PUMA Football News Archive
World Cup Round Up
Ireland’s tournament was a total rollercoaster from start to finish. Drawn in a difficult Pool including the Tri-Nations champions, Australia, the always dangerous Italy and the incredibly physical Russians, there was no guarantee that the Men In Green would even progress to the knockout stages.
New Zealand 8 France 7
After their comfortable 20 point victory against the French in Pool A a month ago, one could be forgiven for believing the “Blackwash” banners around Eden Park would become a reality this evening. But, in a World Cup Final the form book means little and the French made their intentions very clear even before the first whistle was blown.
The Frenchmen walked on the Haka defiantly to let them know they were in for a game...and they really were!
Rugby is a game of passion and this simple fact was never more apparent than in the weekend’s semi-final clashes. Four million New Zealanders expected to beat their near-neighbours and pull of the sweetest of all victories. 60,000 Welsh fans packed out the Millenium stadium 11,000 miles away in the hope of seeing their side reach their first ever final and one referee came under the spotlight for making one of the most controversial decisions in the history of the tournament. The stage was set!
The World Cup Pool stages are all wrapped up and we move onto the business end of the tournament with the quarter-final knockouts in Auckland and Wellington this weekend. No further chances of an incredible upset by the minnows, an undiscovered superstar or a one-sided demolition – perhaps unsurprisingly, the final 8 will be comprised of the top 8 world rugby-playing nations from New Zealand to Argentina.
Talk will undoubtedly return to the question of whether the hosts have what it takes to go all the way or whether they will capitulate under the weight of expectation from an entire nation of rugby fanatics. Will Australia be able to repeat their Tri-Nations victory and topple South Africa and New Zealand? Can England reach their third final in three consecutive World Cups? Will Argentina outdo their efforts of 2007? Will the Green Army and neutral’s favourites, Ireland, build on the momentum taken from dominating their Pool?
The weekend’s final games certainly gave some indication as to what the answers will be come 23rd of October. Here is our round up of the best of the action...
With the World Cup Pool stages reaching their climax, we witnessed another weekend of wet weather and weary bodies as the first nation confirmed their place in the quarter finals and several faced the heartbreak of failure.
Here is our summary of the standout fixtures...
A week or so on from the dancing and fireworks of the opening ceremony in Auckland and pundits are already discussing the knockout stages of the competition, anticipating a fortuitous northern hemisphere Vs. southern hemisphere split that will lead one nation to emerge from each region to contest the final.
Still, given the rollercoaster ride we have experienced so far it was clear there would be many more ups and downs before the Pool stages were finally decided and this weekend certainly didn’t disappoint!
Here is our pick of the best of the action from New Zealand...
STEVE THOMPSON won the 2003 World Cup but retired with a neck injury in 2007. Now he’s back on the Test stage and challenging for another World Cup. The hooker tells us about his life in rugby...
The anticipation is over, the first ball has been kicked, and the home nation provided their fans with a familiar blend of joy and frustration in their opening fixture against Tonga, which will no doubt lead New Zealanders to wonder whether they really do have what it takes to regain the trophy they have not held since the competition’s inaugural year in 1987.
The weekend’s first Pool games bore witness to some incredible rugby and more than a few scares for the top nations, suggesting an ever-narrowing gap between the best and the rest on the biggest stage of them all. Here is our round up of the best of the action.
With the World Cup getting closer all the time, the August internationals offered players the last chance to impress before their coaches decide who will be making the flight to New Zealand.
Here’s our exclusive round-up of the top clashes featuring a host of PUMA’s biggest rugby stars!