The Greatest Stage: Quarter-Final Round-Up

We look back at the less celebrated stories at the Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-finals.

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The quarter-finals of Rugby World Cup 2015 saw the Northern and Southern hemispheres do battle, and produced some incredibly tense clashes, full of passion, commitment and bravery.

These knockout matches also showcased some of the core values of the game, as opponents showed respect, humility and fellowship, even in the heat of the moment.

Performances of the week

Argentina shook off their underdog tag and played rugby that was a joy to watch, and judging by the players’ smiles, a joy to play too. From the first whistle to the last, their forwards and backs alike played a style imbued with Latin flair, backed up with steely determination and desire. There were highs and lows, as they flew into a lead and saw it ebb, but never once did the players falter in their belief. It was this will to win, coupled with their will to have fun, that saw them make almost 600 metres in attach and run in four tries.

Sometimes a plucky defeated side earns as much praise as the victor. Rarely, the vanquished take more plaudits. Yet this was the case on both Saturday and Sunday, as first Wales, and then Scotland stood tall and brave in the face of South African and Australian pressure. Wales put in a monumental defensive shift, making 197 tackles as they fought to repel waves of South African attack. Scotland never knew when to give in, and lead at half time and with five minutes left. They were beaten only by a controversial 80th-minute penalty, but their plucky resolve and never-say-die attitude won them many fans, and will give them hope of a bright future.

Mull RFC embody the collective spirit Scotland showed

Mascot Gallery

Throughout the tournament, 96 children from around the world will run out with the teams, wearing their club's socks and enjoying the chance of a lifetime to meet their rugby heroes. See the mascots below.

Words: James Foot