Match Preview: NZ v Japan

Happier times in Cardiff

Mole’s greatest concern about hosting the RWC in NZ is: what happens if the All Blacks lose? A fanatical rugby public expects nothing less than victory. Anton Oliver compared last tournament’s exit to Passchendaele*. “It feels desolate, decay, the putrid smell of, I don’t know, death.” Steady on, old boy. What a cocktail for a good time! Continue reading

France v Japan Review

If you’d backed the underdog on the handicap so far in this tournament, you’d have done well. There are generally few surprising results in RWC games but a gradual levelling of standards has led to closer games. Japan were only four points down at one stage in the second half and got the crowd right behind them. France pulled away towards the end but failed to convince for long periods of the game. Continue reading

France v Japan Preview

Japan has a vibrant domestic league and was the main contender to New Zealand to host RWC 11. The decision to give the cup to the smaller country was made six years ago and the Mole thinks it was an opportunity missed. Japan is 10th most populous country in the world, with a staggering 127m people and 3rd largest economy in the world. Japan will host the 2019 tournament, by which time rugby, or the Sevens variation, will be an Olympic sport. Instead of introducing another Australian franchise to the Super 15, Mole believes that Tokyo should have got one team and Hong Kong another to make a sixteen team tournament. Teams could have been populated by a mix of Islanders, Argentinians, other imports and local talent. This would give the game massive exposure in two huge economies and introduce more crowds, sponsorship and interest. Continue reading