A record-equalling third world title for South Africa marked the end of a memorable few weeks for rugby fans. What were the biggest Rugby World Cup talking points, as discussed by financial professionals on Eikon Messenger’s Global Sports Forum?
- The Global Sports Forum (GSF) on Eikon Messenger invited financial professionals to
discuss all the highs and lows of the Rugby World Cup, including South Africa’s 32-12 final win.
The performance of the Pacific nations was a key talking point throughout the World Cup, amid concerns about the islands’ lack of international rugby at the top level.
- Ross Chisholm, the Harlequins winger, shared with the GSF the vital role that data and technology are now playing in the development of rugby.
The first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia provided a great opportunity for rugby to reach, engage and convert new fans across the most populated continent in the world.
Japan captivated rugby fans with its exuberant and welcoming culture, with organizers doing a great job instilling cultural elements into the matches. This ranged from the thundering pre-match taiko drums, to the half-time and full-time gong reverberating around the stadiums.
There have been some touching moments throughout the tournament — notably Japanese fans singing along to all the national anthems with printed lyrics, and the emotional minute silence held before Japan beat Scotland to remember the victims of Typhoon Hagibis.
The big Rugby World Cup talking points
In a repeat of the 2007 final, South Africa defeated England in dominant fashion in Yokohama.
As Reuters journalist Mitch Phillips in Japan explained on the forum, fans “poured in from all points” to witness the final, as the stadium felt more like Twickenham with the sheer number of England fans present.
This, however, did not faze the Springboks, who were galvanised by the occasion and dominated England from start to finish to lift the William Webb Ellis Cup.
The foundations of the Springboks success were in their dominant scrum, winning five penalties in the process and ultimately taking the game away from England.
GSF guest and ex-Ireland international Bernard Jackman described Eddie Jones’ attention to detail as “off the scale”, but it seems his opposing number Rassie Erasmus outsmarted the England camp with more variation on attack to make their game more effective across the pitch.
Can the Pacific teams bounce back?
There’s no shortage of rugby talent in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, but all three nations failed to reach the knockout stages at this year’s World Cup.
Aayden Clarke, the former New Zealand-based rugby player and union chief for Pacific Rugby Players, discussed on the GSF the issues facing these players.
He told the GSF: “At the core of many issues is the fact that the players do not get paid well for playing for their country.”
Despite the Pacific teams’ poor performance, Clarke alluded to the fact that “20 percent of the professional players across the globe are of Pacific decent”, signifying the important role they have in the game.
One of the larger issues for Pacific nations is a lack of regular international rugby at the top level.
There have been plans to introduce an annual tournament of the leading Six Nations and Rugby Championship countries plus two other countries to give hope to the Pacific islands, but these plans were dropped.
Clarke still hopes to see Pacific nations playing in the southern hemisphere so that they develop and become more competitive at future World Cups.
— Refinitiv (@Refinitiv) October 31, 2019
Developing data in rugby
Rugby now finds itself in an extremely dynamic environment when it comes to using technology to assess players, matches and competitors.
Ross Chisholm, the Harlequins winger, joined the forum and discussed the vital role data plays in his personal development. “As a winger, it’s always interesting to know my sprint speed, distance covered…. We also have data on opposition teams which is analyzed to ensure we are prepared for each fixture.”
Ross went on to mention how Harlequins use drones to analyze scrums and lines-outs. The ways teams are analyzing data is evolving at an astronomic rate, and it will be interesting to see how it develops come the next World Cup in France.
Major sporting events on GSF
Finally, a big congratulations to all our GSF daily quiz winners who have walked away with a vintage international jersey of their choice.
2020 looks to be a hugely exciting year for sport, with the upcoming Rugby Six Nations, Football European Championships and the Summer Olympics in Japan.