The tournament is over, but it was a gripping one. So, looking back I’ve picked the best and worse of the tournament.
The tournament’s first major incident came in the Japanese’s giant killing of South Africa. In a tough performance the underdogs snatched a late victory, and their joy was a feel good moment for everyone. Well, apart from South Africa.
Villain- Craig Joubert
If Japan’s win was the feel good zenith then Joubert provided the nadir. After a superb performance the Scots found themselves mere seconds from the semi-finals. In this kind of situation every decision matters and Joubert made a terrible one. He gave a penalty to Australia which was duly converted by Bernard Foley.
Now refereeing mistakes are going to happen but in the TMO Joubert had nowhere to hide. Going upstairs would have led him to give a scrum and Scotland could have won. Some felt he was hung out by his bosses, but there was no excuse. I’d avoid any holidays in the Highlands if I was him.
Villain- Bernard Foley
This may be a tad harsh but bear with me.
There are some kickers that strike dread into a fan’s heart. You know that anything in range is a guaranteed three points against you and your heart sinks at every penalty.
Foley is not one of those kickers. In a way he’s worse, because he can be painfully erratic and then click just when he needs to. He was far from perfect against Scotland but then pulled off a kick under considerable pressure to win the match.
Hero- Dan Biggar
When Leigh Halfpenny got injured before the tournament Welsh hearts sank. With a consistent and reliable points machine how would we cope?
Enter Dan Biggar, the twitching genius who kicked superbly. He played well throughout and his pre-kick ritual could be overlooked because it clearly worked.
Villain- Owen Farrell
After England’s early exit the main targets for criticism were coach Stuart Lancaster and captain Chris Robshaw, with Farrell escaping the blame he deserved.
Sure, he played well and got lots of points, but he let his team down badly. Australia were keeping England at bay, but the hosts were gaining some momentum. This stalled however as Farrell was sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle. They lost their best attacking asset and let Australia score another penalty, and after that it was all over.
Hero- This guy
Sorry, English readers, but it made me laugh.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.