RWC 2019: Day 6 Update

Leone Nakarawa

Fiji 27-30 Uruguay
We have our first upset of the Rugby World Cup! Uruguay have beaten Fiji!

Fiji were huge favourites for this game, with the bookie handicap at Fiji -32, and somehow Uruguay upset the odds to record the first upset of this year’s tournament.

The Fijians scored first and then I think they became complacent, with some players including Vereniki Goneva looking totally disinterested. They managed 2 bonus points, scoring five tries to three, but they missed four conversions, whilst Uruguay’s three converted tries and three penalties were enough to secure the win. I suspect they won’t be too worried about missing the bonus point when they celebrate tonight.

Santiago Arata scored a brilliant individual try, skipping through defenders and then racing away, and even though they had the lead at the break, you thought it was only a matter of time before Fiji got their act together.

But it wasn’t to be, Uruguay held firm, and a late penalty delivered an 8-point cushion which meant Fiji’s late try was irrelevant. Well done Uruguay!

Day 7 Preview

England v USA

I quite like the look of England’s team for this fixture, and I’m excited to see if they can string together a more coherent attacking game than was managed against Tonga. Yes the Tongans are disruptive, but that doesn’t explain every handling error and missed opportunity, and there is huge room for improvement despite a 32-point victory.

That the result was never in doubt is partly testament to England’s defence, which looked rock solid, albeit without too much to trouble them from Tonga’s attack. I would expect tomorrow’s game to be similar in that regard, and they should be targeting a ‘clean sheet’ to keep USA try-less. A watertight defence can take you a long way in a World Cup, and it could well offset some of the deficiencies in England’s attack, and in their suspected mental fragility.

Nevertheless, this should be an opportunity to score some tries. There are several big ball-carriers up front, and they need to get England onto the front foot and ‘earn the right’ to go wide to the speedsters on each wing, rather than forcing things too soon. It’s not that hard, and if I can see it, surely Eddie can?

Another bonus point win here with a few more chances taken, coupled with another resolute defensive effort, will help to build confidence going into the crucial matches against Argentina and France. Every match for England theoretically gets harder, and I’d expect to see a corresponding step up in performance tomorrow.

My Superbru prediction is England by 43, and I have England -34 on the handicap too.

How do you think the game will go?

24 thoughts on “RWC 2019: Day 6 Update

  1. Wow what a great result for Uruguay their defensive effort was fantastic but Fiji were the masters of their own demise with countless handling errors and a distinct lack of energy from a number of the players. It feels like Fiji thought they were going to coast through this game and weren’t ready for a dogfight with a passionate committed team

    Well done Uruguay

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  2. A great result for Uruguay and a great result for the sport in general. Upsets are always enjoyable for neutrals and any underdog supporters!!

    Well done Uruguay!!

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  3. Fiji’s defeat against Uruguay underlines the value of a reliable goal kicker. You cannot score 5 tries convert one and miss a number of penalties.

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  4. Congrats to Uruguay for showing England the way for tomorrow!
    I don’t quite get why this England line up is being lauded. To my eyes, all Ed has done is potentially trade a water tight defence for a more porous one and made changes just for the sake of it. Surely, barring injuries and saving Manu and Billy for France, it would have been better to say “Go and put right what went wrong against the Tongans” and stuck with a largely unchanged line up? If we don’t rack up a decent score and play some flowing Rugby tomorrow then the pressure is all on us.
    I’m no expert and it’s always dangerous to try and second guess a wily old fox like Ed but i’m not quite sure what he’s trying to do atm.

    1. I really don’t get this insistence that England must play wonderful, flowing rugby in order to be considered as genuine contenders for the WC.
      The England of 2003 were given such a fright by Samoa in the pool stage that at one point they forgot it was a 15 man game. Then Wales were only beaten thanks to Catt being bought on and an incredible run from Robinson.
      Even the team of 2007 made it to the final and could have won – depite a 36-0 loss in the group stage!
      So, although it’s nice to watch great rugby, as far as I am concerned, as long as they win, I don’t really care how they do it. And if that means saving the legs and energy of some of our starting line up for the more difficult games, then go for it.
      PS – Piers Francis is still inexplicable though…

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      1. It’s not about being nice Pablito. It’s about having the capacity to play an all round game as is likely necessary to win the WC. In 2003, for instance & which you mention, England had Greenwood who helped them to do that. 1 ? Is, can they do so now & have they ever really replaced him? Gauging by England’s last efforts, the jury’s still out. England need to put a marker down, tired legs & whether you care how they do it or not. Besides, as they’ve played only 1 game, why would their legs be so tired anyway?

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  5. Well done Uruguay, great performance and well deserved, I echo what has been said Fiji were the architects of their own downfall there is only so much 7’s rugby you can play in the 15’s game before it falls apart and the kicker was shocking, looking forward to Uruguay playing Georgia now.

