RWC 2023 R3: Ireland prevail, tier 2 thriller and Australia are out
The third round of Rugby World Cup 2023 lived up to its billing, delivering some classic matches and plenty of talking points. Top ranked Ireland fronted up to defeat champions South Africa, Georgia and Portugal played out a thrilling draw, and Wales effectively knocked the Wallabies out of the competition. Elsewhere, the tournament faced a sombre note as France’s star player and captain, Antoine Dupont, suffered a horrible injury against Namibia, eliminating him from the tournament for the next few weeks.
Here’s a quick look at how it all unfolded in another fascinating round.
Italy vs Uruguay 38-17
Italy secured their second Pool A victory by rallying from a 17-7 deficit to defeat Uruguay 38-17 at Stade de Nice. Italy’s second-half comeback included four tries, earning them a crucial bonus point. Despite an untidy first half, Italy emerged victorious, while Uruguay targeted this match for Rugby World Cup 2027 qualification. Next up for Italy though, it’s the All Blacks.
France vs Namibia 96-0
The hosts dominated Namibia with a staggering 14 tries, securing a bonus-point 96-0 victory at Stade de Marseille in Pool A. Damian Penaud’s hat-trick elevated him to third in France’s all-time tryscorers list, while Jonathan Danty and Charles Ollivon each scored twice. Fullback Thomas Ramos contributed 24 points with the boot in another great performance, but concern arose as captain Antoine Dupont left after a heavy knock, which has since been confirmed rules him out for at least the next few weeks. France remains unbeaten at Rugby World Cup 2023.
Argentina vs Samoa 19-10
Emiliano Boffelli led Los Pumas to their first Rugby World Cup 2023 victory, defeating Samoa 19-10 in Pool D at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Argentina dominated the first half, leading 13-3 at halftime. Samoa’s spirited defense and late try kept them in the game, but a long-range penalty from Nicolas Sanchez sealed the win for Argentina. Boffelli, named Mastercard Player of the Match, scored all but three of Argentina’s points. They face South American neighbours Chile next.
England vs Chile 71-0
In a display that will give them plenty of confidence, England secured their third Pool D victory at the Rugby World Cup 2023, overpowering Chile with an impressive 11 tries to nil at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille. Henry Arundell shone with five tries, as England welcomed back captain Owen Farrell from suspension. Arundell credited his teammates for his remarkable performance, while Chile’s captain, Martin Sigren, acknowledged the steep learning curve. England face a tougher test up next, as Samoa await on October 7th.
Georgia vs Portugal 18-18
Georgia and Portugal delivered a Rugby World Cup 2023 thriller, ending in an 18-18 draw at Stadium de Toulouse in Pool C. Portugal’s Raffaele Storti seemed to secure their first World Cup win with two tries, but Georgia’s Tengizi Zamtaradze equalized late. Both Georgia and Portugal missed last-gasp kicks that could have sealed the win. Portugal’s fly-half Jerónimo Portela praised their historic performance, while Georgia’s coach acknowledged missed opportunities. It was arguably one of the most exciting games of the weekend.
South Africa vs Ireland 8-13
In a match the felt more like a final than a pool game, Ireland clinched a narrow 13-8 victory over reigning champions South Africa at Stade de France in Pool B. Manie Libbok’s early penalty gave South Africa the lead, but Bundee Aki’s powerful midfield presence helped to turn the tide for Ireland. James Lowe set up a Mack Hansen try, while Cheslin Kolbe responded for South Africa. Johnny Sexton’s penalty and Jack Crowley’s late kick sealed Ireland’s hard-fought win, while the Springboks were left to rue their missed opportunities, particularly 11 points that went wide with the boot.
Scotland vs Tonga 45-17
Scotland secured a crucial 45-17 bonus-point win against Tonga in a fierce Pool B battle at Stade de Nice, keeping their quarter-final hopes alive. George Turner’s early try set the tone, but Tonga responded. Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn added quick tries and Rory Darge secured the bonus point. Tonga’s Ben Tameifuna narrowed the gap, but Scotland sealed the win with additional tries. Van der Merwe praised the game’s physicality, and stand-in captain Finn Russell acknowledged the need for improvement. Tonga’s captain, Tameifuna, recognized the challenge of facing top-tier teams, with coach Toutai Kefu looking ahead to their next match, against South Africa.
Wales vs Australia 40-6
In a historic performance, Wales thumped Australia in the crucial Pool C clash at OL Stadium. Australia, facing their first-ever pool stage exit, struggled to match Wales’ intensity. Despite losing Dan Biggar to injury, Wales dominated, securing a spot in the quarter-finals. Gareth Anscombe’s standout performance and a resilient team effort sealed Wales’ famous win. Eddie Jones and the Wallabies will now have to play Portugal to complete their Pool matches, but leave the tournament before the knockouts for the first time in their history.
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