England, the host nation, and their European neighbours are already licking their World Cup wounds, with the semifinals yet to be played. Their media is looking at why.
Paul Hayward, The Telegraph’s chief sports writer, wrote that “a grievance is the only thing the Six nations will take home” in reference to Australia’s late penalty goal victory over Scotland in a classic quarterfinal.
The failure of a northern side to make the semifinals was “an embarrassing anomaly”, Hayward wrote.
“The common denominator? New Zealand, Australia and Argentina venerate skills. The Springbok calling card is still power. But that physicality often comes with a degree of sophistication the Six Nations struggle to match.
“This World Cup has brought regression for the (Six Nations) countries. Until the European countries shift from brawn to brain there will be no redress. The victors…have speed and accuracy of execution. Or, in a word: skills.”
Southern Hemisphere sides better under pressure
Rugby World Cup: Ireland vs Argentina highlights
In The Times, John Westerby wrote that the Pumas’ victory over Ireland was the point of greatest concern for the northern hemisphere countries.
“The greater worry was the vast difference in skill levels, especially in the game’s crucial moments yesterday, in a contest between a side who have been champions of Europe for the past two years and a team who, for all their progress, have still won only two of 21 matches in the Rugby Championship.”
After Scotland’s heartbreaking last-gasp loss to Australia, Chris Hewett told readers of The Independent: “European rugby has been too familiar with failure for far too long, but at least this was a failure of the glorious kind. Cold comfort for a team from a cold country? For sure.
But for 80 minutes yesterday afternoon, a Six Nations side showed the very best of itself…and for three or four of those minutes, they could have been forgiven for thinking that the best might be enough.”