Who’s hot and who’s not: Black Ferns win epic Rugby World Cup, joy for Italy while it was a bad week for South Africa

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons after the weekend.

THEY’RE ON FIRE!

Women’s Rugby World Cup: The showpiece event in New Zealand was arguably the most successful edition of the game when one considers firstly the quality of the rugby in the tournament but, most of all, the incredible influence the tournament had on the women’s game. With sell-outs in several games, it seems the World Cup has nudged the sport further and further into the spotlight. The Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, played in 2022, will be remembered as an iconic edition of the famous tournament. What a showpiece.

Black Ferns: The New Zealanders completed a dream home World Cup beating England 34-31 in a brilliantly contested final at a sold-out Eden Park on Saturday. The Black Ferns, loaded with personalities such as Portia Woodman and Ruby Tui, had an outstanding campaign throughout, showcasing their impressive skill sets whilst inspiring many fans along the way. They are well-deserved champions who got the chance to lift the trophy in their home country. A mention for England too as their outstanding winning streak was finally brought to an end.

Marseille madness: France hosted South Africa for what is surely the Test of the year. The game had everything, including red cards for both sides and a yellow for South Africa. A true arm wrestle littered with moments of brilliance and controversy. The Stade Velodrome was packed to the rafters, and the crowd was nothing short of outstanding, creating one of the best atmospheres you will see in rugby union. A fantastic showcase of the sport at the highest level and a taster of what is to come in next year’s World Cup. It should be some tournament.

Italy claim first win against Australia: The Azzurri’s rise under Kieran Crowley continues as they picked up from where they left off against Samoa. The Italians played a clever, structured game on attack, scoring some magnificent tries with superstar back Ange Capuozzo crossing for a brace of tries on an historic day for Italy as they beat Australia 28-27. What is possibly most impressive is that the victory was without star Paolo Garbisi who was ruled out with an injury just before the game. Next up for Italy are the Boks. They couldn’t, could they?

England bounce back against Japan: Eddie Jones’s men claimed a solid 52-13 win over Japan, who could not handle the Red Rose on the day. The performance showed glimpses of how well the Marcus Smith-Owen Farrell axis can operate and just how much the pairing can exploit defensive lines. Freddie Steward continues to perform at the highest level and may soon be regarded as the best 15 in the world. It’s solid preparation for a tricky All Blacks Test this week in what is the international match of the weekend in our eyes. Bring on Twickenham.

COLD AS ICE!

Wallabies’ poor run continues: Their first-ever defeat to Italy makes for bad reading for Australian fans, who have dealt with six losses in the last eight games. The Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie took a risk by making wholesale changes and was punished for it. It is a great concern for the Australians to look so out of sorts with next year’s World Cup on the horizon. It is all to do for Rennie and the Wallabies.

Rassie Erasmus’s Twitter posts: The Springbok director of rugby took to Twitter to scrutinise the referee for the second week running. However, coming out of his lengthy ban for the very same thing, Erasmus has adopted a more ‘subtle’ route when he posts what appears to be a heartfelt caption whilst the video blatantly highlights refereeing errors. We are all for accountability and fair decisions, but Erasmus is walking a tightrope, and World Rugby will have to address this if it continues. It’s surely time for him to grow up as it’s embarrassing now.

South Africa ‘A’: Staying with South Africa for a moment and they were dominated by an impressive Munster side on Thursday evening. While credit must go to the Irish province for their outstanding performance in Cork, this was a Munster squad missing several players due to international call-ups and injury. In contrast, South Africa ‘A’ had the likes of Joseph Dweba, Thomas du Toit, Elrigh Louw, Jean-Luc du Preez, Johan Goosen and Aphelele Fassi in their starting XV but were still well beaten 28-14 on the night as they struggled to deal with the conditions. The result was the start of a bad week of results for South Africa with, as mentioned, the Springboks going down to Les Bleus.

Rugby World Cup dream over for Kenya and Hong Kong: After suffering their second loss over the weekend, both Kenya and Hong Kong can now no longer qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France. Kenya were hammered 85-0 by Portugal while Hong Kong went down 49-7 to USA, which shines a light on the gap in quality between the top two and bottom two in this final qualification tournament in Dubai. Portugal and USA face off this weekend for the coveted spot in France 2023 while for Kenya and Hong Kong, only pride is on the line.

Scotland’s implosion: Gregor Townsend’s charges were on course for an historic victory over New Zealand as they dominated most of their match against the All Blacks at Murrayfield on Saturday. With the score 23-14 in their favour by the hour-mark, the home side lost the plot in the final quarter as they conceded 17 points during that period which meant the All Blacks clinched a 31-23 victory. The men in black are still unbeaten in 117 years of this fixture and have now won 30 out of 32 Tests against Scotland, with the Scots’ best results being two draws in 1964 and 1983.

READ MORE: Sunday Social: Black Ferns are the Rugby World Cup champions and chaotic Test rugby

The article Who’s hot and who’s not: Black Ferns win epic Rugby World Cup, joy for Italy while it was a bad week for South Africa appeared first on Planetrugby.com.