The USA kept the French honest for much of their match today, trailing by only three points with 15 minutes left to play, but three late tries put a gloss on a score line that didn’t really reflect how close the encounter was.
In the late game, the All Blacks returned to the fray with a nine-try 63-0 demolition of Canada, with Richie Mo’unga registering a perfect record on conversions. They look likely to sail into the quarter finals barely breaking a sweat.
The New Zealand team are best known for their world famous Haka, but it should not be forgotten that all Pacific Island nations also have their own versions. In fact, some Maori claim that New Zealand doing the Haka is tantamount to cultural appropriation.
It’s not just traditions that are being appropriated though, as all Tier 1 rugby nations, most notably New Zealand, do their best to lure promising Pacific Islanders to play for their national sides. This has led to a huge drain in talent from the islands of Tonga, Fiji and Samoa, who provide around 20% of all rugby players in the world.
World Rugby has come in for a lot of criticism over this issue and the lack of resources and support to the countries that contribute so much to the game should be a source of embarrassment. At the very least, nationality regulations need to be tightened to prevent the best young talent being coaxed overseas for money.
If a sudden desire to perform the haka outside grabs you in Japan, you can now do so within the confines of the law, as Japan lifted its ban on dancing in public spaces in 2015. Prior to that, the only places you could dance were commercial spaces that had to pay for a dancing licence.
Even in these licensed places, however, you could only dance until midnight as your fairy godmother’s spell would wear off and your carriage would turn into a pumpkin. Well, that’s the only sensible explanation I can think of anyway.
Georgia are back in action tomorrow for a must-win showdown with Fiji, and they know a thing or two about dancing as well. I’ve yet to see anything more impressive than the leaping, bounding and spinning that natives of Saqartvelo can produce. I’d love to see the All Blacks facing off against these guys, also dressed in black.
France 33-9 USA (Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka)
New Zealand 63-0 Canada (Oita Stadium, Oita)
Georgia vs Fiji (1415 JST) (Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka)
Ireland vs Russia (1915 JST) (Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe)
Expression of the day
踊るのが好きですか？ (odoru no ga suki desu ka)
Do you like dancing?
Previous Day Next Day