Welcome to the first of EX’s updates from the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England – and what a cracking opening weekend of the tournament it was. Here are a few of the things we saw, learnt and loved from games 1 through 8, complete with our checklist of some great places to watch all the action in Singapore.
BEWARE THE UNDERDOGS!
“Unexpected” would be putting it mildly. In fact, some have called it the biggest upset in any sport, ever! Japan’s astonishing 34-32 victory over South Africa, their first win in a World Cup for 24 years, was thoroughly deserved – let’s not forget, after all, that this was the most experienced Test side ever fielded by the Springboks. What we loved most was the Brave Blossoms’ refusal to settle for a draw via penalty kicks twice in the final five minutes, a strategy that paid off when New Zealand-born Karne Hesketh crashed over in the corner to seal the miracle win.
And South Africa weren’t the only former World Cup champions to feel the pressure from a rugby minnow. Argentina pushed the All Blacks all the way at Wembley on Sunday, with the Pumas leading by four points with 25 minutes to play. New Zealand proved too classy in the end, running out winners by 26-16, but the result – not to mention Richie McCaw’s ill-disciplined yellow card for a tripping offence – suggests it won’t all be plain sailing for the Cup holders.
“POOL OF DEATH” UPDATE
If the Wallabies were hoping for an early stumble by England or Wales to make their passage through the RWC a little easier, it didn’t happen. In fact, while you’d hardly say that either side was convincing in their wins over Fiji (35-11) and Uruguay (54-9), they did both pick up the all-important bonus point, putting even more pressure on the Aussies ahead of their tricky opening encounter with Fiji (Wednesday night / Thursday morning, Singapore time).
EX watched Sam Burgess bludgeon his way to a memorable man-of-the-match performance for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in last year’s NRL Grand Final, and in view of that effort we weren’t surprised to see him make an impact when he came on for the final 20 minutes of England’s opening game. With head coach Stuart Lancaster hinting at changes to the English lineup for the vital matchup with Wales at Twickenham on Saturday, Burgess is now firmly in the frame as a potential match-winner.
BEST RWC-RELATED TWEET SO FAR
All kinds of people were weighing in on the Japan win over South Africa – even this famous children’s author …
BEST MOMENT OF THE OPENING CEREMONY
Prince Harry’s turn as a peasant gardener.
Keep your finger on the pulse and track the current standings at the RugbyWorldCup.com.
WHERE TO WATCH THE GAMES IN SINGAPORE
Boomarang Bistro & Bar
60 Robertson Quay, #01-15 The Quayside | 6738 1077
For a weekly update of all the RWC action and other sports coverage at this ever-popular Aussie-flavoured bar and resto right on the river at Robbo Quay, sign up for regular email updates of the Boomarang Sports Bible.
Fern & Kiwi
3C River Valley Road, #01-02/03 The Cannery Clarke Quay | 6336 2271
If all the sporting action on the screens of this All Black-barracking bar is giving you a hunger, you’ll be happy to know that rugby even figures in the food choices here, with the bar’s renowned Haka Burger proclaimed as “the biggest, baddest burger in town”.
3E River Valley Road, #01-07 Clarke Quay | 6339 5707
If the Romania vs Canada game isn’t proving as exciting as you thought it was going to be, you can always have a crack at the G-MAX Reverse Bungy, just a stone’s throw away from the booze-fuelled Bungy Bar at Clarke Quay.
28 Boat Quay and other outlets | 6538 3029
Sport figures heavily at every Harry’s Bar across the island, and the Rugby World Cup is no exception. Be sure to check the website to see which of the outlets are showing particular games – it varies from venue to venue.
111 Somerset Road, #01-02 TripleOne Somerset, Singapore, 238164 | 6735 0400
There are screens galore at Muddy Murphy’s, so you can “multi-task” with your sport watching. Don’t miss the RWC lucky draw, with official World Cup rugby balls and other prizes to be won, just by spending $50 at the pub. See the Facebook page for details.