The 2015 Rugby World Cup is currently underway in England. Of the sixteen original teams that qualified, Australia, Wales, South Africa, Scotland, New Zealand, Argentina, Ireland and France made it to the knockout rounds. Host nation England was eliminated and Japan, despite a sensational upset win over South Africa in their opening pool game, just barely failed to make the next round despite having the same won-loss record as South Africa and Scotland.
In the quarter final round, South Africa beat Wales 23-19, Argentina beat Ireland 43-20, New Zealand trounced France 62-13 and today Australia beat Scotland 35-34 in an exciting game in which the lead changed sides four times, with Australia grabbing it in the final 30 seconds.
In the semi-finals, South Africa plays New Zealand on the 24th and Australia plays Argentina on the 25th. The losers will play for third place on Saturday and the championship game will be on Sunday, October 31st.
Below is a clip of five excellent tries during the tournament. For American football fans, a ‘try’ is the equivalent of a touchdown except that the score only occurs when the player actually touches the ground with the ball, unlike in American football where the ball only has to cross the plane of the goal line. Each try scores five points. Penalty goals count for just three points.
Another important difference is that the kick for two extra points following a try must be taken along the line where the ball is touched down. So players scoring a try attempt to get as close to the goal posts as possible before touching the ball down in order to give the extra points kicker an easier straight shot through the goals posts. But these kickers are really good and will often nail it even when they have to do so from close to the sidelines where the angle is acute and the distance greater.
Watching these five tries gives you a sense of how fast-paced the game of rugby is.