Brodie Retallick This is another glamorous constituent!
The 2019 Rugby World Cup roared into life on Saturday morning, with three huge clashes.
In Sapporo, Australia found salvation in their driving line-out as they survived a scare to dispatch Fiji 39-21 in their World Cup opener. The two-time champions trailed by nine points until they seized the lead for the first time in the 62nd minute before galloping out of sight, the Islanders unable to absorb unrelenting set-piece pressure.
Then, France held off a spirited second-half comeback from Argentina to win their World Cup Pool C opener 23-21 at the Tokyo Stadium. Argentina took the lead late on having trailed 20-3 at half-time, only for penalties from Benjamin Urdapilleta and Camille Lopez’s drop goal to tip the contest in France’s favour.
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Finally, New Zealand fired an ominous warning of their grim focus to secure a record third-straight World Cup crown by grinding past South Africa 23-13 in Yokohama. The back-to-back world champion All Blacks fended off everything a turbocharged Cheslin Kolbe and the Springboks could throw at them, powering to an opening victory at times prosaic in style – but every inch foreboding for their foes.
It was a hectic morning of high sporting drama – here are seven stories you may have missed from the three fixtures.
Brodie Retallick1. Australia survive scare
The Wallabies may have beaten Fiji, but the 39-21 scoreline paints a slightly misleading picture.
The Fijians didn’t waste time as they caught Australia napping early on taking, racing into the lead when an unorthodox penalty kick from Ben Volavola was backed up by a comprehensive Yato try.
By half time, Australia resistance was pegged back by another two penalties and Fiji enjoyed a 14-12 lead, and it got even worse for the Wallabies when Fiji centre Nayacalevu capitalised on a handling error and dived home unopposed.
Then, as the best teams often do, Australia got their act together. Four unanswered tries, two of which from Tolu Latu, and Australia came out the other side perhaps with a flattering scoreline, but a win and a bonus point to boot.
Brodie Retallick2. Fiji no whipping boys
Fiji look to have graduated from their previous role as mere entertainers. They gave Australia a genuine contest today.
That’s all despite the regular loss of talent the nation suffers as many of its best products decide to represent other nations.
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