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

04 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Rugby World Cup review: Who wins Mike Tindall’s tournament awards?

The Betway ambassador chooses his favourite moments and players from the tournament, and discusses what lessons we can learn for 2019

Best moment

The moment that really launched the Rugby World Cup on the opening weekend was Karne Hesketh’s last-minute try for Japan against South Africa.

It took a lot of bravery for Michael Leitch to back himself by overruling Eddie Jones’ order to kick for the posts and go for the corner.

To then see that rewarded seven or eight phases later as they went over in the corner to win the game was really something special.

Best match

Is a close call but I will go for Australia versus Scotland in the quarter-final.

I was at Twickenham to witness it and it was just pure drama from start to finish.

Nobody gave Scotland a chance but in typical Scottish fashion they fought to the very end and were unfortunately pipped to the post.

If only they had won their own line-out it could have been so different!

Best try

Just for the magnitude of the score I am going for Ma’a Nonu against Australia in the final.

Sonny Bill Williams is the ultimate super sub and he had barely been on the pitch for a minute when he caught everybody out with that offload to create the gap. 

Nonu showed a great step, genuine foot speed to get to the line and read Kurtley Beale perfectly in terms of attacking his weaker shoulder – it was a masterclass in clinical finishing.nonuBest player

For me, the player of the tournament was without doubt David Pocock, he was just incredible.

I think Australia had 26 turnovers throughout the World Cup and he won 17 of them.

Nobody has managed to get close to him in their own right, which just shows the new level that he has reached in terms of breakdown work.

Michael Hooper and Scott Fardy played a big role, but Pocock was the main reason why Australia were so hard to beat.

Unsung hero

I think somebody that is going to go away from this tournament with a huge amount of credit is the Japan full-back Ayumu Goromaru.

Not only with his excellent goal-kicking to put the points on the board but also the way that he played such a leading role in Japan’s fearless play.

It was he who scored Japan’s second try against South Africa, where his running line carved a world class defence wide open.goromaruEmerging star

The one that immediately jumps to mind is Nehe Milner-Skudder.

The All Blacks are so consistently excellent that they are a very tough team to stand out in, but he still managed to do so in every single game that he played.

He just looks such a constant threat with his lightning pace and mesmerising step.

He could definitely go on Strictly Come Dancing with those feet – they are just outrageous!

Best coach

I would say that Michael Cheika probably edges it in terms of how much he has achieved in just one year by turning Australia from a team in disarray to reaching a World Cup final.

He has taken no nonsense in making it possible for Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau to return to the fold and has a squad that now plays like their lives depend on it.

He really has done a fantastic job, although Daniel Hourcade deserves a special mention for what he has done with Argentina.cheikaSurprise package

I think you have got to go for Japan who became the first team to win three games in a World Cup and not qualify for the knock-out stages.

That victory over South Africa was not just the biggest upset in rugby, but arguably in the entire history of sport.

It was only in 1995 that they conceded 145 points against New Zealand, and now they are the team that everybody is talking about.

With them hosting the World Cup in 2019 they now have a tremendous opportunity to capitalise on that success.

Biggest disappointment

My biggest disappointment was probably the refereeing and over-use of the TMO, which unfortunately at times took the limelight away from what was cracking rugby throughout.

It started poorly with the opening game where each half took around 53 minutes to complete and it just went on from there.

It did get better but it is still a concept that we need to keep developing to ensure that it is less intrusive during a game.

Lesson to learn

I would like to see the game move forward in the same way that tennis and cricket have done to allow each captain two chances to review a referee’s decision that he does not feel is correct and could have an impact on the result.

I imagine it would hardly ever be used, but should be there to avoid decisions unfairly costing teams like the crucial offside decision against Scotland.

Another example would be the last-minute penalty Australia were awarded in the 2003 World Cup final, as with hindsight it should really have only been a reset scrum.

Then we could all have been spared the stress of extra-time!   

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

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