South Africa vs Tonga, England vs Samoa, Argentina vs Namibia

South Africa vs Tonga, England vs Samoa, Argentina vs Namibia


Islanders do themselves proud

Yesterday Tonga and Samoa brought some good old fashioned passion and excitement to the Rugby World Cup, while Argentina continued to justify their new world ranking. Here are the scores and a few thoughts on the games.

South Africa 30
Tongan torpedos 25

Tonga came within a gnat’s chuff of recording probably the biggest ever world cup upset. Had their final chip and chase of the day not taken a hard right turn on the bounce, they would be topping the group.

The Boks started off believing this was going to be a training run and found themselves 7-10 down in the forty-ninth minute. This seemed to kick-start them into action and, having run in some quick full-length tries to get the score up to 27-10, they decided to try and defend out the match. But when Habana was binned for a professional foul, the Tongans scented blood and exploited their extra man by upping their attacks out wide, scoring two excellent tries in eight minutes; 27-22.

This was followed by a penalty from both sides, with the Tongans receiving the last kick off. The boys in red gave it all they had and but for an inch or two would have been deservedly home and hosed in the corner.

SOUTH AFRICA 30 (Ruan Pienaar 2, Juan Smith, Bobby Skinstad tries; Andre Pretorius con, Percy Montgomery pen con, Francois Steyn pen) bt TONGA 25 (Kisi Pulu, Sukanaivalu Hufanga, Viliami Vaki tries; Pierre Hola 2 pens, 2 cons)

England 44
Samoa 22

This is one of those score-lines that misrepresents the game, for with only 10 minutes to play, the scoreline was a much tighter 26-22, and bizarrely the last pommy try was given in the 83rd minute, following line-out in the 82nd.

Yet again the poms suffered glaringly in two key areas. The back-line penetration was missing until Sackey found space to create and score the last two tries, and the break-down was a shambles once more. Easter ran well, but Corry is a donkey and Worsley simply not an openside.

While Samoa was inventive and incisive through the backs, their forwards got monstered in the set piece. If Samoa could have just taken their fair share of line-out and scrum ball, the scoreline may well have been reversed.

ENGLAND 44 (Martin Corry 2, Paul Sackey 2 tries; Jonny Wilkinson 4 pens, 3 cons, 2 drop goals) bt SAMOA 22 (Junior Polu try; Loki Crichton 5pen, con).

Argentina 63
Namibia 3

I’ll confess that I didn’t see too much of this one, but Argentina showed that they can also run in some tries with 9 altogether.

This of course gives them a bonus point while they stay at the top of the group of death . Ireland’s chances are all but gone now, and should the Argies not stumble too much, it’ll be France to face the Kiwi’s at the quarters in Wales. Who would have figured this?

ARGENTINA 63 (Juan Manuel Leguizamon 2, Rodrigo Roncero, Manuel Contepomi, Felipe Contepomi, Gonzalo Tiesi, Ignacio Corleto, Federico Todeschini tries, penalty try; Felipe Contepomi 4 cons, 2 pens, Federico Todeschini 2 cons) bt NAMIBIA 3 (Tertius Losper pen)


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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