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This Rugby World Cup is a record-breaker.
Perhaps not concerning delivering the initialthree-peat winners, though New Zealand may be in a months time.
Not in terms of a first look in the knockout phases for hosts Japan, though that may be confirmed following weekend.
Instead, Tomas Lavaninis red card against England has been the 2019 tournaments fifth, which will be greater than at any preceding World Cup. And were not out of pool phases.
Some would say by introducing new guidance for referees on high tackles four weeks and criticising officials a week, World Rugby has got its timing all wrong.
Theyd argue that games are being ruined by this crackdown on tackles whereas the sport is at the spotlight.
For me, the timing of World Rugby couldnt be better.
We have to leverage the stage that rugby has to bring about a culture change through the sport.
There is going to be the short-term annoyance, together with column inches controversy and also a few games that are unbalanced – but these games are being watched by countless individuals around the globe. Here is the opportunity to teach that lesson about tackles.
When players and officials in junior and miniature rugby grounds across the nation got together this weekend, theyll all have seen that the kind of tackle Lavanini placed in on Owen Farrell – a shoulder direct to the head with drive and no mitigating circumstances – is a straightforward red card.
Choices like Nigel Owens in that game will have a dramatic impact on the game around the world is performed and the store of a World Cup that can make that happen.
It should have happened 10 decades back.
Once I was playing it was a different era and mindset. It used to be a badge of honor to get the head rounds, or even to get smashed the ball off and catch up and get on with this, for being a cheeky scrum-half or to be targeted with strikes.
90% of the cards dished out now would not have been revealed back.
That mindset is considered absurd now considering intensity and the power these players possess, as well as the risks involved.
World Rugby has understood that the change has to be spectacular. You leave things up to subjective decisions and cant tinker around the edges with the little print. It needs to be a policy shift that floods in the grassroots and through the game.
In certain ways, England have been too great for their own good so far in Japan.
After three games of the 2015 championship they were out. This time, using a game to play at the pool, they are already into the quarter-finals.
Back then, they had suffered by Australia and Wales by this stage. They have collected wins by margins of 32, 38 and 29 points respectively.
Thats to the credit of England . Theyve set themselves so far, but Cup are you really going to win the championship by winning seven games by 20, more or 25 points.
There will be a game which comes down to the wire, one when they are likely to have to crawl over the line.
Eddie Jones has questioned their ability. Once they wasted a 31-0 lead over Scotland in March – a draw which followed costly second-half lapses against Wales, New Zealand and South Africa from the past 12 months – the Australian compared his group to a carwith hand grenades from the back.
Occasionally they go off if there is a lot of stress. Weve got a few of them and we have got to get rid of them he said.
Jones brought in psychologist Corinne Reid to runhonesty sessions from the run-up to this tournament to try and improve this part of their game.
That work has gone awry.
Because of this, I hope that France give them a real test from the second half to drive England into fifth or fourth gear, instead of cruising around in third.
Although the red card of Lavanini resulted in a disjointed game that is strangely, there have been some true bright spots for England in their triumph over Argentina.
The match was ordered by george Ford quite. He was clinical if he used the runners, needed to be and put the ball into space behind the Pumas defence to get territory.
It was assured and also a step toward the sort of performance that is top notch that is controlling I have wanted to see for a time.
The combo of both Tom Curry on either side of the scrum and Sam Underhill was excellent. Much like Australia set David Pocock and Michael Hooper, these two are developing their ownbreakdown bromance. They dovetail nicely, which makes decisions concerning when to stand off and when to commit.
Maro Itoje went comparatively under the radar. Normally he is all of bulldozing runs, hits that are large and standing over gamers. His performance against Argentina was unseen, but he looked quietly assured stripping players of ownership, producing formulaic, hitting rucks, directing driving mauls and going about his business.
It is going to be difficult for Jack Nowell to discover a means with Jonny May Anthony Watson and Elliot Daly playing in the back three.
However, in beating several defenders to get into the corner on, as he revealed, he is a game-breaker.
He has small downside, with a and work-rate that is enormous and can create something from nothing. Added to which he is flexible, covering center .
I think against the opposition, he can go from the beginning.
On the biggest stage you require specific types of participant -Test Match animals as my previous mentor in Northampton and British and Irish Lions, Ian McGeechan, used to predict them.
Nowell always seems to measure up. I really dont believe that will be different at a World Cup.
Matt Dawson was speaking to BBC Sports Mike Henson.
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