Owen Farrell This is one beautiful addon!
OPINION:The Rugby World Cup served up a variety of fare in Japan.
Sure, there was some slop. You were always going to get humdrum games, and officials acting like self-important ninnies at these events.
Then there was the good stuff. Excellent tries and shock results on the field, excellent food and polite hosts off it.
Of course no tournament is without its share of controversies. Japan didn’t disappoint on that front either. Here’s an assortment of dramas that were served up over seven weeks.
1Michael Cheika’s Wallabies departed Japan before the semifinal stage, but kept the news wires buzzing in the weeks that followed.
That’s not a good thing for a coach sent packing so early from a World Cup, although Cheika never seemed too fussed about blowing up if he felt the need.
Cheika kicked off early in the tournament, starting with the suspension of wing Reece Hodge when he was banned for three weeks for a high tackle in a pool match against Fiji.
His mood didn’t improve, either, when midfielder Samu Kerevi was carrying the ball and got penalised for lifting his arm into the throat of first five-eighth Rhys Patchell during the crucial pool game against Wales. The Wallabies lost 29-25.
Cheika certainly had a point, although whingeing was never going to win him the PR war.
When the Wallabies lost to England in their quarterfinal, everything hit the fan; Cheika peeled back the covers on his uneasy relationship with Australian Rugby Union CEO Raelene Castle and ARU chairman Cameron Clyne.
A couple of weeks later it was revealed Cheika, who had already announced his resignation, and Castle had clashed during a visit to the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.
Later Castle wrote a letter of apology to World Rugby after the Japanese organising committee, and some high ranking officials, expressed concerns about the behaviour of some members of the Wallabies travelling crew, including Cheika.
2Typhoon Hagibis created mayhem in parts of Japan, resulting in more than 70 people losing their lives and thousands being without power or water.
Given the gravity of the issue, it seemed selfish to focus on sport. World Rugby still had a tournament to run, however, and in the interests of safety elected to cancel several of final pool games including the fixture between the All Blacks and Italy in Toyota.
It wasn’t a popular call, especially among the Italians who shed tears and said such a decision wouldn’t have been made if it was the All Blacks, not Italy, who needed a win to qualify for the quarterfinal.
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