Rugby World Cup 2015 – A Photographic Celebration Of Sportsmanship

Rugby World Cup 2015 is exciting and compelling viewing as small nations shock big nations and favourites get beaten. But despite dreams being shattered and no matter what the result,  sportsmanship prevails in Rugby World Cup 2015. After the game, all players shake hands. Many embrace. Some even pray together (Fiji v Australia).

Cup Webb Ellis

And the rugby  fans are just the same. The brotherhood of  rugby is alive and well as you will see from the photos below. Send us your photos of the comaraderie of fans, officials, players. Here’s some of mine from Ireland v Canada, Group D RWC 2015 match in Cardiff.

 Fijian war dancers brighten up everyone's day RWC2015
Fijian war dancers brighten up everyone’s day RWC2015


Ireland v Canada, Sat, Sep 19, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 14.30 KO

Millenium Stadium , Cardiff by the river Taff
Millenium Stadium , Cardiff by the river Taff RWC2015


A bishop and his pint
The Bishop and his pint get a police escort RWC2015

Canadian Mounties

Canadian Mounties share the Irish shamrock with me RWC2015

 Musical Canadian (with his violin) embraces the shamrock
Musical Canadian (with his violin) embraces the shamrock RWC2015


Very friendly Cardiff policemen mix with Canadian mounties and Irish fans RWC2015
Happy Days For Clover Head
Happy Days For Clover Head RWC2015
Super Mario Brothers embrace the shamrock
Super Mario Brothers embrace the shamrock RWC2015
Happy Clover Head
Happy Clover Head RWC2015
Happy Days - Happy Clover Heads - after Ireland win over Canada in Cardiff RWC2015
Happy Days – Happy Clover Heads – after Ireland win over Canada in Cardiff RWC2015
King Dick and Little John (two guys wearing jackets , one is King Dick and the other, is Little John RWC2015
King Dick and Little John
 Karl Sugrue, whom, some years ago, some thought could have played for Ireland - recovering in hospital from recent illness.
Happy Birthday to one of Ireland’s greats, Karl Sugrue, whom, some years ago, some thought could have played for Ireland – recovering in hospital from recent illness but like many millions around the world is watching this wonderful Rugby World Cup 2015. We wish you a speedy recovery. Get well soon Karl.

Result: Ireland 50;  Canada 7

Ireland v Romania, Sunday , Sep 27th, Wembley Stadium, 16.45 KO

Wembley arch
Fanzone on the left; Wembley arch centre; Shamrock bottom right; Dreams are in the clouds for all Irish rugby fans. RWC2015


Colourful fans
fun fans RWC2015
Friendly staff at Wembley - great atmosphere building
Friendly staff at Wembley – great atmosphere building RWC2015
 Romanian, scrum half, Florin Surugiu, bent down on one knee, on the Wembley turf, before the game & proposed to his girlfriend, Alexandria, who said 'Yes!'
Romanian, scrum half, Florin Surugiu, bent down on one knee, on the Wembley turf, before the game & proposed to his girlfriend, Alexandria, who said ‘Yes!’ He is standing on his own on the touchline (see above) and here he is on video (see blow).

Romania’s Florin Surugiu proposes to his now fiancee, Alexandria

Wembley Stadium : RWC 2015 Ireland v Romania
Packed Wembley Stadium : RWC 2015 Ireland v Romania
Paul and Lily with Shamrock in Wembley
No prouder father! Meself and my daughter, Lily are on a roll after attending the Canadian game in Cardiff and now the Romanian game in Wembley. RWC2015
Irl v Romania
Game on
Ireland v Romania under the Wembley arch
Ireland v Romania #RWC2015

Are Mexican Waves mindless sheep like behaviour, which distract the players in the heat of #RWC2015 battle or just good fun, when people unite in a self controlled cohesive selfie coriography?  Here it is. The Mexican Wave coming right at you in #Wembley Stadium DURING Ireland v Romania RWC2015 match!

 Panoramic view of Wembley Stadium
Panoramic view of Wembley Stadium


Paul O'Connell
Captain Fantastic O’Connell


Keith Earls
Keith Dynamic  Earls
Joe Schmidt
The Mastermind, Ireland’s amazing coach, Joe Schmidt


Keith Earls
The darting genius, Keith Earls and the lovely , Lily Smith


Rob Kearney
The smooth running, sky capturing, attacking full back, Rob Kearney and Lily Smith


Rob Kearney
Rob Kearney grabbed the Paul from me – natural instinct form a truly great world class player
Donnacha Ryan
Donnacha Ryan, the right man to have on your side, along with Aran Mullarkey


Waiting by the lift
Waiting for Godot
Johnny Mullarkey
The pride of Mayo, the great Johnny Mullarkey, London Irish legend
Line Outs Jumping inside hotel
16 Line Outs Inside: Relentless Practising Line Out Calls and Jumps (and catches)
Bearded man who likes like a famous Munster centre, Seamus Dennison
Seamus Dennison Look A Like



The great Johnny Mullarkey, London Irish VP, and my daughter, Lily.

