Well, at last, the Rugby World Cup 2007 is underway. We have been waiting for what seems ages for this competition to eventually kick off and several matches have been played over the last few days. Some were unexpected upsets, but most results were as expected. One thing for sure, is that thousands of supporters have flocked to France to watch this great rugby spectacle. The various stadiums have recorded full house attendances and the money flooding in to France has already exceeded forecasts. Add to this scenario, millions of supporters around the world, literally glued to their television screens and we have a super duper world cup tournament.
There are too many games each day and too many teams and individual players, to be able to report fully on each match, so we will suffice with brief results and overviews, of the games played to date. Don’t forget to download a free fixture list and results scoresheet at the bottom of the page.
The whole tournament was preceded by a glitzy opening ceremony, staged in the Stade de France, in St. Denis, immediately before the opening game between France and Argentina. Hundreds of gymnasts, musicians and dancers appeared in a huge show, meticulously choreographed, that went off like clockwork. The official anthems of the 2 competing countries were then aired and eventually the match started.
Rather disappointingly and I should imagine embarrassingly for France, they appeared overwhelmed by the importance of the occasion and never really got themselves into the game. They stuttered and started and seemed nervous and unsettled. The Argentinians, on the other hand, seemed cool and calm and dedicated to the business at hand. Through sheer guts and strength they took an early lead and hammered the French into submission, at every possible opportunity. They were convincing winners and scored the only tri of the match. Although not much of a flowing game, this was a thrilling encounter. Many of the Argentinians actually play their club rugby in France, so were never intimidated by the French team. The final result was 17 – 12 to the Argentinians, which netted them a well deserved win and 4 points. The French had to be satisfied with a solitary point, from losing by less than 12 points.
The second match was New Zealand against Italy. A valiant Italy tried everything they could, but were never able to match the superb skills and far stronger Kiwis. The All Blacks showed why they are pre-tournament favourites, with a superb display, however it seemed that they never really upped their game to top gear. They scored 11 tries.There was no need to. Without too much effort, they emerged convincing winners, by 76 – 14. The plucky Italians were actually lucky to get their 14 points, through 2 relatively easy tries.