11 February 2017.
Rugby has been the true winner of the day at the inaugural Brisbane Global Rugby Tens starting off with an absolute bang and the surprise packet of the tournament being Japanese club, the Panasonic Wild Knights, going undefeated in their pool games.
Coached by Robbie Deans, the former Wallabies, and Crusaders coach, no one expected these results with the betting agencies paying $41 to the Japanese club to top their pool games. This team has been underestimated due to the size of the pack, however, are now a force to watch on the global rugby scale. The Wild Knights played an exciting running style of rugby, which stunned the Waratahs and the Rebels defeating both teams 15-5 and 17-12 respectively.
Playing in stifling 39-degree conditions, the tournament has been a positive sign to rugby in Queensland with approximately 30,000 vocal spectators, attending the first day of the tournament, many of the punters utilised the shadier sections in the stadium before the majority congregated in the lower bowl shortly before the Reds vs Crusaders match up.
With the tournament advertising a party like atmosphere, the crowd did not disappoint with costumes galore, many ranging from lifeguards to even comedy skit, Russell Coight turning up for their “Down Under Adventures”.
The New Zealand sides have had mixed results on the first day, with the two-time Super Rugby champions, the Chiefs going down in the first match of the tournament. The Highlanders and Canterbury powerhouse, the Crusaders have had better success, currently undefeated in their matches, with the Crusaders knocking over their old foes, the Queensland Reds in a 28-0 drubbing.
Crusaders newest recruit, Digby Ioane, scored the opening try with a barnstorming run against his former team, on just only his first touch of the football.
The Hurricanes had a thriller match against the Western Force in their opening match with a 12-0 deficit at halftime then coming back to win the match with a late try by former All Black, Cory Jane. The Wellington-based side then lost to the Highlanders 13-5 early into the evening.
International sides, Toulon, and the Bulls have had a mixed yet disappointing first day of the tournament, with the Bulls winning against the Western Force, yet losing to the Brumbies in the second both of their pool matches. French glamour club, Toulon had a late withdrawal with rugby ‘bad-boy’ James O’Connor succumbing to an ankle injury. The French side lost both matches against the Brumbies and the Western Force. However, both the Bulls and Toulon lacked direction which made their games boring to watch despite the international quality presented in both teams.
Rebels 19 def Chiefs 5
Panasonic Wild Knights 15 def Waratahs 5
Reds 17 drew with Blues 17
Bulls 14 def Force 10
Highlanders 14 def Brumbies 7
Crusaders 12 def Samoa 7
Panasonic Wild Knights 17 def Rebels 12
Hurricanes 19 def Force 12
Chiefs 26 def Waratahs 14
Brumbies 10 def Toulon 0
Crusaders 28 def Reds 0
Samoa 27 def Blues 14
Highlanders 13 def Hurricanes 5
Brumbies 7 def Bulls 5
Force 7 def Toulon 5