What happened in week three at Rugby World Cup?

What happened in week three at Rugby World Cup?


Ireland celebrate
Ireland beat South Africa in Paris in the headline game of week three at the Rugby World Cup

France lost their captain to injury, Portugal came within a kick of a historic win and Ireland landed a shot on the defending champions.

Here are the main talking points from the third week of the Rugby World Cup.

Sorry mate, you’re not coming in

James Lowe tackles Eben Etzebeth
Ireland’s James Lowe produces an inspiring tackle on South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth typifies everything the Springboks are about – physicality, aggression and confrontation.

At 6ft 8in and 123kg, the powerful lock wins most collisions, even at Test level.

But Ireland wing James Lowe did something unthinkable in Paris on Saturday, which set the world number one side on the road to a famous win over the defending champions.

The smaller and lighter man lifted the man-mountain Springbok clean into the Parisian sky before lugging him a few steps forward on his shoulder.

The moment was followed by one of the loudest roars from the partisan travelling Irish support, who cheered their side on to a 13-8 win which puts them in pole position in Pool B.

Wales lead the way to the quarter-finals

Suli Vunivalu
Australia’s Suli Vunivalu leaves the field as Wales celebrate victory in Lyon

Wales are the first team confirmed as World Cup quarter-finalists after their comfortable 40-6 win over Australia in Pool C.

Gareth Anscombe kicked 23 points and tries from Gareth Davies, Nick Tompkins and Jac Morgan sealed a last-eight place with a game remaining.

It means a fourth World Cup quarter-final for Wales under Warren Gatland, while the full-time whistle in Lyon was met with boos for Australia and their head coach Eddie Jones.

Before a ball was kicked, Jones said the Wallabies would be competitive and would not be coming to France just for the croissants, but defeat leaves his side on the brink of becoming the first Australia team to go out at the pool stage.

They may have to settle for the patisseries after all.

Five-star Arundell gives England food for thought

Henry Arundell and Marcus Smith celebrate an England try
England duo Henry Arundell (left) and Marcus Smith made the most of their first starts at a Rugby World Cup, scoring seven tries between them against Chile

The lack of tries from England’s back division has been a common topic for debate in recent times.

Plenty of scores were expected against debutants Chile and England did not disappoint, crossing 11 times in a 71-0 success.

Five tries came from exciting 20-year-old Henry Arundell, who marked his Rugby World Cup debut in fine style.

With that display, has Arundell – who will be playing his club rugby in France for Racing 92 next season – forced his way into Borthwick’s starting XV for the rest of the tournament?

In his BBC column, former England scrum-half Matt Dawson said he thinks Arundell’s performance will still not be enough to win a starting place.

“Neither Henry Arundell’s five tries on the wing or Marcus Smith’s livewire performance at full-back will prompt their promotion into Steve Borthwick’s first-choice XV for the tougher Tests to come,” wrote Dawson.

Red or yellow?

Afusipa Taumoepeau
Afusipa Taumoepeau puts in a no-arms shoulder tackle on Jamie Ritchie which ends the Scotland captain’s involvement in the game

Should Tonga’s Afusipa Taumoepeau have been shown a red card?

The wing was sent to the bin for his no-arms shoulder tackle directly to the head of Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie, who did not return to the field after failing his head injury assessment.

It was decided Taumoepeau’s punishment would remain as a yellow card because of Ritchie’s slight lowering in body position before contact.

Tonga were shown a red card following full-time, however, when Vaea Fifita hit Finn Russell with a no-arms challenge late on.

Two similar tackles, two different outcomes.

‘The one guy this tournament didn’t want to lose’

Antoine Dupont receives treatment on his facial injury
Antoine Dupont had surgery on his fractured cheekbone on Friday

Will Antoine Dupont, one of the biggest stars at this Rugby World Cup, play again at this tournament?

A head-to-head collision with Johan Deysel on Thursday resulted in a red card for the Namibia centre and the France captain leaving the field with a fractured cheekbone.

The scrum-half had surgery on Friday and the full prognosis is not yet clear, but France are not yet ruling him out of the competition.

France are close to qualifying from Pool A having registered three wins from three, so now it appears to be a race against time for Dupont to be ready for the start of the knockout phase on 14 October.

Former Australia centre Stirling Mortlock told BBC Rugby Union Daily how Dupont has been the “best player in world rugby for two years” and his long-term absence would be “a huge blow” for France.

Portugal miss out on first win but hope to inspire

Portugal contemplate their late missed penalty
Portugal avoided defeat at a Rugby World Cup for the first time in six attempts – but were unable to get their first win against Georgia

It is 18-18 and your team has conceded a 78th-minute try that you think will deny you a first Rugby World Cup win.

Then you earn a penalty in kickable range as the clock goes into the red. What a chance for history.

Nuno Sousa Guedes steps up – and the kick drifts just wide.

So Portugal’s wait for a first World Cup victory goes on after a draw with Georgia, but they are winning plenty of friends with their displays in France.

Their previous tournament appearance in 2007 ended with 209 points conceded in four straight defeats, but Patrice Lagisquet’s side are showing themselves to be much more competitive 16 years on, having impressed against Wales in their opening game.

“We want young kids to start to play rugby, to have a team they can follow,” said captain Tomas Appleton. “In the next few years we want to have a great team and be on top of the world.”

Always pay attention

One Italy replacement got himself on to the field a little too early in his side’s comeback win over Uruguay on Wednesday.

As full-back Ange Capuozzo sent a first-half grubber kick into the in-goal area, the chasing Italian players found more than just the Uruguayan defenders blocking their route to a try.

Giovanni Pettinelli was warming up inside the field of play, seemingly oblivious to his team’s progress, and stood idly as the ball ricocheted off him and out of play.

Fortunately for Italy, it did not cost them victory as they fought back from a 10-point half-time deficit to secure a bonus-point win over the South American nation.

Perhaps one to laugh about afterwards, but not sure they would have seen the funny side if they had lost.


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