After the fanfare and the hype of the opening has faded, the real work begins for all of the teams at RWC 2019.
Hosts Japan are two for two after a victorious opening match against Russia and of course, the memorable “Shock in Shizuoka” defeat of Ireland 19-12. Uruguay managed to provide a thrilling performance in the tournament, pipping Fiji 30-27 and giving them their first victory in the RWC since 2003 when they defeated Georgia. Amidst numerous online and social media questioning regarding some of the refereeing in the game, Wales outplayed Australia to hand them a 29-25 defeat in their pool match.
The drama and suspense for players and fans alike will continue for just a little over a month until the Finals to be held in Yokohama on 2 November and although there are sure to be countless more showing of superb Rugby, we take a quick look at some interesting statistics so far.
Although All Black number 10 Richie Mo’unga is the current highest points scorer with 26 points scored, Yu Tamura of Japan is a close 2nd with 22 points and Tamura is also the current leading penalty scorer having successfully kicked six so far. Mo’unga however, has kicked the most conversions with ten of them chalked up over two games.
Julian Montoya of Argentina is the current leading try scorer with four tries followed by Kotaro Matsushima on three and several players from Samoa to England, South Africa to Italy, Tonga to France all on two.
TJ Ioane of Samoa is accredited with 40 tackles over two games, an incredible 93% success rate! Behind him is Shota Horie with 35 tackles followed by Pieter Labushagne and James Moore, each with 34.
Ten yellow cards and three red cards have been issued so far in this 2019 tournament. Samoa have been issued three yellows and one red.
Italy have outscored favourites All Blacks, leading the current points table with 95 points to the AB’s 86. England are third on 80, Wales fourth on 72 and South Africa on 70. Italy has also scored the most tries with 14 tries after two games, while England and New Zealand are tied with 11 tries each.
New Zealand lead the clean breaks table with 47, while Australia has made the most runs so far with 312. In a testament to their defensive resilience, the USA top the tackles table with 317 made over just two games against England and France. With the knockout phases still yet to come, the 2019 Rugby World Cup will still keep fans on the edge of their seats for the next few weeks. The statistics are sure to change but at the end of it all, what is most important will be who lifts up the Webb-Ellis trophy as RWC Champions this time around…