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The five best Rugby World Cup 2019™ shots hand-picked by a Getty Images editor

Fans wave French flags at the Wales v France quarter final match in the Oita Stadium. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
An ultra-wide angle lens enabled photographer Shaun Botterill to capture the entire spectacle as fans waved French flags prior to the Wales v France Rugby World Cup 2019™ quarter final match at Oita Stadium. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens at 11mm, 1/1400 sec, f/5.6 and ISO1600. © Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Rugby World Cup 2019™ was a fantastic spectacle for sports enthusiasts around the world, and a hectic time for photographers trying to capture the action. While fans were immersed in events and cheering on their teams, photographers were firing off thousands of action shots and editors were rapidly evaluating, post-processing and sending out images across the world.

One of those editors was James Chance, who has worked at Getty Images for over three years and was the agency's lead rugby editor at Rugby World Cup 2019™. He worked as part of a team of between four and nine editors in Getty's London office.

James was responsible for 'tagging' – viewing the images as they were sent in by the agency's photographers and selecting the ones to keep, edit and send out. He ensured the agency had images of each match's peak action, significant events and newsworthy incidents, plus shots that captured its spectacle and atmosphere.

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Other team members were responsible for cropping, colour correction and adjusting brightness, or captioning and sending images to clients and the Getty Images website. The team was kept busy – during the Rugby World Cup™ final, for example, they received over 2,000 images from photographers.

"During a live match it's very pressurised, but it's a fantastic job because we get to see these amazing images live," says James. "It's a privilege. We get to see history being made – for instance, images of a winning try, penalty or drop goal – before anyone else. We're also helping to create history by editing the photographs and sending them out to clients worldwide."

From the many thousands of Rugby World Cup 2019™ images that James saw, there are some shots that stood out from the crowd. Here, he selects his five personal favourite images from an exciting and incident-packed tournament, and tells us why he found them special.

1. Atmospheric fan shot, by Shaun Botterill

When he first saw Shaun Botterill's image above, James says: "The thing that stood out was the Oita stadium itself. Photographically, it was probably the stadium that stood out the most throughout the whole tournament. Most of the pictures taken there were shot when it was darker, so the roof of the stadium is pitch black. But this was one of the rare matches that took place earlier in the day, so you can see the amazing architecture of the roof. It was taken with a Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM wide-angle lens, which shows the whole stadium.

"When you add the three France fans, with all their flags showing the three colours, plus the large number of fans in the frame, it makes an incredible atmospheric shot. This picture definitely would have been picked up for the live internet blogs, because it tells a story of the match: you can see the players walking out onto the pitch in the background and you can sense the crowd's excitement and anticipation."

A view from the stands of a Canada player making a break with the ball in the Italy v Canada Rugby World Cup 2019™ Group B match.
Great sports action photos don't have to be taken from the sidelines! Photographer David Ramos shot from high up in the stands to perfectly sum up the play as DTH van der Merwe of Canada ran with the ball during the Italy v Canada Rugby World Cup 2019™ Group B match at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens at 150mm, 1/1600 sec, f/2.8 and ISO1600. © David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby™ via Getty Images
Two England players tackle a New Zealand player during the England v New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2019™ semi-final match, lifting him off the ground.
Stu Forster's classic action shot captured the moment that Jack Goodhue of New Zealand was tackled by two England players during the England v New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2019™ semi-final at International Stadium Yokohama. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens at 1/2500 sec, f/2.8 and ISO3200. © Stu Forster/Getty Images
As the referee blows the final whistle, South Africa players celebrate their win over England in the Rugby World Cup 2019™ final.
Timing is everything: Michael Steele froze the instant that South Africa became Rugby World Cup 2019™ winners, showing referee Jerome Garces blowing his whistle to end the tournament final against England at International Stadium Yokohama. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens at 1/2500 sec, f/2.8 and ISO4000. © Michael Steele/Getty Images

4. Final whistle celebration and dejection, by Michael Steele

"The contrasting emotion of the two sets of players in this shot is just incredible," says James. "It was taken at the final whistle in the Rugby World Cup™ final. The referee has his hand in the air and the whistle to his mouth, so you know it's the exact moment the match ended. It's the moment the South African players knew they'd won the Rugby World Cup™ and the moment the England players realised it hadn't gone their way.

"It was shot using a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens. The photographer, Michael Steele, was obviously shooting from an elevated position and has got lots of players in the frame. Most photographers positioned pitch-side would have been concentrating on one specific player that was close to them. However, shooting from the stands, you want to set the scene and show the contrast in emotions from as many players as you can. Each player's actions tell a story after an incredibly hard-fought match."

Members of the Japan team celebrate a try during the Japan v Scotland Rugby World Cup 2019™ Group A match. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
Stu Forster captured the emotion as Kenki Fukuoka of Japan (number 11) celebrated with teammates after scoring a try, and Scotland players reacted during the Japan v Scotland Rugby World Cup 2019™ Group A match at International Stadium Yokohama. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens at 110mm, 1/2000 sec, f/3.5 and ISO3200. © Stu Forster/Getty Images

5. Japan's players celebrate a try, by Stu Forster

James says: "Japan's team did so well in the tournament and were a breath of fresh air throughout. This shot was taken just after Japan had scored a try during the match against Scotland, which was one of Japan's big wins in the group matches. This image sums up the pure emotion of the moment and how much it meant to the Japanese team.

"The picture was taken by Stu Forster, who is one of our most experienced rugby photographers. He chose a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens, and using the zoom has given him the flexibility to compose the shot in a way that gives context. As well as showing Japan's players celebrating, there's also the two dejected Scotland players. In particular the expression of Stuart Hogg on the far right, looking towards the celebrating Japanese players, captures the moment perfectly. Stu has created a picture that sums up the whole match rather than just being a nice celebration picture."

Автор David Clark


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