Who’d have thought when the Rugby World Cup began that Scotland would emerge as the standard-bearers for the northern hemisphere?

That said, you might as well miss by a mile as a millimetre because the end result is the same. The only consolation for the losing quartet of Wales, France, Ireland and Scotland is they don’t have far to travel home.

Here’s an alternative view of the weekend when everything went south…

The best way to lose

Daniel O’Donnell on Strictly Come Dancing was leading the way for most embarrassing Irish TV performance until the Irish Rugby team stole his thunder on Sunday with an even more uncoordinated display.

Here’s the question. Would you rather bow out of the World Cup like Ireland and France, with nothing more than a whimper, beaten soundly by better teams. Or would you rather push your opponent to the limit only to be robbed of victory at the death like Scotland, and to a lesser extent Wales.

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Saturday 17th October 2015 - Boxing - All on the Line - Ireland vs Argentina (Fans Belfast) Pictured is Ireland Rugby fans at the Botanic Inn in Belfast as the team loose 43 - 20 Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Ireland Rugby fans in the Bot react to the news that the carvery has run out of roasties. Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye

In the case of Scotland, that moment when Craig Joubert awarded a penalty to Australia in the dying seconds will haunt them indefinitely.

Ireland on the other hand were sent packing with their tails between their legs. Once the embarrassment wears off, there’s very little bitterness to be harboured. We’ll just forget this Rugby World Cup ever happened.

But for Scotland the memories will be bittersweet.  The nation has been bolstered with intense pride thanks to an unbelievable display of bravery and skills, but at the same time they will have a bad taste in their mouths for decades to come… one that has nothing to do with their poor diet.

Pride, Passion and Desire

Ireland were well beaten on Sunday by a team who played with more pride, passion and desire. It’s hard to believe Ireland were a kick away from drawing level at the start of the second half given the gulf in class and determination between the two sides.

Ireland missed an astonishing 27 tackles during the game with Dave Kearney being the biggest culprit, missing five out of nine tackles. And to think Joe Schmidt rates this guy higher than Andrew Trimble.

In fairness to the younger Kearney brother, he did provide one of the few Irish highlights of the match – grinning and bearing it like a man as his dislocated finger got popped back into place by the team medic. It was the one and only time during the game that someone in the Irish team ‘got their finger out’.

IRELAND vs ARGENTINA | Sunday 18th October 2015 Chris Henry during the RWC 2015 Quarter-Final clash between Ireland and Argentina at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Photo credit: John Dickson / DICKSONDIGITAL

Chris Henry takes the ball into contact while the rest of the Irish backline wonder if they’ll get home in time for X Factor. Picture by John Dickson / DICKSONDIGITAL

This was the scene in the Argentina dressing room before the match…

Coach: Okay men, do we want to play in the semi final of the Rugby World Cup?

Players (as one): We want nothing more in the world. Shall we make an oath in the blood of our wives and children?

Meanwhile in the Irish dressing room…

Coach: Okay men, do we want to play in the semi final of the Rugby World Cup?

What date’s it on?

Can I put my name down for a couple of tickets for my uncle?

Does anyone know the WiFi password here?

Villainous behaviour

Craig Joubert

Rugby Joubert

Joubert was like a nightclub bouncer, refusing Scotland entry to the exclusive semi final club because their face didn’t fit. The harsh yellow card for Sean Maitland and the quickfire last-minute penalty for Australia was his way of saying, “I’m sorry, but your name’s not on the list”.

But unlike a bouncer who hangs about ready for a scrap, Joubert made a hasty exit at the end of the game, sprinting off the pitch like a guilty schoolboy.

Apparently Dave Kearney tried to stop him in the tunnel, but Joubert got past him easily.

Fourie Du Preez

Rugby DP

Du Preez broke Welsh hearts with a late try after a valiant display looked to have won Warren Gatland’s men a place in the semi finals. The South African scrum half took on the role of pantomime villain to deliver the knock out blow. If only someone had shouted “He’s behind you” as the scrum started to wheel.

Ramiro Herrera

Having already been yellow carded in the first half, Argentina’s Herrera was lucky not to be sent off for diving head first into a ruck in the second half. It could have changed the game, but the way Argentina were playing they could probably have beaten Ireland with just 10 men on the pitch.

Herrera reminds me of Bluto from the Popeye cartoons. Sadly no one from Ireland had eaten their spinach before the game and rather than out-muscle our opponents we ended up looking like a bit of a Mickey Mouse team.

Rugby Herrera BlutoRugby Bluto

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