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A fighting chance.

In a blog published previously on this page titled “Human error or Mechanical emotions” we highlighted the significant impact that match officials and broadcast teams have played in various momentum shifts and decisive moments of critical matches during the 6 Nations. Most notably, some marginal calls going in favour of the perceived dominate “home” teams, when quite clearly if a different angle had been provided by the broadcast team, the decision facing the on-field match official would have been different.

The theme seems to have permeated throughout this Rugby World Cup, generating a significant amount of online debate and rhetoric amongst fans in pubs/bars and braais across the globe, and not to be left out of the conversation, some pundits have weighed in quite strongly on their various platforms.

How much of the tournament is being engineered towards a certain narrative and outcome? This is something that we will leave to the conspiracy theorists among us, to discuss and dissect. One only needs to look at “colour blind jerseys for one team” the WADA agency potentially stopping certain country’s from singing their national anthem, displaying their flags, or playing in their primary jersey. We will leave it there for the purposes of this discussion.

The rest of us “rugby purists” would like to hold on to the thought that from here on in, each team will have a fair chance of competing for the Rugby World Cup trophy. We want the best team to win, we want all teams at full strength with complete squads, giving it their all, knowing that they are competing on an equal footing. After all that is the ethos of the sport we love, anything other than that is a betrayal of the game, its fans, players, administrators, and its values.

Rugby is no longer just any old game, it is now a story that has for the longest of time, stood for and symbolised the fight against the poisoning that comes with the commercialisation of sports. The respect and open discourse with the officials on the field knowing that they are fair, just, and accountable to the values of the game, that they are not being whispered into during the game or briefed to provide a certain outcome for the benefit of certain stakeholders.

This one truth we want to believe in, is on the line over the course of the next month, at a time when the dark vices that come with the monetarisation of people’s emotions are so clear and unambiguously bold, it becomes increasingly difficult to dismiss the thought that somehow this is being engineered toward a certain outcome.

We are now past the group stages of Rugby World Cup, France 2023 and the remaining 8 teams to battle it out for the ultimate prize in world rugby are confirmed.

Seventh ranked Wales will take on ninth ranked Argentina in the 1st of the quarter finals on Saturday, 14 October in Marseille at 17:00 local time.

The 2nd and tantalising quarter final will see top ranked and reigning 6 Nations champions Ireland face-off against three -time Rugby World Cup Winners New Zealand on Saturday, 14 October in Paris at 21:00.

Sixth ranked England will face off against eighth ranked Fiji in the 3rd quarter final on Sunday, 15 October in Marseille at 17:00.

Highly favoured hosts and according to World Rugby’s official rankings, world number two France will take on defending champions and three-time Rugby World Cup Winners South Africa in Quarter final 4.

It is clear to see that Quarter finals 2 and 4 are without any doubt the most exciting picks of the draws, which will see the elimination of two of the top four sides in the world at the conclusion of the upcoming weekend.

No rugby player or athlete who respects the game, the spirit of competition and their opponent will ever be embarrassed by being overcome and bested by an opponent, who on the day was superior. Supporters will always support their team in a loss against a team far better than theirs because the eye test does not lie. All anyone can ask for is a chance to be at their best and play against their opposition on an equal and fair playing field. We hope the custodians of this sport that we hold so dear to our hearts, have not lost sight of that.

Sportsnation is an Official Travel Agent to the Rugby World Cup France 2023. For more information around our remaining packages to Rugby World Cup France 2023, visit www.sportsnation-travel.co.za  

Connect with us on our social media platforms and keep an eye out for announcements on any packages still available. @SportsnationZA on Twitter, Sportsnation – ZA on Facebook and sportsnation_za on Instagram and always look out for #LetUsTakeYouThere!   

Rugby World Cup quarter-final fixtures

Saturday, October 14

Wales v Argentina
Stade de Marseille, Marseille
17:00 local (16:00 BST, 15:00 GMT)

Ireland v New Zealand
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
21:00 local (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT)

Sunday, October 15

England v Fiji
Venue: Stade de Marseille, Marseille
Kick-off: 17:00 local (16:00 BST, 15:00 GMT)

France v South Africa
Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Kick-off: 21:00 local (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT)

Written by Gary Mahlangu

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For the Fans by the Fans
Gary Mahlangu

A fighting chance.

In a blog published previously on this page titled “Human error or Mechanical emotions” we highlighted the significant impact that match officials and broadcast teams

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