The 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan came to an end just six months ago. It was arguably the tournament’s greatest edition to date and with rugby currently suspended the world over, it seems like a lifetime ago and world away from the situation the game finds itself in today.
Here, the PA news agency picks out five unforgettable moments from a memorable six weeks in Japan.
South Africa clinch a third World Cup triumph in style
The Springboks dominated England from the start and were in control of the final before Makazole Mapimpi added the gloss with a stunning try. A clever chip kick found outside centre Lukhanyo Am and his inside pass sent Mapimpi over for his sixth try of the tournament.
England stand up to the Haka
How to respond to the All Blacks’ Haka has been a conundrum for many teams. England’s tactic ahead of their semi-final was a V formation, the brainchild of head coach Eddie Jones. Mako Vunipola said: “We wanted to be respectful but we wanted to also make sure that they understood that we would be ready for the fight.” It worked perfectly, with Manu Tuilagi’s second-minute try setting the stage for a famous victory.
Japan pays its respects
The real final was not until this weekend but, for the home nation, their final came on October 13 when the last pool game against Scotland was able to be played despite the effects of Typhoon Hagibis. An impeccable minute’s silence and haunting rendition of the Japanese national anthem in tribute to all those affected preceded an historic 28-21 victory that sent Japan through to the quarter-finals for the first time.
Uruguay stun Fiji
Kamaishi, a city reborn after the devastating tsunami in 2011, unexpectedly witnessed one of the matches of the tournament. Uruguay had won only two World Cup matches in their history prior to their clash with Fiji, the last one 16 years ago. Boasting just 22 professional players, the South Americans upset the odds spectacularly with a 30-27 victory. The final whistle brought tears of happiness for the Uruguayans.
Ireland captain Rory Best is one of several players for whom this tournament spelled the end of a long international career. The hooker won more than 120 international caps, playing in two Grand Slam-winning teams. Emotion got the better of Best as he tried to conduct a post-match interview following defeat by New Zealand against the backdrop of a standing ovation.
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