It’s finally here!
The Rugby World Cup kicks off tonight with hosts England facing Pool A rivals Fiji, and it promises to be a physical, all-action curtain-raiser. The Pacific Islanders have been known to cause an upset or two in the past – perhaps most notably when they beat Wales 38-34 in Nantes in 2007 to progress to the quarter finals of the tournament. I was absolutely gutted that day, but there’s no denying it was an unbelievable game, and an absolute try-fest! England will be hoping to assert their dominance in the forwards ahead of their showdown against Wales next Saturday. I’m really looking forward to seeing Nemani Nadolo in action for Fiji – the centre/wing is tipped to be one of the stars of the tournament.
For Wales, there was more injury woe this week when Eli Walker – who had been recalled to the squad to replace the injured Leigh Halfpenny – picked up a hamstring injury in training. This has led to Ross Moriarty returning to the squad, following his barnstorming appearance off the bench against Italy. I’m really excited by Moriarty’s inclusion – he plays with an aggressive edge that makes him a real threat from the back row. It’s possible he could provide cover for Faletau at No.8 at some point in the coming weeks, and I’d love to see him line up alongside both Warburton and Tipuric, with Warburton playing blind-side flanker. What an attacking unit that would be!
I’m hoping to be in Cardiff for the game against Uruguay on Sunday, soaking up the atmosphere, get a few photographs, and hopefully get a win!
Oh, and by the way, today is my 30th birthday! It was very kind of World Rugby to schedule the tournament around me, I feel like I should write a thank-you letter to somebody.