2nd November 2015
Over the past 6 weeks, Cardiff, the home of Celtic English Academy saw an influx of people like never before throughout the duration of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Thirteen stadiums throughout the UK were used to host the Rugby World cup and the Millennium Stadium Cardiff was one of these stadiums attracting rugby fans from all corners of the world to Cardiff, the capital of Wales.The streets of Cardiff were awash with flags, costumes, team shirts, scarves and painted faces from the 20 countries competing in the event.
Due to the popularity of this fantastic event, it created an atmosphere second to none resulting in Cardiff being deemed by French flanker Yannick Nyanga as the Best Rugby City in the World due to the stadiums proximity to the city centres’ vibrant nightlife and hotels. To reflect on this huge success for Cardiff and the World Cup itself, local businesses reported record sales with Cardiff International airport revealing an increase of 10% more flights during the summer season.
During the Rugby World Cup, Cardiff had an overwhelming sense of excitement and warm ambiance even between games, with a multitude of foreign accents buzzing from the bars and coffee shops. The centre piece of the Rugby World Cup here in Cardiff was undoubtedly the famous Rugby Ball smashing through the Castle wall in the very centre of the city, causing a huge stir and not a moment passing without someone taking a photograph of it.
Unfortunately Wales went out in the quarter finals due to some bad luck and decisions in equal measure, although the silver lining was that we took England down first in a 25 – 28 point victory at the match in Twickenham.
So how was the Rugby World Cup structured in order to make it a fair and balanced championship?
There were two stages, a pool and a knockout. Nations were divided into four pools, A through to D, of five nations each. The teams were seeded before the start of the tournament, with the seedings taken from the World Rankings in December 2012. The four highest-ranked teams were drawn into pools A to D. The next four highest-ranked teams were then drawn into pools A to D, followed by the next four. The remaining positions in each pool were filled by the qualifiers. Nations play four pool games, playing their respective pool members once each.
A bonus points system is used during pool play. If two or more teams are level on points, a system of criteria is used to determine the higher ranked; the sixth and final criterion decides the higher rank through the official World Rankings. The winner and runner-up of each pool enter the knockout stage. The knockout stage consists of quarter- and semi-finals, and then the final.
The winner of each pool is placed against a runner-up of a different pool in a quarter-final. The winner of each quarter-final goes on to the semi-finals, and the respective winners proceed to the final. Losers of the semi-finals contest for third place, called the ‘Bronze Final’. If a match in the knockout stages ends in a draw, the winner is determined through extra time. If that fails, the match goes into sudden death and the next team to score any points is the winner. As a last resort, a kicking competition is used.
After seeing the All Blacks of NZ demolish the notoriously strong French team here in Cardiff it was pretty clear that they were a big contender to take the championship just as they have many times before. Last Saturday saw the conclusive final between the All Blacks and Australia and although Australia put on an incredible display of World Class rugby, the All Blacks ran away with it in the dying 15 minutes, snatching the World Cup title for a consecutive time.
The All Blacks not only made legends of themselves during the game, they also proved themselves as true gentleman shortly after the whistle was blown. This heart warming YouTube clip shows what happened after an excited young fan got tackled by a security guard as he tried to run across the pitch to his All Black hero, Sonny Bill Williams.
The All Blacks are again the undisputed Rugby Champions of the World for very good reason and during their stay in Wales they were extremely impressed with Cardiff and the surrounding coast and countryside. On a team trip to the Gower Peninsular, Dan Carter who has been voted the best No 10 in the World for the third time tweeted, ‘Nice day here in Rhossili Bay with the worms head behind us. Reminded me a bit of back home’.
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