The Greatest Stage: Week Four Round-Up

Land Rover looks at the thrills and spills of the final round of Pool matches at Rugby World Cup 2015

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Week Four of Rugby World Cup 2015 was full of thrills, spills, records and upsets, as the pool stages drew to a close.

We said goodbye to some of the brave smaller unions, who have lit up the tournament over the last month, taking on the world’s best with displays of courage, passion, teamwork and sportsmanship. Through highs and lows, in victory and defeat, they always played with a smile. 

Performances of the week

Romania produced the comeback of all Rugby World Cup comebacks to defeat Canada in front of a raucous 27,153 fans at Leicester City Stadium. By the time Jeff Hassler powered over, Canada looked to have opened an unassailable lead. Romania had other ideas though. Captain Mihai Macovei’s two tries and Florin Vlaicu’s nerve-shredding 78th minute penalty saw the Oaks roar back from 15-0 down to triumph 17-15, and sparked wild celebrations.

Australia put in arguably the greatest defensive shift seen at a Rugby World Cup to hold off Wales, despite being down to 13 men for a large part of the match. They showed true grit and the kind of resilience that is an example to players of all levels.

I’m very proud of the lads…There wasn’t much talent there, it was about getting stuck in

Australia Head Coach Michael Cheika sums up his team's defensive display against Wales

Japan are many people’s pick as team of the tournament, and their 28-18 victory over the USA means they have made Rugby World Cup history as the first side to win three pool matches and yet not get through. Coach Eddie Jones summed up the rejuvenated mood of the nation after some stirring displays saw Japan reach the world’s top ten

The guys have all played above themselves, they have worked hard, they played with a real spirit, they played how rugby should be played. These guys are heroes now. They’ve changed the whole image of Japanese rugby. When you have heroes, kids want to emulate heroes. This isn't just about rugby. This is what sport can do. It can inspire kids, instead of playing baseball or soccer, to play rugby now.

Words: James Foot