The Rugby World Cup is the sport’s biggest event and teams spend years building up to become a global showpiece, making every point mean that much more. Several players have started their campaign with a flawless tee shot, but none have hit as many successful shots as Italy’s Tomasso Allan, who holed all eight of his shots in his side’s dominant win over Namibia.
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England’s hero against Argentina, George Ford, had a flawless day from the tee, hitting six shots on target to complement his three goals conceded. Brave Blossoms key player Rikiya Matsuda repeated his 6/6 performance from the tee against Chile.
Three other players managed 100% tee times, but with noticeably fewer attempts: Fijian Frank Lomani made it 2/2, while Scot Finn Russell and Georgian Tedo Abzhandadze scored their only shots.
In the opening weekend of the Rugby World Cup, this group of players scored 70% or better. Ireland’s Johnny Sexton was nearly perfect, scoring 87.5% for 7/8, all of which were converted as his side ran riot against Romania. It was a dream first start as a fullback for Wallabies star Ben Donaldson, who was nearly flawless off the tee, missing just one of his seven attempts at an impressive 85.7% to add to his pair of tries.
Rounding out the category was Welshman Dan Biggar, who converted 71.4% of his shots on goal, equating to 5/7, which proved instrumental in keeping Fiji within striking distance.
The rest of the goalies fall into the same category, led by the duo expected to be at the top of the list. France defender Thomas Ramos was unusually cold from the field for his high standards, scoring 6/9 at 67%. So did the typically brilliant Argentine Emiliano Boffelli, who scored the same percentage but at 2/3.
Next in line is Springboks scrum-half Faf de Klerk after taking over kicking duties from Many Libbock. Livewire managed 50%, making 1/2; The same statistics were shared by three more players – Romanian Gabriel Rupanu, Georgian Luka Matkava and Chilean Santiago Videla.
Despite lighting up the attack with a lackluster cross-shot, Libbock struggled off the tee, making 2/5 for 40%. All-black Richie Mo’unga was surprisingly inaccurate against France, converting just one of his three attempts for 33%, while Namibia’s Tiaan Swanepoel and Fiji’s Teti Tela were equal.
Rugby World Cup 2023 – Dan Biggar rested as Wales make 13 changes for next clash
Warren Gatland opted to make 13 changes to his squad to face Fiji; Louis Rees-Zammit and Taulupe Faletau are the only players remaining in the starting line-up; Wales will continue their Rugby World Cup campaign against Portugal in Group C on Saturday (4.45pm UK time);
Dan Biggar has given Wales head coach Warren Gatland a rest as he makes 13 changes to his squad to face Portugal in the second match of the Rugby World Cup.
Louis Rees-Zammit and Taulupe Faletau are the only players remaining in the starting line-up from Wales’ opening match against Fiji, while Leigh Halfpenny has emerged as one of the more prominent players at fullback for his 101st cap.
Tomos Williams will make his 50th international appearance and Gareth Anscombe will make his first half start of the tournament. Gatland also made four Rugby World Cup debuts, with Dewey Lake captaining the side at hooker, Jonny Williams and Mason Grady at center and Christ Tshiunza at lock.
Lake is joined by Nicky Smith and Dillon Lewis in the front row, Dafydd Jenkins partners Tshiunza in the second row and Rio Dyer is paired on the wing with Rees-Zammit.
Dan Lydiate starts at blindside flanker while Tommy Reffell makes his first start of the year at blindside flanker and Faletau continues at number 8 to finish out the game and get some more game time after recently returning from a calf injury .
Wales Makes Key Changes Ahead of Portugal Clash
Wales’ replacements include Gareth Davies, Sam Costelow and Josh Adams in the back row, Ryan Elias, Corey Domachowski and Thomas Francis in the front row and Adam Beard as cover in the second row. Thane Basham, who is also preparing to make his Rugby World Cup debut, will be the latest striker change. We’ve made a few changes this week given the six-day period, Gatland said.
Now this is an opportunity for the 23rd round. I’ve said it before, but there is a lot of competition within the team and that’s what we want to see. Now this group has a chance to go out on Saturday and put their mark on the tournament.
We’ve done a thorough analysis of last week’s game and know the areas we need to improve. But, we have a clear plan for how we want to play on Saturday and it’s about going out and executing it the way we prepared. For more about Wales Rugby World Cup Tickets please visit our website.
