Who’s hot and who’s not: Ireland win a classic, Wales stand up and Antoine Dupont’s injury

Planet Rugby
Split with Ireland captain Johnny Sexton and France captain Antoine Dupont.

Split with Ireland captain Johnny Sexton and France captain Antoine Dupont.

It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons after the weekend.


Ireland win brutal classic: What an 80 minutes it was in Paris on Saturday as Ireland and South Africa threw everything at each other in a brutal Rugby World Cup pool game. It was a match fitting of a final as the intensity, passion, atmosphere and quality on show amazed fans and viewers watching at the Stade de France and at home. Ireland came out on top in the end, winning 13-8, with their superior goal-kicking success rate proving key in the end. Don’t be surprised if these two nations meet again in the final on October 28, as they are special teams.

Henry Arundell fills his boots: It was a great day at the office for young Arundell against Chile on Saturday as he ran in five tries in their 71-0 victory. Most of his scores were relatively simple finishes, but that chip and regather was top-drawer as he, along with Marcus Smith at full-back, caught the eye in a ruthless effort. While the opposition needs to be taken into account, England’s attacking game finally clicked.

Wales and Gareth Anscombe: Much of the reaction to the final game of the round has been centred around Eddie Jones and Australia, but huge credit must to Wales, who have regained their edge under Warren Gatland, claiming a powerful 40-6 win. Gareth Anscombe was vital in that victory after replacing an injured Dan Biggar early on and going on to score 23 points, including six conversions, one drop-goal, one penalty and a try assist. It was a performance for the ages from him. Super from Wales, who are tracking well under their veteran coach.

Charles Ollivon and Damian Penaud records: The French were in a try-scoring mood on Thursday evening as they racked up 14 tries, including a penalty try, against Namibia. Ollivon was amongst the scorers as he grabbed a brace, which took him to 16 tries for his country, overtaking the great Olivier Magne as France’s top-scoring forward. Meanwhile, Penaud grabbed a hat-trick to take his Test tally to 33, the third most by a Les Bleus player, with Vincent Clerc (34) and Serge Blanco (38) in his sights. Both men are key to France’s World Cup hopes.

Stone Cold Cole: It is always brilliant to get a behind-the-scenes look at what the players get up to in camp, and England prop Joe Marler served up a treat when he shared a hilarious and superbly accurate video of front-row colleague Dan Cole imitating former WWE wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin. It is simply fantastic, with Leicester veteran  Cole perfecting the walk-and-drink smash to a tee. Have a watch of it!

Breakdown King Manuel Ardao: The Uruguay back-rower was simply fantastic in the clash against Italy as he did his best David Pocock impression, grabbing four turnovers in a masterful performance at the breakdown. The exceptional talent had fans clamouring and begging their clubs to sign up the back-rower, who will be joining the Miami Sharks in the MLR after the World Cup. Remember the name, Ardao.


Antoine Dupont injury: We all want to see the best players performing at the World Cup, and now the rugby world is collectively holding its breath as we wait to see how long the France captain will be sidelined. A horribly executed tackle ended his evening against Namibia and now puts him in doubt for the rest of the tournament. Dupont had surgery on Friday, but there has been no timescale on his return to action.

Online abuse for Johan Deysel: The man who made that tackle on Dupont has been the target of an array of vile online abuse. There was no malice in the Namibia captain’s tackle, which mattered little for the outcome of his sending off, but the messages and attacks he received certainly were malicious. Rugby fans will bang on about how they are better than football fans, but this certainly doesn’t prove it. Grow up.

Eddie Jones’ reported interview: On the eve of their crunch Pool C encounter against Wales in Lyon, the Wallabies camp was rocked by a report in the Sydney Morning Herald which alleged that their head coach, Eddie Jones, was interviewed on Zoom by Japanese officials on August 25 for the Brave Blossoms’ head coaching position which will become vacant when Jamie Joseph steps down from the role after the current Rugby World Cup. That was quite alarming as Jones only returned to the Wallabies at the start of the year after he signed a five-year contract which would take him to the end of the 2027 World Cup in Australia. Rugby Australia’s chief executive, Phil Waugh, dismissed the report, saying Jones had denied the allegation and that he takes Jones at his word, but it will be interesting to see how this story pans out.

Tonga’s shoulder-led hits: ‘Ikale Tahi suffered a 45-17 loss against Scotland in their Rugby World Cup match on Sunday, but the result was overshadowed by two illegal tackles from the Pacific Islanders. First, wing Afusipa Taumoepeau was only yellow carded in the 34th minute for a head-high tackle in which he was leading with his shoulder on Scotland’s Jamie Ritchie, who failed to return the field after failing his HIA. In the 77th minute, Tonga were reduced to 14 men again when Vaea Fifita went flying into a ruck and collided with Finn Russell’s head. He initially received a yellow card, but it was later upgraded to red. Taumoepeau is lucky that he didn’t suffer the same fate. 

Tight turnarounds and beatdowns: While World Rugby and tournament organisers have made strides to make the Rugby World Cup more competitive for Tier 2 sides, some have fallen through the cracks, notably Namibia, who wrap their pool stages games up in a 17-day period – in contrast, France play out their pool matches over 28 days. The African nation also entered the tournament with just seven Test matches under their belt since 2019. All this has led to them copping massive defeats to New Zealand and France in their first two games, while similarly, Romania have been soundly beaten. We hope the tournament in Australia in four years’ time will be better and teams are better prepared and given a more even playing field. Nobody enjoys seeing those big scorelines, even if France scored some stellar tries.

Australia close to World Cup exit: After their defeat to Fiji in their second World Cup fixture, the Wallabies could not afford another loss against Wales as it would put them in a precarious position in the Pool C standings, but that’s exactly what happened as they suffered a humiliating 40-6 negative. Eddie Jones’ troops were never at the races as they were outscored by three tries to none on Sunday, and they are now on course to miss out on a place in the quarter-finals at the World Cup for the first time in their history. The inquest has already started.

READ MORE: David Campese exclusive: Rugby Australia needs an overhaul after ‘one of the darkest days in Wallaby history’