#RWC15 Diary: Owens on the way up as Ireland drop to sixth

All the latest shaking and moving from #RWC15
#RWC15 Diary: Owens on the way up as Ireland drop to sixth

STAT OF THE DAY

400, that is the number of meters made by New Zealand’s Ben Smith in the tournament to-date. It’s a nice round number that sees him at the top of the table for meters made.

Two players whose teams were eliminated in the pool stage are still in the top five, DTH Van Der Merwe in second with 389m and Tonga’s Telusa Veainu in fourth with 351m.

The eliminated players are split by another New Zealander, Julian Savea who has racked up 362m to-date.

Santiago Cordero of Argentina rounds out the top five with 348m to his credit, followed by another All Black, Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Ireland’s Rob Kearney and Keith Earls are both listed in the top 20, with 285m and 263m respectively.

RECORD ATTENDANCES

The total attendance at the Rugby World cup passed the 2 million mark during the weekend’s quarter-finals. Over 2.4 million tickets have been sold for the tournament as a whole, and 90,000 have been sold through the official resale channel.

The elimination of the remaining European teams may lead to additional tickets becoming available through the resale portal for those not willing to pay above face value.

Managing Director of England Rugby 2015, Steve Brown, said: "Four thrilling quarter-final matches across the weekend have now seen the attendance for the tournament exceed two million fans. With the fanzones full of fans again this weekend and social and digital media continuing to rise, we are pleased with the continuing success of the tournament and are looking forward to the semi-finals this weekend.”

MUSICAL CHAIRS AT TEAM BASES

After the quarter-finals the remaining teams have been shuffled around to new locations around London in preparation for the semi-finals.

Argentina have moved on to the RFU’s plush training base at Pennyhill while South Africa are on their way out. The Springboks will be based at Surrey Sports Park this week taking over from Scotland.

Meanwhile, Australia are staying put at The Lensbury and St. Mary’s University. New Zeland have opted for London Irish RFC’s facility as their base while they prepare for their semi-final against the Springboks.

The London Irish facility was used by Wales in the lead up to the quarter-finals. The shuffle means that only Australia have held onto their base of operations while the Springboks and All Blacks will be hoping there’s no bad luck associated with their new bases.

WORLD RANKINGS DEFEAT

Ireland’s defeat by Argentina at the weekend has dropped them three places in the World Rugby rankings, moving from third to sixth. Argentina’s win pushed them two places up into fourth place in the world. Wales were the other losers in the ranking, dropping one place to fifth.

1. New Zealand, 2. Australia, 3. South Africa, 4. Argentina.

REFEREE RANKINGS

With the selection of match officials for the next round of games expected later today, the questions have begun as to which of the 12 remaining referees will get whistle duty.

The Telegraph in the UK has ranked all 12 from worst to best; at 12th is Ireland’s John Lacey, rated the worst due to his failure to award a penalty try to Tonga against New Zealand.

South Africa’s Craig Joubert is ranked eleventh, the English newspaper declaring his officiating of the 2011 final to have been catastrophic and his performance to have gone downhill since.

His fellow south African Jaco Pyper is next at 10th followed by Ireland’s George Clancy. At the opposite end is Nigel Owens, ranked as the best referee.

Somewhat interestingly the paper lists JP Doyle in 4th as Ireland. While he is from Ireland, he is registered as an RFU referee.

Immediately after Wales’ elimination from the tournament on Saturday the internet memes had started with a photo of Owens from Rugby Banter captioned: “I am the only Welsh man getting near a World Cup final”.

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