“Portugal are a skilled team and will be charging forward in their first match of the tournament this weekend. We are delighted to be back there and look forward to even greater support from the traveling fans in Nice.”
Wales beat Fiji 32-26 in their opening match last weekend, but Saturday’s meeting should theoretically be the easiest game of their campaign as they take on the lowest-ranked team in Group C.
Wales starting XV:
15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. Mason Grady, 12. Johnny Williams, 11. Rio Dyer; 10. Gareth Anscombe, 9. Tomos Williams, 1. Nicky Smith, 2. Dewi Lake (c), 3. Dillon Lewis, 4. Christ Tshiunza, 5. Dafydd Jenkins, 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Corey Domachowski, 18. Tomas Francis, 19. Adam Beard, 20. Taine Basham, 21. Gareth Davies, 22. Sam Costelow, 23. Josh Adams.
Secret bonuses if Wallabies win Rugby World Cup revealed
Rugby Australia has agreed to reward the Wallabies with lucrative bonuses if they perform well at the Rugby World Cup, with players receiving an extra $175,000 each if Australia manage to lift the trophy.
Before the Wallabies left for France last month, the RA and the Rugby Union Players’ Association agreed on what bonuses players should receive on top of their regular match pay. In addition to the windfall for breaking the 24-year Rugby World Cup drought, players will also be rewarded for reaching the quarter-finals. This is only the second time this last four player bonus has been offered.
RA and RUPA wanted details of bonus payouts to remain confidential, but this headline could reveal how much players are set to earn if they get deeper into the tournament. Each member of the 33-man playing squad will take home an extra $175,000 if Australia wins the Rugby World Cup final on October 28 in Paris, but according to people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Given the team’s performances of late – the Wallabies have just won six of their last 23 Tests – winning the Rugby World Cup seems unlikely, but with Eddie Jones at the helm as coach, anything is possible.
That’s a 40 per cent increase on the $125,000 that was on offer in 2019 if the Wallabies won the tournament. That same year, Australia lost to England in the quarter-finals in Japan. In 2015, the Australian Rugby Union (now RA) offered players an all-or-nothing $100,000 reward for winning the final, but the team lost to New Zealand after the Twickenham decider.
Players Incentivized to Reach Rugby World Cup Semi-Finals
Meanwhile, there is another incentive – not seen for 16 years – that the RA and RUPA have agreed upon that may be more achievable given the Wallabies pay bookmakers $15 to win the Rugby World Cup. If the Wallabies reach the semi-finals, the players will receive $25,000 each. The last time the incentive to reach the semi-finals was in 2007, it has never been so lucrative.
However, as part of this agreement it is understood that no additional money will be paid if the Wallabies win the semi-final and progress to the final at the Stade de France. But if the Wallabies repeat the exploits of John Eales’ successful team in 1999, they will demand an additional $150,000 on top of their total award of $175,000.
RA chief executive Phil Waugh refused to go into detail last week when asked how much players could earn if they perform well at the Rugby World Cup. We’ve been working with the players’ association for some time now and it’s very much in line with what we’ve done historically at the RWC, Waugh said.
“The deeper you go, the better the prize money, but what’s really important is the impact it has on rugby at home rather than the financial side. You can achieve greater participation, greater interest and commercial benefits. This is definitely not the result of one or two games you delve into. We have a good relationship with RUPA and the players.”
In 2015, the ARU bet up to $300,000 on the Wallabies to win the Rugby World Cup to cover up to $3.1 million in tournament winning bonuses. However, in 2011, the offer for reaching the final was $25,000, with an additional $85,000 guaranteed for winning the World Championship. Australia finished third.
Historical Bonuses for Wallabies in 2007 Rugby World Cup
Four years ago, in 2007, the Wallabies offered a $10,000 bonus if they reached the semi-finals and a further $42,250 if they reached the last two finals. The team could have won $137,000 if they had made it to the end, but lost to England in the quarter-finals in Marseille, where they will play a potential round of 16 match again this year.
The Wallabies beat Georgia 35-15 in their opening Rugby World Cup match last weekend and will take on Fiji on Sunday (1.45am Monday AEDT). Australia also includes Wales and Portugal and, if things go well, will likely face Argentina or England in the quarter-finals.
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