Rugby World Cup takeaways: France and Ireland live up to the hype. High tackles are already an issue

The two biggest takeaways from the first block of games at the Rugby World Cup have reinforced a couple of pre-tournament predictions. France and Ireland both appear to be the real deal and ready to challenge the southern hemisphere’s vise-like grip on the trophy. Rugby’s newish rules on head contact and player safety also threaten to be an overriding theme at the tournament and match officials are already under scrutiny for apparent inconsistency. There was one red card for a head clash in the opening set of eight games and there might easily have been at least two more.

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