UK media madness continues with stories about anything but actual games. And I don't think The Current Bun even knows the bloody World Cup is on.
The Times’ Grievin’ Bones says England need Henry as coach! And yesterday’s Metro here in London carried a little item of how the Premiership’s newest league convert Leslie 'The Volcano' Vainikolo, has thoughts of UK residency that could allow him to play for England. What a beat up! Can we cry “poachers” now? Nah, its a tired old line, as my chum Ferdy says, and we should not sink to the level of the UK media drones ... BUT if any Rose-wearing knob says we steal Samoans, just point out to them that in 1914 the NZ Expeditionary Force captured Samoa from Germany in The Great War, and pillaging colonies is a great BRITISH tradition!
Breathe, count to ten ...
Now, are the Irish Rugby team in crisis? Reports of Geordan Murphy being ready to quit for not being picked against Argentina are being denied ... but is he getting ready to do a Keano? Obviously, NZ would prefer a lacklustre Ireland in the Quarter Final, rather than a rebounding Les Bleus side on the rise after their banana peel opener vs the Pumas, and a frolic against Namibia. I think the prospect of either France or (gulp) us going out in the first knockout round would be bad for the tourney as a whole. France going out may kill it in the host nation.
But, are France the Dads Army of this RWC? There are some old heads and long campaigners there (Ibanez, Betsen, Pelous) ... do they have the stamina to match us, or even put us out in Cardiff? I think they have as much, if not slightly more depth than us ... especially at 4 through 8. Players like Betsen, Nyanga and the new 7 Thiery Dusautoir guarantee them quick ball, and Chabal is becoming one of this Cup’s crowd pleasers - check that run for his second try against Namibia.
But I think, with our fit, top XV (whatever that is), we just edge them in solidity, skill & speed.
Big Seb is also settling in at lock, a plan ‘Bernie the Door’ has had for some time apparently, and will play in the second row again, against Ireland. Yannick Jauzion is dropped, but is this cotton wool or the wooden spoon? We ate cracking paninis at a sandwich bar in La Ciotat called ‘Yannick’ with a oval ball logo ... is it Jauzion’s chain?
Chabal’s ultimate nemesis may well be Jerry Collins, who revealed his one weakness to the rugby media yesterday: a childhood fear of roosters. However, his methods of conquering that fear may well silence the crows of Le Coqs Rouge ... at breakneck speed.
Time to go - some pics here we took from our seats at the Italy game. Shows how close we were.
Seen the new England top? Thanks, Fi.
Interesting article here from Independent two weeks back, about rugby's rise under the Vichy regime in the 1940s, how it replaced ‘treize’ the 13 man game with not so subtle political moves.