Cracking start Cup gearing up to be a great event
THE much-anticipated Rugby World Cup is underway after an opening ceremony which was colourful, entertaining and, as you would expect from Japan, polished.
The opening game saw the home nation beat a spirited Russian side and up next was were the All Blacks v South Africa.
Aapparently the Blacks were meant to not be playing to the standard that will win a World Cup but they are still favourites and world champions going for a hat trick of victories.
The Boks did start brightly, but with two well taken All Black tries, admittedly against the run of play, the result was never really in doubt.
The ABS will still be the team to beat.
France v Argentina was a great game, with France playing so well in the first half you thought that they may have turned the corner, and with a very skilful disciplined display.
As only France can do they came out in the second half and played a polar opposite game
The French should have won at a canter - but they just about hung on to a morale-boosting victory.
The message was there for England to witness, as these two proud rugby nations will be no push over.
England’s opening game against Tonga was a no-win situation.
The expectation with England is always massive.
We remember how the 2015 squad suffered when bombing out without reaching the knockout stages and were the first host country to ever achieve this unwanted accolade. Eddie Jones and his current squad have talked long and hard how not to allow this happen again, learning from the harshest of lessons.
The Tongans lost to the All Blacks in a warm game conceding 92 points, so all England supporters were expecting a hatful of points.
The reality was that England did score 35 points but no tries were conceded. The game was littered with England handling errors, with far too many penalties given away in the early stages.
I AM going to dedicate my first column of the 2019/20 season to Richard Emery.
His sudden death was a tragedy at such a young age.
Rich was a Gordon League RFC stalwart and an example to us all always humble in victory and dignified in defeat.
When the League had challenging times Rich never shirked the responsibility to help.
He is a great example to us all who play/coach/administrate in local rugby, throwing in the towel was never an option however hard the barriers. My sympathies to his family and friends - RIP and enjoy a pint with Oli.
At times the game was bruising with some big collisions as the Tongans have some big boys with the tight head, nicknamed The Wardrobe, weighing in at 24 stone.
England continued the tactic of kicking the ball early, with a big chase challenging in the air or on the floor always gaining field position.
Of course, post-game match analysis from all within the England camp remarked it was a start and they have work on’s, which they do.
The reality of any World Cup is winning seven games in a row and you will be crowned the best rugby side on the planet. England has six more to go.
With each game the pressure, expectation and excitement will gather pace; the players will have to live with this on
and off the field. If they do their chances of success will certainly increase.
It is already building up to be one of the best World Cups for our sport and that can only be good for rugby worldwide.
Let’s hope it helps drive engagement and passion down at the grassroots.
Luke Cowandickie runs in to score England’s bonus-point try against Tonga