Wednesday's 2011 Rugby World Cup action was all about Canada and their tremendous come-from-behind victory over Tonga in Pool A action in Whangarei.
The Canadians trailed Tonga by 13-20 with 13 minutes to go, but scores from Aaron Carpenter and Phil Mackenzie broke Tongan hearts, handing them their second defeat with games to come against Japan and France.
However, the Canucks are no strangers to RWC tournaments, having played at every World Cup to date... and have given a good account of themselves in the process.
Canada scored their seventh World Cup win (averaging one a tournament) in the process - a result which effectively dumped Tonga out of the 2011 World Cup - but the Canucks have to go better than their tournament average in order to progress to what would be a second-ever quarterfinal appearance (which they achieved in 1991).
A few Canadian World Cup records worth noting:
- Gareth Rees has scored 120 points for the Canucks in Rugby World Cup matches. That leaves Rees as the 11th-highest points-scorer in RWC history, just behind France's Thierry Lacroix (124 points) and South African Percy Montgomery (111).
- Al Charron and Morgan Williams have scored four tries at RWC level - the same amount as the likes of Will Carling (England), Chester Williams (South Africa), Scott Hastings (Scotland), Aaron Mauger (New Zealand), Philippe Bernat-Salles (France) and Michael Lynagh (Australia).
- Prop Rod Snow is Canada's most-capped RWC player with 14 matches; level with Jason Little (Australia), Philippe Sella (France) and Brian Moore (England) and more than players like Jeremy Guscott and Neil Back (both England) and Scotland great Gavin Hastings.
Rugby's Greatest Beard:
Canada's Adam Kleeberger earned rave reviews for his all-action display against the Tongans on Wednesday.
However, beard-aficionados were more interested in facial growth than his actual performance, with Josh Strauss - who plays his rugby for the Golden Lions in South Africa - coming under pressure for the title of Rugby's Greatest Beard.
We thought you could make the choice yourself - who's beard is the best, Strauss's or Kleeberger's?
If you're really keen to have a say about Rugby's Greatest Beard, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a mention at Twitter (@rugby365com) and cast your vote!
Built for speed:
Takudzwa Ngwenya was arguably the most exciting player at the 2007 World Cup - his try against the Springboks showing up Bryan Habana, who was the most potent attacking force at the last RWC.
On Thursday he will go head-to-head with Russian speedster Vasily Artemyev who - this season - became the first Russian to sign a professional contract in England (with Northampton Saints).
Below, we have two videos - one of Ngwenya's sensational score against the Boks... and the other of a rather impressive try he scored when the USA played against the selfsame Russians in the 2010 Churchill Cup.
Webb v Ellis:
New Zealand have named Andy Ellis in their 22-man squad to face Japan this weekend.
The Cherry Blossoms have picked Shaun Webb. If the latter comes on as a substitute, we could see the first instance in RWC history in which a Webb takes the field to face an Ellis.
With thanks to rugbyworldcup.com
An Irishman, an Australian... and a...
Irish fullback Geordan Murphy clearly knows one too many Australians called O'Connor.
In discussing the attacking threats in the Wallabies back line, Murphy mentioned "Matt O'Connor", raising a murmur from the assembled press.
Realising he had referred to the 40-year-old Aussie coach of his club side Leicester rather than wing James O'Connor, one of the most dangerous Wallaby backs, Murphy lamented that he wished it was the older version he was facing at Eden Park on Saturday.
With thanks to rugbyworldcup.com
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