Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cracking eggs

You won’t find any meaningful analysis of the Rugby World Cup from me. However, I have enjoyed the tournament. The Wales v Fiji game was a ding dong battle and the France v All Blacks game was pure theatre from the French standing nose to nose with the snarling Kiwi haka to Jean-Baptiste Elisalde sprinting in towards his own line to punt the ball into the crowd and ensure victory.

I admire what England have achieved, though they are a one man team, I know Johnny Wilkinson couldn’t win games on his own. More importantly, England can’t win without Wilkinson. Without him on the pitch, their efforts are largely redundant. Unlike many, I like to see heroes being heroic.

But, the problem with Rugby is that it is only accessible at a certain level. From an outsider’s point of view, a vast majority appears to be about big men lying on top of each other. Its difficult to know whether Sebastien Chabal, the modern day cave man and hairy scary bastard, is a good player or just a hairy scary bastard. He looks great when his beard and hair is drenched in mud, sweat and others’ teeth, but what’s he doing lying on the floor in the first place?

The rules don’t help, they’ve been invented to make the game as aesthetically pleasing as possible, but you can only trust that the referee isn’t making them up like a game of Mornington Crescent. Players can be penalised for going in on the wrong side and doing things in a scrum that no end of TV replays can clarify. With England so reliant on Wilkinson’s penalties, who knows what might win them the game – eating fish fingers in a ruck or doing impressions of Ronny Corbett with one foot off the ground perhaps?


Chabal: petrifying nutter. Just... yikes.

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