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RWC 2023 – Round 2 talking points

Check out our talking points from the second round of Rugby World Cup action.

Faf de Klerk of South Africa
David Winter/Shutterstock

Check out our talking points from the second round of Rugby World Cup action.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Reinach, Mapimpi bag hattricks in Romania demolition job

Cobus Reinach and Makazole Mapimpi each scored a hattrick as South Africa blanked Romania 76-0 in Bordeaux on Sunday. While the scoreline was hardly unexpected, the defending champions deserve credit for the way they stuck to their structures and didn’t let up for the full eighty.

Despite the most recent loss of Malcolm Marx to injury, the camp are in a good space heading into their crunch pool clash with Ireland.

Along came Polly

As expected after the Marx news, Handre Pollard was named as the replacement with the 29-year-old flyhalf set to link up with the SA squad imminently. While Manie Libbok will still start at No 10 against the Irish, having Pollard’s experience in the camp will be a big boost for the side.

Having featured off the bench during Leicester’s 18-14 defeat of Sale Sharks in the Premiership Rugby Cup on Friday, the World Cup winner is seemingly well on his way to regaining full fitness.

Fearless Fiji blow Pool C wide open

Fiji produced an inspired performance to see off Australia 22-15 in Saint-Étienne on Sunday, with Pool C quarterfinal places now well and truly up for grabs. Wales recorded a 28-8 win over Portugal in Nice on Saturday and occupy top spot with 10-points, with the Pacific Islanders and Wallabies each locked on six.

With round three’s Wales v Australia showdown in Lyon still to come, there’s still everything to play for.

All going largely as expected so far

Despite the Fijian result, the round went largely according to plan with just Uruguay’s brave performance against France nearly earning them a spot in World Cup history before ultimately succumbing to a 12-27 loss in Villeneuve-d’Ascq.

Portugal and Chile produced fantastic showings against Wales and Samoa respectively before being outlasted, while the All Blacks, Ireland and England picked up comfortable wins.

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