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Eddie Jones: ‘This could be the World Cup that no one will ever forget’

By Finn Morton
Antoine Dupont of France salutes the supporters following the 2023 Summer International rugby match between France and Australia at Stade de France on August 27, 2023 in Saint-Denis near Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

With less than two weeks to go until the upcoming Rugby World Cup, Stade de France hosted an enthralling battle between Les Bleus and Australia on Sunday.

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The players came to play, and so did the fans.

Thousands filled the stands at the world-famous rugby venue, and they were in full voice for the entire 80 minutes – and half-time, as well. That unbelievable atmosphere set the stage for “the World Cup that no one will ever forget”

Earlier that weekend, Fiji made history on the field as they recorded their first-ever win over England in seven meetings. The Flying Fijians celebrated accordingly, and so did their fans in attendance at Twickenham.

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Fiji surged up two places to seventh on the World Rugby rankings, while Steve Borthwick’s England have fallen to eighth place. That result, along with some other surprises, shows how unpredictable Test rugby is ahead of next month’s World Cup.

Samoa were beating Ireland at half-time, South Africa dominated the previously undefeated 2023 All Blacks, and France put on a show against an improving Wallabies outfit.

“It’s really good to see… a country like Fiji go to Twickenham, beat England. It’s great for the competition, great for Fijian rugby,” coach Eddie Jones told reporters after the Wallabies’ 41-17 loss to Les Bleus.

“You come to this game today, which for both teams is a game to get ready for the World Cup. You’ve got 80,000 people, you’ve got a fantastic atmosphere, this could be the World Cup that no one will ever forget.

Points Flow Chart

Fiji win +8
Time in lead
37
Mins in lead
38
46%
% Of Game In Lead
48%
61%
Possession Last 10 min
39%
0
Points Last 10 min
7

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“Then you’ve got Fiji causing an upset over England at Twickenham which adds even more flavour to the competition. Samoa runs Ireland close.

“It’s great for World Rugby, great for Fiji, and I’m sure they get a lot of confidence out of it and great for the tournament mate.”

England struck first via the boot of playmaker George Ford, and added another five points to their tally a few minutes later with Jonny May crossing for a try.

For a team under pressure, it was an idyllic start in front of their home fans at the home of English Rugby.

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But tries to Waisea Nayacalevu, Vinaya Habosi and Simione Kuruvoli saw Fiji run away with it in the end. They led 8-20 with just over 20 minutes to play, and held on for a historic win.

“What a game, what a result beating England at Twickenham, and really a full-strength England as well,” New Zealand broadcaster James McOnie said on Weekend Sport with Jason Pine.

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“Obviously Owen Farrell (and Billy) Vunipola in the stands but wow, what a result.

“If you go back throughout history, yes Fiji have had some really great World Cup results, but even looking at Samoa going close to beating Ireland, this is the closest that the tier two nations have got since Western Samoa, as they were called, shocked the world in 1991.

“This is incredible just seeing those nations, and who knows what Tonga can do as well.”

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Comments

1 Comment
M
Muti Man 296 days ago

Eddie sure ain't going to forget this world cup...with him pulling a Jake White by enlisting a top coach from a rival team to assist in the campaign....

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