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Samoa back-row Josh Tyrell says his fascination for numbers helps him on the rugby field and promises the Pool A teams they can count on a big performance in their last game from the Pacific Islanders against Ireland on Saturday morning.
Growing up in Hamilton, New Zealand, Tyrell followed his father’s interest in numbers and went on to complete a bachelor of management studies, majoring in accounting.
“I love my numbers. You put me in a room and I’ll count them up. I love it, I get little thrills from it,” said the 28-year-old. “I got a degree but haven’t really worked too much in accounting yet. Mum and dad always told me I can’t leave home unless I’ve got a degree or a trade.”
His maths skills have come in handy while chasing his dreams on the rugby field.
“In rugby I see numbers as well. Our formations, our lineouts, everything has to do with numbers and it’s fascinating,” he said. “That’s just how I see it. But everyone is different.”
After defeats by Scotland and Japan, Samoa’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals are over.
“At the moment the boys are a bit gutted. We know we could have done more. That’s something we’ve got to take on the chin but we’re going to go all guns blazing this weekend against Ireland. A third-place finish would earn Samoa a spot at the France 2023 Rugby World Cup, so there is a lot to play for.
“We can’t wait to play the Irish. It’s always good to play one of the top five teams in the world,” said Tyrell.
“The Japanese did something amazing (beating Ireland) and we’re hoping to follow in their footsteps and get one on top of them (Ireland) as well. Anything is possible and we’re just going to go out there and enjoy it, hopefully giving something back to the people in Samoa.”
A record television audience in Japan watched the nation’s 38-19 win over Samoa in Pool A of the Rugby World Cup on Saturday, with more than 40% of the country tuning in.
A peak audience share of 46.1% was recorded as watching on free-to-air Nippon Television. Local media said it was the most watched sporting event of the year in Japan, surpassing Naomi Osaka’s win over Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final.
Japan, who are now within touching distance of a first ever quarter-final berth, face Scotland on Sunday, which is expected to attract an even bigger audience. Around 150,000 people watched the Samoa match in fanzones across the country
Canada wing DTH van der Merwe is relishing the chance to play his native South Africa in the World Cup this morning. The Worcester-born winger was a huge Springbok and Stormers fan before he moved to Saskatchewan in 2003.
“I’ve been to a few Springbok games. We had family season tickets at Newlands‚” Van der Merwe said cheerily.
“One of my bucket-list things was to play at Newlands. But just playing against the Springboks will do. I have fond memories of being a Springbok and Stormers supporter back then‚” said Van der Merwe, who will be playing in his 60th Test.
Naturally, the prospect of playing the Boks enthuses him, but Canada had to endure some anguish before securing passage to this Rugby World Cup.
“When we went through the qualifying‚ it wasn’t ideal, but the positive was that we would be in the same pool as SA‚ the country of my birth. It is going to be an exciting day for me and my family back home in SA‚” he said.
“I’m Canadian now and I just want to do my best for my team.”
The 33-year-old could join an elite list including only Brian O’Driscoll‚ Brian Lima‚ Gareth Thomas, and Adam Ashley-Cooper to score a try at four RWCs should he touch down against the Boks.
SOUTH AFRICA: D Willemse, W Gelant, D de Allende, F Steyn, S Nkosi, E Jantjies, C Reinach. T Du Toit, s Brits, V Koch, RG Snyman, F Mostert, S Kolisi (capt), K Smith, F Louw.
Replacements: M Marx, S Kitshoff, F Malherbe, E Etzebeth, P-Steph du Toit, H Jantjies, H Pollard, W le Roux.
CANADA: A Coe; J Hassler, C Trainor, C Hearn, DTH Van der Merwe; P Nelson, P Mack; H Buydens, A Quattrin, J Ilnicki, E Olmstead, K Baillie, L Rumball, M Heaton, T Ardron (capt).
Replacements: B Piffero, D Sears-Duru, M Tierney, J Larsen, M Sheppard, J Mackenzie, S O’Leary, G Du Toit.
“Our game is about intimidation. Some people might not want to hear that, but that’s a fact. It’s about me dominating you.”— New Zealand coach Steve Hansen at last reveals the secret to the success of the All Blacks.
Wales have made two back-row changes for their Rugby World Cup game against Fiji tomorrow in Oita. James Davies replaces Justin Tipuric, while No8 Ross Moriarty comes in for Aaron Wainwright. Wales won their first two Pool D games and will secure a quarter-final place with victory in Oita.
WALES: L Williams, G North, J Davies, H Parkes, J Adams, D Biggar, G Davies, W Jones, K Owens, T Francis, J Ball, A Wyn Jones (c), J Navidi, J Davies, R Moriarty.
Replacements: E Dee, R Carre, D Lewis, A Shingler, A Wainwright, T Williams, R Patchell, O Watkin
FIJI: K Murimurivalu; J Tuisova, W Nayacalevu, L Botia, S Radradra; B Volavola, F Lomani; C Ma’afu, S Matavesi, M Saulo, T Cavubati, L Nakarawa, D Waqaniburotu (C), S Kunatani, V Mata
Replacements: M Dolokoto, E Mawi, P Ravai, A Ratuniyarawa, P Yato, N Matawalu, J Vatubua, J Matavesi.