Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Rugby World Cup News: Week 9

Rugby World Cup News: Week 9

Darry Worthington takes a look at the major news stories after the opening weekend of Rugby World Cup action.

The Rugby World Cup got underway this weekend and there were some major talking points following the opening weekend of games including some appalling referring as well as some magic from the minnow sides.

Photo Copyright Steve Haag Sports Hollywoodbets

Minnows Mixing It Up
While the blockbuster clashes between New Zealand and South African and Argentina and France were spectacular, the minnows also provided some great entertainment with Russia, Fiji and Namibia all putting in solid shifts against some big-name sides.

All three of the aforementioned minnows eventually succumbed to defeats in excess of 15 points but they gave great accounts of themselves with the Fijians, in particular, impressing against Australia.

Questionable Referring?
While it may sound like sour grapes, South African fans will still be cursing the manner in which French referee Jerome Garces officiated the scrum and breakdown in the 'Boks opener against New Zealand.

The veteran French ref heavily seemed to have no clue when it came to scrum time officiating as he penalized the South African front row on a number of occasions despite the 'Boks seemingly having the ascendancy in this facet of the game.

Hopefully, Garces gets nowhere near a semi-final fixture as he is just not up to the task of overseeing a high-level fixture.

Japan Welcome Rugby With Open Arms
It was great to see the locals adorned in all sorts of rugby regalia during the opening weekend of the tournament. The Japanese have truly embraced the oval ball game with all most every fixture being a sell-out.

Howley's Howler
Veteran Welsh attack coach, Rob Howley, was sent home this past week after it emerged the former scrumhalf had been breaching IRB rules by placing bets on international rugby fixtures.

Howley is a long-standing member f Warren Gatland's coaching staff and his exit is a massive blow for the Dragons. He will be replaced by ex-Welsh international, Stephen Jones.

Nyakane On His Way Home 
It was a sad old night out in Japan for Bulls' prop Trevor Nyakane who sustained a tournament ending injury. The big man has been replaced in the squad by Sharks prop Thomas du Toit who was on a short-term loan deal with French Top 14 champions Toulouse.

Nyakane wasn't the only player to have his World cup dreams shattered in the opening round with Scotland flanker Hamish Watson and French centre Wesley Fofana both ruled out of the tournament.

Hodge Faces Anxious Wait
Australian utility back, Reece Hodge, will face a tribunal on Wednesday with the Wallaby facing a lengthy ban for a tackle on Fijian forward Peceli Yato. While there was no real malice in the hits, Hodge didn't use his arms and if the four-man committee play it to the letter of the law then the mercurial talent may find himself on the sidelines for a lengthy period.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets