South Africa 17, Wales 16 in Wellington (World Cup, Pool D)
Australia 32, Italy 6 in Albany (World Cup, Pool C)
Ireland 22, United States 10 in New Plymouth (World Cup, Pool C)
BrieflyJust how much excitement can we take! I watched the SA v Wales game on TV last night after coming in from the Australia-Italy game. I watched the SA-Wales game live here on Maori TV with my ma-in-law. She NEVER watches the rugby but boy did we get excited watching this game. It was well past her bed-time when the game ended but we were both carrying on willing the Welsh (sorry SA supporters) underdogs to win. A win to Wales would have thrown this already open pool into wide-open status. Alas, South Africa dug deep into their reserves and with fresh replacement legs they scored an excellent try to win the game. After the game I was so tired I just went to bed!
I saw the Australia-Italy game. The match didn't quite have the same passion as the France-Japan game yesterday. The Italians in the crowd were certainly passionate and the New Zealanders certainly supported them. I have found the NZ crowds will support ANY team playing South Africa, Australia and England, especially the Australians. When it comes to rugby no love lost!
Australia deserved to win. They weren't brilliant but then neither were the Italians. Italy did well to be level 6-6 at halftime but the Australians wore them down in the second half to run away with the game. The main difference was in the backline. The Australians were just too slick. The Australian forward pack has certainly matured in the last year as I thought they held, and at times dominated, in the forwards. The Italian backs were too pedestrian, too predictable. Boy do they really need players with some skill and flare to compliment their forwards.
The other game yesterday, USA v Ireland, I didn't see but I understand the USA did well, gave the Irish a bit of a fright and commanded respect. This is what we have seen so far. Minor nations giving biff to teams well above their own ranking. Namibia commanded respect when they played Fiji on Saturday.