Global tournaments are always special events and the Rugby World Cup is no different. We’re not even at the knockout stage yet and already this tournament has delivered in spades. 

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Off the pitch, the hosts have been superb, with locals embracing the teams they are hosting, mascots learning and delivering the anthems with gusto, and, of course, super-fan Bak-San. On the pitch, from underdog upsets to individual acts of brilliance, fans are being spoilt – and there’s so much more to come.

We take a look at the five most magical moments so far.

5 – Nasi Manu’s comeback

After being diagnosed with testicular cancer, the back rower made his return to international rugby in Tonga’s opening RWC game, when the announcement of his substitution was met with a standing ovation from those in the stadium. From being so weak from chemotherapy that he struggled to climb stairs, Manu is back in business and has achieved his dream of playing in a world cup. 

4 – Camille Lopez’ drop goal

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It’s since become clear that drop goals are very definitely back in this Rugby World Cup but that wasn’t obvious when Lopez nailed an insouciant, 38m effort to win the game for France against their pool rivals Argentina in the first weekend. It looked like momentum was shifting against France but Lopez’ effort reminded us all of the drop goal’s value, as well as reminding fans of the French glory days.

3 – Kenki Fukuoka scores to give Japan the lead against Ireland

Keen observers may have spent the build-up to this tournament telling anyone who would listen that Japan are no longer the upstarts of 2015 but this was the moment that proved it to the world and set the tournament alight. Fukuoka wasn’t even supposed to be in the matchday 23 originally but he took his moment nervelessly to announce the host’s arrival as a serious contender. 

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2 – Juan Manuel Gaminara’s interview

Any global tournament needs an underdog to really get things going and Gaminara delivered handsomely, leading his team to a surprise victory and giving a tearily proud post-match interview that would have moved the most gnarled of observers. Uruguay might still end up bottom of Pool D but their exploits against Fiji and the new fame of their captain could turbo-charge the game back home, as well as acquire them a legion of new fans.

1 – TJ Perenara’s try against Namibia

For all the fairytales and human moments that make a RWC memorable, it’s still about the rugby – the chance for the best players to execute their skills on a global stage. And my oh my, did Perenara deliver with New Zealand’s final try against Namibia. The break, the cheeky offload from Brad Weber, and then the breathtaking finish in the corner – it had everything you could want. Pure magic.

Watch: Matt Giteau and Mike Tindall predict their World Cup winners

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