PARIS, 30 September – Argentina's victory over tournament hosts France in the opening match set the tone for a pool full of drama.
The Pumas were brilliant in each match, tackling their opponents to the last.
France bounced back to reclaim their form, beating Ireland on the way, while Georgia grabbed their first world cup win by defeating Namibia.
Ignacio Corleto's try in the opening match of RWC 2007 could yet prove to be one of his most important ever for the Pumas, as it set them on their way to top Pool D and avoid the tournament favourites New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
His fellow wing Lucas Borges is the Pumas' most prolific try-scorer at the cup, while number 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón has weighed in with a try brace. Centre-cum-fly half Felipe Contepomi has kept the scoreboard ticking over. The 11 points he bagged in the win against Ireland has taken his total to 53 - the second most of any player at RWC 2007. Argentina's vaunted forward pack has laid the foundation for victory in each of their four pool wins.
The host nation had the weight of expectation on their shoulders to begin with and that pressure intensified after the loss to Argentina, but wing Vincent Clerc rose to the occasion with five tries in his next two matches, including a hat-trick against Namibia.
Sébastien Chabal was at his usual barnstorming best with a brace against Namibia, the French crowd cheering his every charge at opponents, while scrum half and place kicker Jean-Baptiste Elissalde was again dependable with the boot. Wing Christophe Dominici came alive with two tries against Georgia to become France's record try scorer at RWCs with eight.
Failing to qualify post pool play capped a disappointing tournament for the highly-regarded Irish. However, captain Brian O'Driscoll was a rare highlight amid the gloom with consistent performances.
The world class centre notched his sixth world cup try – an Ireland record – when he streaked through the defence to dot down under the posts in the crucial loss to Argentina in the final pool match.
The strength of Georgia's forward pack is well known and to a man they relished the opportunity to go up against their more experienced counterparts, giving Argentina, Ireland – in particular – and France a few headaches.
Wings Giorgi Shkinin and Irakli Machkhaneli, hooker Akvsenti Giorgadze and centre Davit Kachavara all scored tries, the last three in Georgia's first ever RWC win over Namibia when fly half Merab Kvirikashvili was named man of the match.
Namibia are still waiting for their first world cup victory after 11 matches, but captain Kees Lensing led their campaign from the front under their young coach Hakkies Husselman - his former team-mate at RWC 2003.
Centre Piet van Zyl and flanker Jacques Nieuwenhuis drew inspiration from each other in Namibia's opening match against Ireland, the room-mates both scoring a try in the second half of the 32-17 defeat.