There's been unforgettable rugby played in RWC2015. Contemplating in the bath tub after watching a truly magnificent final, it's time to reflect on what stood out for me.
It began with the truly shocking victory of Japan over the Springboks. It was first statement of RWC2015 that rugby is changing. More pace, more risk, more offloads, more skill, more entertainment. To their great credit, South Africa got the message, though still more dependent on the power game than they should be. Lot of big men in South Africa!
Then there was Wales. We had an amazing World Cup, bearing in mind the loss of key players. I will never understand how we managed to beat England from the position we were with 20 mins to go. And never understand how we failed to beat Australia, not scoring when they had only 13 men on the park. I've always believed every team (incl England, Japan, Welshpool 3rds) should take the points on offer. We didn't, and the Wallabies survived.
Nothing to be added to the failures of England and Ireland. They will both come back. Scotland had a fantastic RWC2015. Lucky in group draw, and actually beat Australia in the quarter final. The French referee will never be forgiven in Scotland. South Africa did ok, only losing in the semi to the best rugby side it's ever been my pleasure to watch. And Argentina were simply wonderful. My view is that the Pumas have had more impact on the game of rugby at RWC2015 than any other team. The pace, and offloading were breathless. A bit more accuracy and it's a small step to being amongst the very best. It's got to be the way to play.
And there was the final today. The All Blacks were magnificent. It would have utter sacrilege if the yellow card had allowed Australia to win. The Aussies should not have beaten Wales, did not beat Scotland, at times were run ragged by the Pumas, and were well beaten today. But they do have the most wonderful fighting spirit. Never beaten til they're beaten.
What can you say about the All Blacks. Richie McCaw has been my idol for many years. Perhaps the greatest rugby player ever. I suppose I was a 7 myself so biased. And Dan Carter. No-one else could have scored that drop goal. No-one else would have thought of it. And you just knew that 51yarder was going over. It's hard to accept that we may not see McCaw or Carter in the All Black shirt again. For those of us who love the game of rugby when played at it's best, we say thank you. We will never forget either of them. So it's goodbye RWC2015. It was a great spectacle. Roll on Japan in 2019.