by allyn freeman

In the big clash of round three, Ireland edged out South Africa, securing a Quarter Final match against New Zealand

Last week, the Rugby World Cup completed one third of the 48 tournament matches, and is on track to set new records in attendance. The World Rugby voting process that led to France being selected first chose South Africa as the venue for RWC 2023. But, in the second round of voting, more practical members realized that France, not South Africa, would offer greater revenue in ticket sales generated from larger capacity stadiums. And, to date, this has proved true with every venue a near sell out. The data from Round One confirm the success.

Match                          Stadium                       Attendance      %Capacity

France/New Zealand  Stade de France*        78,750                  98

Argentina/Georgia      Stade de France*        75,770                  95  

Japan/Chile                 Toulouse                     30,187                  91

Ireland/Romania         Bordeaux                    41,170                  98

S.Africa/Scotland       Marseille                     63,586                  95

England/Argentina      Marseille                     63,119                  94


            The estimate is that 2.5 million tickets will be sold for RWC 2023. A poll indicated that 72-percent of ticket holders will come with a family member, while 45-percent stated they would come with friends. More than 600,000 visitors are expected to visit France for the RWC. Specifically, 60 percent – or 360,000 – will come from the United Kingdom. The Home Countries of Wales, England, and Scotland have RWC teams participating. Travel to France is convenient by automobile, air, and, especially, via rail link (London to Paris) through the Chunnel on the Eurostar train

            Preliminary television statistics also reveal a significant increase in viewership both in France and internationally. Predictions are that about one billion viewers will watch the RWC throughout its many weeks of matches.  (By comparison, the last FIFA world cup in Qatar produced 1.5 billion global viewers for the more popular sport.)

            A probable, but not a guaranteed eight-team quarter final match up, follows:

            France versus South Africa

            Ireland versus New Zealand

            England versus Fiji

            Wales versus Argentina

Round Three – Recap

Ireland 13 – South Africa 8 – The battle of the top ranked powerhouses featured a close match marked by outstanding defensive play. Each side scored a try. Ireland kicked three penalties to one for the Springboks and that proved the difference. South Africa missed two  penalties, which, if converted, would have given them the win.

Wales 40 – Australia 6 – The headline: “Australia Hits Rock Bottom.”  This represented the largest defeat in the Wallabies RWC history. The television announcer summed up the calamity, “Australia is running out of heart. Running out of time. And running out of the World Cup.” Wales dominated all aspects of game. Wales substitute Gareth Anscombe scored 23 of the team’s 40 points. Wales became the first side to qualify for the quarter finals.

Italy 38 – Uruguay 17 – Italy achieved its sixth straight win over the South Americans, scoring six tries and picking up a Bonus Point. Uruguay’s Echevery scored a drop goal. One thousand Uruguayans filled three stands.

England 71 – Chile 0 – A mismatch from kickoff to final whistle. England’s Henry Arundell notched five tries. He is the leading try scorer in this RWC. Farrell hit all eight conversions for 16 points. The win all but assured England’s advancement into the quarter finals.

Georgia 18 – Portugal 18 – A spine tingling match between the finalists of the 2023 European Rugby Championship (won by Georgia). Portugal had never beaten Georgia in all past matches. Georgia went ahead 13-0. Os Lobos rallied in the second half to forge into the lead with two-minutes left to play. Then, Georgia scored a try and converted to tie the score at 18-18. Portugal’s last second penalty kick went wide.

France 90 – Namibia 0 – The main story from this rout was the injury to France’s Antoine Dupont, World Rugby’s Player of the Year. It is iffy that we will continue to play, a serious blow to France’s hopes for the title.

Argentina 19 – Samoa 10 – A scrappy Islander fifteen played Los Pumas equally for most of the match. Argentina, which finished third in the 2007 RWC, seems lethargic. The difference was four converted penalties to one.

Scotland 45 – Tonga 17 – Scotland ran in seven tries, many coming from the backline off of set scrums. The match showcased Scottish wingers who penetrated the Tonga defense. Scotland’s only chance for a quarter final berth is to upset Ireland.

Round Four Schedule

Wednes.,  September 27 . Uruguay vs. Namibia

Thursday, September 28 – Japan vs. Samoa

Friday,      September 29 – New Zealand vs. Italy

Saturday,  September 30 – Argentina vs. Chile, Fiji vs. Georgia, Scotland vs. Romania

Sunday,    October 1       –  Australia vs. Portugal, South Africa vs. Tonga

Final Note      

The Japanese fans dress in colorful costumes in traditional national themes. They face paint the Rising Sun flag, and also the flag of the opponent of the match.

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