  6. Spare a thought for Fiji. Looked & were pretty threatening v Oz. No, they shouldn’t miss kicks & in the end they made a difference. However, these things can sometimes happen. Thinking AB’s v SA in NZ a yr ago. 4 missed kicks at goal & 2 intercepts! Neither side planned for these things, yet they still happened. Just like yesterday.. & with Japan over SA last WC!? Whether Uraguay’s win was good for the sport, I’m not so sure. It was certainly good for Uraguay. It certainly wasn’t good for Fiji. It’s likely put them out. And we might all see less, not just positive, but effective, despite this 1 loss, rugby. Unless Uruguay can replicate their win, maybe it wasn’t necessarily so good for the game?

  7. Disappointed, but not surprised, by the general tone of reactions on here and elsewhere, with the consensus apparently that Fiji lost this, as opposed to Uruguay winning it.

    Credit where it is due: Uruguay played a good tactical game and executed well.

    – They defended astonishingly well, when you consider the attacking threat of runners like Randrandra et al: shutting down space, first-up tackles, and scramble were all done brilliantly.

    – Speed and creative running were equally impressive. That try where a player looked like he was getting crunched in midfield, but rode the tackle beautifully and put his mate in space down the wing, and the one where the scrumhalf scythed his way through the middle, were particularly noteworthy.

    – Basic, technical stuff was executed well: 10/10 lineouts and 5/5 scrums won. Rucks were contested well, with a few notable turnovers – my favourite was a kick (can’t remember the player, left wing I think), where the chase was so effective he was able to smash the receiver, release correctly, and then steal the ball off the deck – 50m gained and retained possession, I think they scored shortly afterwards. This good technical execution and hunger epitomised the Uruguayan effort for me.

    – Then there’s the kicking. 3/3 conversions, plus three penalty kicks, the last of which turned out to be vital and a real pressure kick.

    Whereas I do feel that unforced errors by FIji cost them, (loads of knock-ons, missed kicks), and that they went into the game too complacent – Matawalu and Volavola made a huge difference and maybe should have been introduced earlier… in my opinion Uruguay should be given more respect than they have for this famous win.

    1. Leon, Dazza, Acee & Q, all preceding you Stroudos, were complimentary towards Uruguay. Reality is though, that Fiji did miss all those shots. Any 1 of which would normally have altered the result. That’s all.

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      1. You’re right of course, however: according to posts above, Fiji were “masters of their own demise” and “architects of their own downfall”.

        In any case, my comment was less about having a pop at the wise sages on this esteemed blog, but about the general sentiment across various media and among friends and colleagues, where the focus seems to be solely on the poor Fiji performance, which I think does a disservice to how well Uruguay played.

        1. I would agree that Uruguay exceeded expectations and their composure in defence in particular when faced with an overlap was outstanding but even with the quality of their performance you can’t help but feel if Fiji had A) been at the races or B) been able to convert kicks i’ve seen 10 year olds able to knock over they would have won

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    1. Not really
      They have played about as well as expected against the minnows of the pool but I can’t see them having enough to spring an upset against SA/NZ. Their backrow looks good but their composure under pressure and they could have shipped a hat full of points against Canada if they knew how to catch the final pass

  8. “My Superbru prediction is England by 43, and I have England -34 on the handicap too.

    How do you think the game will go?”

    Nowhere near that optimistic / cocky…
    I’ve got England by 18 and if that happens I’ll be quite pleased.
    Yes, 4-try bonus point should be on the cards, but I can’t see England romping this by 40+…
    Here’s how I reckon it will go:
    England: 4 tries, 3 converted, 2 pens
    USA: 1 try out wide, unconverted, 3 pens
    (I like to be specific with my predictions, borderline OCD here!)
    England 32-14 USA

      1. Well, I have never claimed to have a bloody clue what I’m talking about….

        Still, a bit surprised by the degree of dominance England had over USA. The win was a foregone conclusion, but I expected a bit more resistance from the USA team.

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          1. Really R? SCW, Dallaglio & Jones also focused on England’s being good & gr8 players that they are, they only dropped it & knocked it due to the humidity. Thing is, like Parliment were with Geoffrey Cox, are a few punters unconvinced?

            1. It was a gentle poke at Stroudos rather than a serious comment Don.
              I haven’t had a chance to watch the match properly, watched it on my phone at a conference but would agree that handling needs to be sharpened up. Not sure we really know where this England team are yet. On the brighter side historically we have often struggled in the supposedly easier matches so two comfortable wins will do for now.

  9. Yes. The Yanks couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pud. Mind you, I wouldn’t say that to their fr row. However, their scrum & particarly maul defence, were practically non existstant! Their ‘attack’ hardly better. Booting almost everything back to England, apart from some R1 bursts after 1/2 time. Their pin ball antics at the end aside, which somehow resulted in that try, they looked incapable of scoring. Find it a bit depleting watching basic rugby being butchered like this. Mind you, I suppose Tonga were similar in NZ recently.

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