2 Nov 2015

Rugby World Cup hailed as best ever

7:56 am on 2 November 2015

OPINION: Rugby World Cup organisers deserve credit after striking the perfect balance between high quality on-field action and enjoyable atmosphere over the last 44 days.

While it was hard for England to compete with the pure rugby buzz created in New Zealand four years ago, the mixture of those two elements mean this year's edition will probably be remembered as the best ever.

English rugby fans at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

English rugby fans at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: AFP

In terms of atmosphere, the only real disappointment was London. In such a large city it is hard for any event outside the Olympics to truly take over and the hosts getting eliminated early meant the Rugby World Cup never really stood a chance.

Apart from a few pockets in the south-west around Twickenham, to most Londoners the big footy game yesterday was Chelsea's 3-1 loss to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

But what I'll remember is the rest of the country and how they embraced the tournament - and especially the All Blacks.

The crowd gathers outside Twickenham before the 2015 RWC.

Crowds outside Twickenham Photo: AFP

Moments like sheer elation from the 5000 people at the rugby club in Darlington when the All Blacks ran onto their field for a training clinic - and the local school children performing the haka for them - stand out as highlights of the tournament.

Or the game day atmosphere in Cardiff, where I was lucky enough to get to four games at the incredible Millennium Stadium, easily the world's best rugby ground, situated in the world's best rugby city.

At the games the fans of all countries were in great voice, and with the quality of rugby they were treated to, why wouldn't they be?

Surely helped by the absence of any Northern Hemisphere sides in the final two weeks, we witnessed the best display of running rugby we've ever seen at the business end of the tournament.

Prior to last night's final there had been a total of 11 tries scored in all the previous Rugby World Cup finals.

All Black fans celebrate before kick-off at the RWC 2015 final.

Photo: PhotoSport

The All Blacks and the Wallabies bucked the trend of low-scoring and dour deciders, combining for five tries, much to the delight of the punters at Twickenham.

But it wasn't just the Antipodean sides exciting the crowds.

Japan's amazing win over South Africa, Wales' thrilling upset of the hosts, Argentina's scintillating demolition of Ireland and Scotland's heartbreaking quarter-final loss are matches to be remembered for years to come.

It bodes well for the future and globalization of the game, and I for one can't wait to get to the land of the rising sun for the next instalment in 2019.

Watch video highlights of the RWC 2015 final here:

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