The Greatest Stage: Week One Round-Up

The best #WeDealInReal moments and grassroots stories from the opening week of Rugby World Cup 2015

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Rugby World Cup 2015 got off to an astonishing start.

The Webb Ellis Cup returned to Twickenham Stadium, the home of English rugby, on Friday, 18 September to conclude the UK & Ireland Trophy Tour, before a stunning opening ceremony lit up the stadium and the London skyline. 

The fireworks didn't stop there though, as a weekend of shocks, sportsmanship and team spirit showcased the values of the sport. Here's our take on the weekend's action.

Smallest Club Rugby World Cup 2015

After years of training, preparation and build up, it’s finally here. This is a tournament that will go down in the annals of time, graced by the presence of former World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward. 

The Smallest Club Rugby World Cup 2015 (SCRW15) took place on Saturday, September 19th, with twelve teams from around the world converging on Tolworth, Surrey to do battle for the title. The event, in its inaugural year, is run by the world’s smallest club, England’s Racal Decca RFC, and brings publicity to small clubs who embrace the values of the sport.

Rugby World Cup 2015 is on course to become the best attended, most viewed and most socially engaged Tournament ever. Speaking at SCRWC15, however, Sir Clive Woodward was adamant that grassroots rugby gets the credit it deserves, as the lifeblood of the sport, producing the next generation of superstars.

Performance of the Week

A fantastic opening weekend was topped off by Japan’s victory over South Africa on the day of the underdog. Coming after Georgia had recorded a superb win against Tonga, it goes down as the biggest upset in the history of rugby union, and will inspire less-fancied teams at all levels to go out and show what they’re made of. Still widely semi-professional, rugby is mainly played as a sport of honour in Japan, and their collective display illustrates the importance of teamwork.

Watch what rugby means to Japanese players at regional club Hokkaido Barbarians

Honourable mentions must also go to the valiant effort of Uruguay’s amateur side of lawyers, doctors and farmers, who stood toe-to-toe with Wales, the fourth best international team in the world, and were actually beating them for a delirious quarter of an hour. Los Teros went above and beyond to give a performance of true fortitude, their never-say-die attitude shining in an absolute embodiment of the #WeDealInReal spirit. They are all champions in our eyes, displaying grassroots values on the greatest stage of all.

From Grassroots to the Greatest Stage

Proof that dreams do come true:

New Zealand’s towering second row Brode Retallick watched Rugby World Cup 2011 on a screen from a temporary grandstand in an old fire station in Hawke’s Bay. Now he’s playing for the All Blacks in Rugby World Cup 2015. 

Two years ago, Mike Stanley was running out for Southend RUFC. On Saturday, he scored his first three Rugby World Cup points for Samoa in their win against the USA.

Census Johnson made his latest international comeback by chance. Having retired from the national team, he went back to Samoa for his sister’s wedding during NZ’s tour of the country. The team got a few injuries and needed a replacement prop. Census answered the call, and is now playing at RWC2015. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

Words: James Foot