Note: There is a full story about an act of kindness by Johnny Mullarkey in the book, Great Moments Of Sportsmanship.

Happy Days as Ireland progress and build some momentum – smiling faces everywhere

The Wembley arch turns green
Wembley arch lights up in green after an Irish victory over the brave Romanians. Wembley was fantastic. Great day. Now we move onwards to the Olympic Stadium…..more next week.

Result: Ireland 44;  Romania 10

Ireland v Italy, Sun, Oct 4, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London 16.45 KO

And off we go to the Olympic Stadium where we once enjoyed London 2012. This time it’s Italy and they want to make a point!IMG_9150

Are those pyramid lights turned upside down since London 2012 Olympics (see for yourselves)?

Ireland & Italy sing their respective national anthems
The great tradition – of singing one’s national anthem while the atmosphere builds.

IMG_9154Game on!

Game over in the blink of an eye. A hard fought battle. Players shake hands, while Italian no.11 and Ireland’s Zebo have a friendly chat (on the left).

Irish and Italian fans together
Italian fans become friends with Irish fans
Italian players wave goodbye
Italians wave farewell to both sets of fans

It’s all over for Italy. The dream has one. They are going home. But they still come out and walk the pitch and wave at both sets of fans. Farewell to the Azuri – they played brilliantly. And now Ireland march onto Cardiff where the French await them to decide who tops the group and therefore who avoids the All Blacks in the quarter finals.

Result: Ireland 16;  Italy 9

Ireland v France, Sun, Oct 11, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff  16.45 KO

Here come the French……..

4 french chickens Fry Irish shamrock
French fried chicken make a friendly shamrock shake

You would never believe this was a top of the table clash between two nations to decide who avoids the All Blacks (New Zealand) in the quarter finals. The winner meets Argentina (who have thrown Ireland  out of world cups before).

Napoleon fan
Even Napoleon wants a slice of the action.


2 French Fans 1 RWC2015
French bulgers and characters
2 French fans Mohican French and Irish RWC2015
Irish Coqs French Mohicans


Leprachauns carrying Irish fans
Leprachaun abusers – someone has to stop this kind of behaviour.

Why should Leprechauns be forced to carry overweight Irish fans around on their shoulders all day long? it simply isn’t right. Someone has to stop it!

Scrum paractice between fans #RWC2015
Scrum time – Irish fans (Smith brothers: Rory & Paul) scrummaging with French fans (before kick off).


French & Irish teams line up for the national anthems RWC2015
National anthems – French & Irish passions flow


 French team form the tunnel and applaud Irish team off the pitch RWC2015
Respect: French team form the tunnel and applaud Irish team off the pitch


Paul Smith and his son Cian feeling proud after the game
Emotional moment my son, Cian, and I have seen a few special Irish rugby battles including the Grand Slam in Cardiff and England in Croke Park, but this was something else.

Result: Ireland 24;  France 9

More photos,  over the next few days, will be added from this epic match and the magnificent French fans who lit up the competition.

I can’t upload any of my Ireland v Argentina photos and videos as I am still trying to get over the empty feeling of being stuffed by a really good Argentinian team.

Ireland v Argentina, Sun Oct 18, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 13.00 KO

Ireland’s dream – to go beyond the quarter finals. We’ve never done it before. Despite injuries, we still have a great team (and a great manager).

National Anthems being sung
National anthems. Full of hope.

Argentina exploded in the first 20 minutes with two tries and eventually building up a 17 point lead (20-3) in the first half. Ireland clawed their way back to within 3 points but then the Argentinians went into overdrive in the last 20 minutes  and ran away with it 43-20.

Game 22 m line
Argentina put constant pressure on Ireland

Argentina played great rugby and thoroughly deserved to win their quarter final against Ireland in Cardiff. Their fans danced the night away (see video below) and in a week’s time when they lost the semi finals to Australia their fans danced the night away (see second video below). They lit Rugby World Cup 2015 up.

Ireland 20  Argentina 43

Argentina v Australia, Sun, 25 Oct, Twickenham Stadium, 16.00 KO

Ok we thought we’d be in the semi finals in Twickenham playing Australia. Instead it was that wonderful Argentinian team attacking relentlessly – every player wanting to take on the excellent Australian team. I will post more photos later.

Argy Fans with Aussy fans
Argentinian & Australian fans after the game – can you tell who won? This is the brotherhood of rugby.

Have a look at the video below. A week before the Argentinians danced for hours after beating Ireland in the quarter finals. Now they dance for hours after being beaten by Australia. This is the brotherhood of rugby. We love you Argentina.

Argentina  15    Australia  29

Rugby World Cup 2015 Final                         New Zealand v Australia, Sat, 31 Oct, Twickenham Stadium, 16.00 KO

With both teams going for their 3rd William Webb Ellis Trophy and New Zealand, in particular, trying to become the first team ever to retain the Rugby World Cup, it promised to be a great match – with both sides bursting with explosive talent.

