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  • Writer's pictureJustin Bishop

fu3e views: Rugby World Cup 2023.

Today (Friday) sees the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup with 20 international teams vying for the William Webb Ellis trophy over 48 matches, in 9 cities across host nation France.

It looks to be an incredible event, especially with the initial group stages being determined back in 2020. The world rankings have subsequently changed drastically, with Pool B – dubbed the Pool of Death - in particular holding 3 of the current Top 5 in the world with Ireland (1), South Africa (3) and Scotland (5).

The fu3e name, developed out of the original parent company F3group and maintaining brand integrity, F3’s own name was derived from the 3 front row players in a scrum and founder Gavin Gleave’s rugby position. Now fu3e, de-grouped and an established company in its own right has a number of ex-rugby players - and even more enthusiasts – on its team – so we asked some of them their thoughts leading up to rugby’s biggest showcase.

Rugby World Cup memories:

Group Head of Marketing Justin Bishop played for Ireland in the 1999 World Cup, when asked his overriding memory from that competition? “Losing to Argentina is a memory I'll never forget. A communication mistake in the defence between myself and Conor O’Shea led to Argentina scoring in the corner. It still makes me sick in the stomach”.

More disappointment on a personal note when asking fu3e CCO and ex-Ireland International Rob Henderson his Rugby World Cup memory, “Sitting on an inflatable Guinness chair above the doorway of a pub in Wandsworth in 1999, having been one of only 2 players dropped from the Ireland World Cup squad -the other being the great Anthony Foley”.

As spectators the New Zealand wing Jonah Lomu becoming the first true global superstar at the 1995 World Cup, literally running over a few Englishmen in the process, is a legendary cup moment not to be forgotten said Justin Bishop. But as proud Englishmen Tim Maton, Adam Halsey and Todd Gleave all said Johnny Wilkinson’s drop goal in the 2003 World Cup Final simply had to be their standout World Cup moment.

Players to watch:

Of the current crop of players, who do our fu3e old guard think will be ones to watch? CFO Tim Maton points to young Springbok centre, Canan Moodie whilst IT Manager Adam Halsey thinks Samoan flanker Theo McFarland has been great for Saracens adding, “I’m excited about what he can do on the world stage”. Justin Bishop tips his cap to New Zealand’s Will Jordan, who he feels has definitely got the X Factor, whilst still being young but yet well established for a number of years. fu3e’s most recently retired player and now Senior Account Manager, Todd Gleave opted for Les Bleus captain Anton Dupont, voted world's best rugby player in 2021.

Dark horse teams:

Any notable teams/dark horses recommended by the fuse team for us armchair enthusiasts to look out for? “Argentina could be a surprise”, Justin Bishop cautions, but admits they will need to keep their emotional side in check, as keeping the starting 23 will also be key. Further, with confidence high after their recent win over England, Adam Halsey says his dark horse is Fiji, adding, “now with a new coaching setup and their high-profile players like Semi Radradra they will be hard to beat”, He predicts.

One thing all the fu3e team questioned agreed on was the opening game between France and New Zealand is the match they’re most looking forward to.

Bunker System for Refs:

A new area away from crowds and other interference and occupied by dedicated foul play review officials, which World Rugby are hoping will help with the flow of the game. When asked former professional player and now coach of Horsham Rugby Club, Adam Halsey agrees with the revamp, “It takes the pressure off the refs to make a big decision which could affect the entire game.”

Rugby to business:

From the seemingly disparate world of rugby to real estate software, the team noted similarities and interesting analogies. CFO Tim Maton felt that in both arenas, “Knowledge, information and planning are key to success plus team members you can trust 100% to do the job required of them.” Whilst Justin Bishop continued, “Rugby players often face physical and mental challenges during a match, but resilience can lead to victory. Similarly, the business world is full of ups and downs. Companies may encounter setbacks, but resilience and perseverance are key to overcoming these challenges and achieving long-term success.”

And whilst he might not have made a World Cup, British & Irish Lion Rob Henderson uses the analogy of that touring team with business, explaining, ‘Digitisation in RE is like assembling a Lions squad. Disparate groups not communicated effectively, if at all, and then seamlessly coming together to create an efficient cohesive unit.’

Prediction time; Who is going to win?

Todd Gleave: New Zealand.

Justin Bishop: South Africa.

Rob Henderson: “I hope that Ireland can get past the quarter-final stages and if so, I believe will win the trophy. Bolter from the pack could be Argentina”.

Tim Maton: South Africa or France.

Adam Halsey: “My gut says South Africa with big results over Wales and New Zealand. Power and pace all over the pitch. But on their home turf France on their day are also in the race to win!”

With more potential winners heading into his competition than ever before, this looks to be a rather different World Cup. Which teams’ resilience, perseverance and cool heads under pressure will come out on top? There’ll be a few upsets and even more surprises. Here’s to a great competition!

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