Many of you will have noticed there’s a lot of rugby on telly at the minute.
The small matter of the Rugby World Cup is currently being contested a short way across the pond in England and everyone involved is taking it pretty seriously.
While the pundits over-analyse how good people are at knocking other people over and avoiding being knocked over themselves, here’s an alternative view from the Rugby World Cup to lighten the mood.
1. Land Of The Rising Scrum
The big talking point of the weekend was Japan’s victory over South Africa, a country with two Rugby World Cup’s under their belts. The Brave Blossoms outplayed a strong Springboks team in every department to secure the biggest ever upset in the history of the Rugby World Cup.
No one could have seen it coming. It was as though the Japanese team had been cultivated in a top-secret underground facility and this was the first time they’d ever been unleashed on the unsuspecting rugby world. I wouldn’t put it past both Mr Miyagi and Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being involved.
Or maybe the Brave Blossoms just blossomed, like the girl in your class in primary school who you used to eat things out of bins who ended up on the cover of Nuts.
2. Nadolo Express
One of the stand out stars from the first round of games was Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo. On several occasions he scythed through England’s rearguard like a freight train on a mission, that mission being to a deliver a rugby ball to the try line – a simile conclusively backed up by the following image.
Although hosts England ran out bonus point winners in the end, the rest of Group A are wondering how they’re going to stop this human train. My suggestion is wet leaves or an elaborate hoax device. If you’ve ever travelled the Bangor to Portadown line you can verify these guaranteed methods of stopping trains.
3. Video Killed The Referee’s Call
There’s been a couple of tries so far in the tournament that have been awarded by the refs only to be reviewed after the opposing fans’ uproar upon seeing the video replay prior to the conversion. In the case of Matawalu’s try for Fiji and Nakaitaci’s try for France, both were disallowed after fans alerted the ref to the fact the player had lost control of the ball in scoring the try. It’s a bit like going for an interview and being told you’ve got a new job only to be told the employer has decided not to hire you based on the fact the rest of the workforce signed a petition saying their didn’t like your haircut.
Given this new try review development, it’s got to the stage where you can’t relax that you’ve got the points until you see the conversion been taken. Even then you’re wondering if the points could get taken off you again on the bus home after a post-match review.
I fear the IRB might go as far as setting up a Historic Enquiries Team to review every try every scored in every Rugby World Cup. There were some particular dubious decisions in favour of the home nation South Africa who ran out winners in 1995. It’s only a matter of time before Matt Damon gets a call telling him he has to give the Webb Ellis trophy back.
During the Ireland vs Canada game reference was made to Canada’s Jamie Cudmore having his own wine label called Sin Bin which includes Yellow Card and Red Card – a reference to his poor disciplinary record. Right on cue he got yellow carded and Ireland took full advantage.
A little further reading on Cudmore tells you he used to be an enforcer for drug dealers and spent a year in a youth detention centre following an assault conviction. After one of his neighbours was killed at a house party in his family home that got out of hand, Cudmore turned his back on his old life and turned to rugby to put him on the straight and narrow.
Fair play to him for putting it all behind him and making it to the top of the game with Clermont Auvergne. His rise from the gutter to the stars kind of puts the red and yellow cards in perspective.
On an irrelevant note, his younger brother Daniel played the role of Colossus in the X-Men movies.
5. Tullow Tank
Sean O’Brien scored the opening try for Ireland in their demolition of Canada. The commentator on ITV told us that O’Brien’s nickname is the Tullow Tank. He could have left it there. But just in case we hadn’t worked it out, he added, “Tullow because of the place he comes from and tank because of the way he plays”.
Here’s me thinking it was Tullow because of his favourite stop on the N81 and tank because he’s got a really, really long nose and his head can rotate 360 degrees.