The Rugby World Cup - The William Webb Ellis Trophy
The William Webb Ellis Trophy

It was indeed a great spectacle with New Zealand building up a big lead 21-3, followed by Australia coming right back into, 21-17, until the All Blacks and their wonderful fly half, Dan Carter, did a ‘Johnny Wilkinson’ by scoring a fantastic drop goal followed by a 50m penalty kick plus a AB’s break away try to seal it.

And this happened….. after the Australian captain, Stephen Moore, honourably said that the ABs were the better team and they deserved to win and after the AB’s captain fantastic, the amazing Richie McKaw, complimented the Aussies on making it a great game, the ABs did a victory lap – a child ran towards them – a steward heavily tackled the child – Sony Bill Williams knelt down, helped the child up, escorted him back to his family and then….. the most magical moment in this Rugby World Cup 2015 …… (see for yourself – watch this stunning video)……

New Zealand 34    Australia 17

The Maori Haka Secrets Revealed

Tiki Edwards NZRU’s Maori community manager explains the importance of communities in rugby and the ties between the people, the community and their land. Maori concepts like ‘whakapapa (ancestral connections), ‘whenua’ (land connections) and ‘whanau’ (family connections).  Tiki says: “The haka isn’t about the enemy. It’s about us. It’s about opening ourselves up to our ancestors, to their spirits, about filling ourselves with their strengths and gifts. It’s hard to explain.” The haka expresses the connection between the people, their land, their ancestors. “It is a real force for us.” For more see Andy Bull’s excellent article, The making of an All Black.

Congratulations to Richie McCaw and the New Zealand All Blacks. Worthy world champions. It has been a truly wonderful Rugby World Cup.

People had a lot of fun.

rugby ball humanFans MuddyKiwi fans

2 French fans 2 Piggy irish

New friends were made. See the photo below. Can you tell who won?

Japan 2
Who won? South Africa or Japan?
Japan won! So SA’s Johann Delport donated his ‘scalp’ (& swapped shirts) with his new Japanese friend.

That’s a great benchmark for sportsmanship …..when, after the game, you can’t tell who has won! Fans mingle and have fun. After all, when the final whistle is blown, the referee declares ‘No Side’.


You might also also enjoy:

Great sportsmanship on the night: The mighty All Blacks march as Snow White’s dwarfs (after being beaten by Munster).

A Maori Prayer for Donal Caniffe’s Dad (the Munster captain’s Dad died of a heart attack after the above game).

Why Kiwis love Munster: Silence was broken by a dog barking outside the packed stadium.

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14 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup 2015 – A Photographic Celebration Of Sportsmanship”

  1. Marvellous pictures Paul. Looks like the entire team wanted to get snapped with the iconic shamrock staff or maybe it was just ‘cos Lily was with ya – definitely a chip of the ole block!
    And great to see that Karl is making a speedy recovery. A player who never quite realised his full potential despite all the early promise in his younger days at Castleknock. He made quite an impact with all that hard after-hours work in his London Irish days. Best wishes to him.

    • Yes indeed Brendan. All the players were so relaxed. And as for Joe Schmidt, he radiates a good feeling – he really has a great smile and warmth about him. A gentleman. In fact all the lads were great. A little kid burst into tears when Paul O’Connell leaned over to sign his Mum’s autograph, so O’Connell knelt down with the little kid and got him smiling eventually! You can understand how frightening for th kid seeing a real giant! As for Mr. Sugrue – classy, exciting player too.

  2. Great pictures Paul and great memories of what was a fantastic day.
    And waiting for Godot pic Superb!!
    Can you let me know the line out calls for Sunday, did you manage to get any tips from Paul o’Connell !!

    IRFU should make you their roving rugby ambassador as you do a exceptional job of showing of what is best about this wonderful game we all love and support and have played with such fond memories

    Slan agus Beannacht De.

    • Martin, go raibh a mile maith agat. You are 100% correct – this is the unbridled joy and comaraderie of rugby – the brotherhood of rugby is unique. Am going to Italian game in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium this Sunday & once again , there will be great fun between the fans and respect and friendship between the players (after the game!). Will post new pictures next Mon. ~ Paul

  3. Wow – looks like an amazing experience. Lots of fun being had by all. You sure do have the contacts Buddy. Look forward to seeing you Sunday morning!!

  4. Great pictures, makes the hairs on my arm tingle. Can’t wait until Sunday to soak up the atmosphere and crack. Come on Ireland.

    • Steve, the atmosphere for the French game was unreal. I asked a Welsh RFU stewart afterwards what he thought and he said it was louder and wilder than when Wales play at home. Some compliment to the Irish fans eh?

  5. Wonderful pictures, Paul, and great commentary!! I especially agree with your comments about the Ireland-France match – I have never experienced such an atmosphere at any sports event, ever!! Even better than the last Lions tour!! It was great hanging with you and Rory for a while!! Four more years of Joe Schmidt, and maybe in Japan in 2019……

    • I know ‘extraordinary’ is an over-used word, but yes Peter it was simply ‘extraordinnary’. See you in Japan 2015. ~ Paul

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