A Look Back at the 2015 IRB RWC
The All Blacks finished the Rugby World Cup as champions with a comprehensive win over Australia on Saturday night. Deserved champions at that, they were always consistent, professional, and they never looked in any doubt of retaining the trophy that’s now theirs to hold onto for the next few years. Don’t tell the English, but this year was a fantastic spectacle filled with many stand out moments, Sonny Bill Williams giving his medal away to a young fan after the match one that’ll live on in the memories forever.
It was also the year of the “B” international teams really coming into their own. Japan beating former champions the Springboks is perhaps the biggest upset in test rugby history; they went on to win another two matches. Argentina was the team of the tournament, consistently brilliant all the way to the semis. Uruguay and Namibia also looked stronger, proving that proper time and investment can result in some fantastic results.
As for South Africa, you can look at it in a few ways. You can remember this as the campaign where the eventual champions (New Zealand) scraped by the Boks by just two points. You can remember it as the year they were humiliated by Japan, and then got through by the skin of their teeth against Wales. Or you can look at it as the year where players like Rudy Paige, Siya Kolisi and Pat Lambie were left sitting on the bench wondering what the point of them even being there was. Heyneke Meyer’s squad selection left many scratching their heads, both before and during the tournament. And his future is now in question, despite making the semi finals; South Africans know how good they can be. And the question now is, are they good enough?
This year also introduced some changes in the tech involved during matches. The “ref cam” gave viewers a never before seen perspective of the field. The role of the TMO also needs some review, with confusion as to when and how it should be used. Should the television official be allowed to overrule the referee’s decision? Can referees refer to the TMO despite a try not being involved? Ask Craig Joubert, who’s had some sleepless nights after awarding Australia a last minute penalty against Scotland. By the letter of the law, he wasn’t allowed to refer to the TMO. But had he, Scotland would of made the semi finals and perhaps the finals. Such fine margins need some clarity, and you can be sure it’ll be investigated in the coming weeks.
Overall though, this year proved rugby is the fastest growing sport in the world- both in terms of fan participation and investment into growing talent. Despite the ups and downs, the best team overall won it, and that is indeed that.
The onus is now on Japan to match the spectacle when they host the tournament, but, as it seems it gets better and better each time- we’re in for one hell of a show in 2019.
Thank you for sticking with BetXchange this year!