Rugby World Cup concludes third round

Sports writer Aiman Fariz Zaqwan Bin Akmal Hizman discusses the Rugby World Cup.
The third round of the 2023 Rugby World Cup has taken place, and teams are getting more competitive as they seek a spot in the knockout rounds. As the competition continues, the tournament has already witnessed additional records being set. However, half of the competitors can breathe a sigh of relief as they have already guaranteed themselves a spot in the knockout stages. Meanwhile, there are still a few teams harboring hopes of making it through in each section.
In Group A, Italy surged to second place after defeating Uruguay 38-17. Meanwhile, host France established a 2023 tournament record for the most points scored in a single game as they thrashed Namibia 96-0 in a 12-try showdown. The win solidified their position as the group leaders with 14 points, with Italy closely following at 10 points. Italy’s ascent to the second spot meant former champions New Zealand now slipped to third with five points.
Over in Group B, the highly anticipated battle of the favorites between the reigning champions, South Africa, and current world No. 1 Ireland, finished with a tight 8-13, a loss for the Springboks.
South Africa underwent a drastic change in their first XV, making a total of 13 changes, which notably included the return of their star scrum half, Faf de Klerk, and the reinstatement of Captain Siya Kolisi to the starting roster. The match kicked off with a dropkick from Ireland. Only five minutes into the game, a dangerous early tackle by Ireland’s Ryan Baird against South Africa’s lock, Pieter-Steph du Toit, resulted in a penalty kick being awarded to South Africa from the left side of the field. The kick was calmly converted by Manie Libbok, giving South Africa an early leading score of 3-0.
Ten minutes before the first half ended, Ireland played a quick offload following a ruck in the center, which released the Irish winger Mack Hansen to run unguarded into South Africa’s try zone. Irish captain Johnny Sexton proceeded to calmly convert the following conversion, putting the score at 3-7 in favor of Ireland.
Seven minutes into the second half, de Klerk initiated a quick offload to his backline following a Springboks scrum. A well executed long pass towards the sidelines freed up winger Cheslin Kolbe, who proceeded to sprint down the left flank to score South Africa’s first try of the match. However, the subsequent conversion attempt by Libbok veered slightly to the left of the goalpost. South Africa held a narrow one-point lead with the score standing at 8-7.
In the 58th minute, a foul from the Boks, called for collapsing the total, awarded a penalty kick to Ireland. Sexton made good use of this opportunity and was able to add three points to their score. In the 75th minute, another scrum foul resulted in an additional penalty kick opportunity, which Sexton was able to score off of once again, bringing the score to 8-13. Despite efforts from both teams, the score remained stagnant until the final whistle.
Another Group B fixture saw Scotland earn their first win, defeating Tonga 45-17. As it stands, Ireland leads at the top of Group B with 14 points, followed by South Africa in second with 10 points and Scotland in third with five points.
In Group C, Australia was left stunned after a shocking 40-6 loss to Wales. The win made Wales the first team to qualify for the knockout stages with 14 points, clearly at the top of Group C. Meanwhile Australia currently faces intense pressure as they find themselves on the brink of an early exit. They currently hold the third position, sharing six points with Fiji, who is in second place. The only hope for Australia to move onto the knockout stages is for Fiji to lose at least one match, though this would only prove useful if they can win the rest of theirs.
Over in the match between Group C underdogs Georgia and Portugal, the stage was set for another tournament record. The match ended at an 18-18 tie, thanks to a late try from Georgia’s Tengiz Zamtaradze just two minutes before the match ended. This outcome marked the 2023 tournament’s first-ever tie.
In Group D, England displayed their dominance in a 71-0 victory against Chile, while Japan clinched a narrow 26-22 win against Samoa.
As the competition heats up, anticipation is high as teams vie for a shot at the World Cup title. Fans will shift their attention towards the next round of Rugby World Cup, eager to see which teams will join Wales in the knockout stages.

Post Author: Aiman Akmal Hizam