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Rugby World Cup review: Who wins David Wallace’s tournament awards?

05 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Rugby World Cup review: Who wins David Wallace’s tournament awards?

The Betway ambassador selects the people and moments that made the tournament so special - and discusses how 2019 can be made even better

Best moment

I would have to go for Karne Hesketh’s try for Japan against South Africa to cause such a massive upset on the opening weekend.

The way that Japan had attacked and played throughout the game it was so fitting that they should win the game in that manner after turning down the penalty.

It inspired all of the second-tier teams to have the confidence to take on the best and really set the tone for the World Cup.

Best match

There were a few epic encounters but I will go for the final between New Zealand and Australia, just because of what it meant for the sport.

It has seemed recently that more and more teams are going down the juggernaut route of just running into guys, but for the two best attacking teams in the world to get to the final and produce such a great spectacle for rugby was fantastic to see.

World Cup finals have not always been the best games over the years, but with five tries this really was one to remember.

Best try

For me, the one that just shades it is the second try for Julian Savea’s in his hat-trick against France.

It all started with Dan Carter putting up a bomb which Ben Smith did fantastically well to collect in the air on the run, before spreading the ball wide for Savea to just blast over the top of three defenders.

It was so well executed and demonstrated such incredible finishing ability that it is hard to argue with that one.savea-franceBest player

This is a tricky one. David Pocock deservedly had a lot of plaudits after his performances but ultimately I think that it has to go to Dan Carter – he was just immense.

That hand off and flick out of the back of the hand to set up Savea’s first against France, the drop goal in the final against Australia to give them a bit of breathing space – he just showed so many moments of brilliance throughout.

After a tough couple of seasons following the last World Cup he really did show his class.

Unsung hero

In terms of an underdog player who really excelled himself while playing for one of the lesser nations I would go for Mamuka Gorgodze of Georgia.

He was the heartbeat of that side in terms of tackles and carries – he held most of the records in terms of statistics after the pool stages.

To be named as man of the match against the All Blacks sums up just how immense he was.gorgodzeEmerging star

There are a few that spring to mind – the likes of Nehe Milner-Skudder, Lood de Jager and Iain Henderson – but I am going to go for Santiago Cordero for Argentina.

He was absolutely electric on the wing and at least one of his three tries would be right up there for try of the tournament.

His performances just typified the way that Argentina looked to attack at every opportunity.

Best coach

It is hard to argue with either Steve Hansen or Eddie Jones but I am going to plump for Michael Cheika.

When he took over the job just a year ago Australia were a dysfunctional group who were under a lot of pressure both on and off the pitch but he has clearly created a really positive team environment.

He has fixed the Wallabies’ weaknesses up front while also developing a really exciting team to watch so he probably just shades it.cheika-happySurprise package

That is a no-brainer, it has got to go to Japan.

They were so unfortunate to be the first team to win three games and still not qualify for the knock-out stages but they can still take a lot of heart from their performance.

They clearly captured the imagination of people back home with around 25 million people tuning in to watch their games and it sets up them hosting the tournament in 2019 perfectly.

Biggest disappointment

For me personally it would have to be Ireland’s exit to Argentina in the quarter-final.

Following the massive high of beating France to top the pool the week before it was always going to be a tough ask to reach the same levels both emotionally and physically a few days later.

However, it was the number of injuries that Ireland suffered that was the most disappointing aspect since they really did have the heart ripped out of their team for such an important match.

Lesson learned

We need to avoid the sort of situation that we had in the quarter-final between Australia and Scotland where such an important decision can go the wrong way and become a travesty.

I would like to see the introduction of something like the rule in American Football that allows a coach to throw a flag on the field or the option in cricket for a captain to review a decision he feels the referee has either got wrong or not seen properly.

You do not want the referee going to the TMO every two minutes, you could limit it to maybe one referral per half upon request.

That last score of the game is more often than not the most important one, so if we can use television to make officiating more accurate then we should try and do it.

READ: Rugby World Cup review: Who wins Mike Tindall’s tournament awards?

READ: Which players took the Rugby World Cup by storm to earn a spot in our Tournament XV?

READ: Alex Spink: Why we will not quickly forget the 2015 Rugby World Cup