacks. Their hopes rested on a late-night raid, only to see it thwarted by Sam White Lock.
This defeat marked Ireland’s chance to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time, secure their 18th consecutive win in Tier 1 test matches, and extend Captain Johnny Sexton’s illustrious career for at least another week. But it wasn’t meant to be, as New Zealand displayed an incredible defensive effort, making 226 tackles out of 257 and orchestrating a near-perfect defensive strategy.
And Sam White Lock played a pivotal role in this remarkable defensive display.
Reflecting on his contribution, White Lock humbly stated
“I was just like everyone else because we were defending for several phases, but it felt like I was in the right place. I remembered a few moments from earlier and felt really good at the end.”
White Lock initially started on the bench but was called upon late in the game to join forces with his fellow locks Lachlan Brouder and Scott Barrett, who had already shouldered a heavy defensive workload.
The entire All Blacks team, through incredible teamwork, thwarted Ireland three times in three attempts, including a critical moment when Jordie Barrett prevented Ronan Kelleher from sneaking over the try line from a maul, displaying unwavering determination.
White Lock summed up the team effort
“I think everyone had an exceptional defensive game. The loose forwards worked together seamlessly, putting immense pressure on the opposition. They were outstanding defensively tonight.”
Both their captain, Sam Cane, and Ardie Savea showcased stellar performances in the match, with the duo contributing significantly to their team’s impressive defensive statistics. Cane and Savea combined for 37 tackles and collaborated effectively multiple times, showcasing exceptional teamwork on the field.
As White Lock stated, “It’s great when the loose forwards work together and put pressure on the opposition – they were very good tonight defensively.”
Around the Cup: Dan Biggar’s Farewell to International Rugby
Dan Biggar bid farewell to his Wales international rugby career with a valiant effort. Despite playing with an injury, he fought through the pain, exemplifying his determination. However, the magic didn’t materialize in his final match.
The turning point came in the 74th minute of the match, with Wales trailing 29-17. They had been applying pressure and playing in their opponent’s half for the past 10 minutes, taking advantage of the absence of Nick Tompkins due to a head injury assessment.
While this loss marked the end of Biggar’s Rugby World Cup journey, it should not overshadow his illustrious career. He will continue to represent Wales in the Six Nations, but for now, his focus turns to a match against the Barbarians following the World Cup or potentially exploring a new direction.
Gethin Jenkins praised Biggar, saying
“He’s been a great servant for Welsh rugby, achieving incredible highs and enduring lows. I remember him as a young guy and have seen how he has matured and developed as a player. It’s been a special journey. He’s decided to retire from international rugby. While we may not have Gethin Jenkins available, we have young Keiran Costello, and we believe he has the potential to be something special. He has made great progress in his game. But Dan is one of a kind. He’s incredibly driven to win, wears his heart on his sleeve, and has been a crucial part of this team for many years.”
Despite a challenging start, the Pumas seek more under the Cheika era.
Michael Cheika didn’t fully buy into the notion that Argentina has undergone a transformation in the Rugby World Cup. His skepticism followed Argentina’s defeat to Wales earlier this year.
In Marseille, Argentina fell to New Zealand 29-17, just five weeks after a loss to England by a score of 27-7. Cheika remained pragmatic about the process.
He commented, “I don’t think there’s been a fundamental change. We knew the first game was going to be a bit tricky from our side. We learned a lot because there were a lot of players playing their first World Cup. I think they’ve learned a lot in terms of handling things that didn’t go their way. In the game with Fiji, which wasn’t a great deal – after that, every game has been a nail-biter. This mindset has propelled Argentina to the World Cup semi-finals for the third time in their history. Their remarkable journey owes much to Cheika’s experience, having taken Australia to the semi-finals in 2015. However, Cheika remains focused on the present.
“I’m happy to be here,” Cheika stated.
“There’s no semi-final finish. I’m hoping for the finish. It seems very clear, but the teams playing in Paris on Sunday look at the semi-finals and finals in the first place. We’re happy, but it’s not the final stage; we want more.”
However, Argentina’s journey to Paris will have to wait, much to Cheika’s displeasure, as they won’t travel until Sunday, causing a loss of preparation time. Meanwhile, the All Blacks are gearing up for their semi-final clash in Paris, and Cheika laments the limited time for standard preparation.
Preview: England vs. Fiji
England’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, has made a significant selection decision, moving Mark Smith to fullback and Ollie Fearns to the wing in a bold move. Manu Tuilagi has been brought into the starting lineup at No. 12, replacing Billy Twelvetrees. This lineup aims to revitalize England’s performance against Fiji, with
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