Thursday 14 November 2019

Rory Best's send-off and four other memorable moments from the Rugby World Cup

Rory Best after his final game
Rory Best after his final game

PA Sport

The Rugby World Cup draws to a close on Saturday, when England take on South Africa in the final.

Here are five unforgettable moments from a memorable six weeks in Japan.

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England stand up to the Haka

How to respond to the All Blacks' Haka has been a conundrum for many teams. England's tactic ahead of their semi-final was a V formation, the brainchild of head coach Eddie Jones. Mako Vunipola said: "We wanted to be respectful but we wanted to also make sure that they understood that we would be ready for the fight." It worked perfectly, with Manu Tuilagi's second-minute try setting the stage for a famous victory.

Japan pays its respects

The real final is not until this weekend but, for the home nation, their final came on October 13 when the last pool game against Scotland was able to be played despite the effects of Typhoon Hagibis. An impeccable minute's silence and haunting rendition of the Japanese national anthem in tribute to all those affected preceded an historic 28-21 victory that sent Japan through to the quarter-finals for the first time.

Uruguay stun Fiji

Kamaishi, a city reborn after the devastating tsunami in 2011, unexpectedly witnessed one of the matches of the tournament. Uruguay had won only two World Cup matches in their history prior to their clash with Fiji, the last one 16 years ago. Boasting just 22 professional players, the South Americans upset the odds spectacularly with a 30-27 victory. The final whistle brought tears of happiness for the Uruguayans.

Best send-off

Ireland captain Rory Best is one of several players for whom this tournament spelled the end of a long international career. The hooker won more than 120 international caps, playing in two Grand Slam-winning teams. Emotion got the better of Best as he tried to conduct a post-match interview following defeat by New Zealand against the backdrop of a standing ovation.

Itoje turns the tables

England's brilliance against New Zealand was collective but the shining star was Maro Itoje. The 25-year-old did everything well but his performance was summed by up the turnover he achieved on halfway, pulling the ball out of a rolling maul.

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