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.
Now that we’ve all had a good laugh about England getting knocked out of the World Cup on home soil with nothing to blame but their own shortcomings, it’s time to face the repercussions.
First up, the rest of the home nations (with the possible exception of Ireland) will become British until they too exit the tournament.
Or, ITV might take the schoolboy approach and take their ball home so no one else can play any more. By which I mean they might switch all coverage to ITV4.
I suppose at least there’s the X Factor to look forward to on Saturday nights again; a weekly celebration of mediocre performers – no different to what went on with the English Rugby team at the World Cup then.
In fairness to England they’ve done an excellent job of hosting the World Cup. They’ve been such good hosts that they’ve given up their own bed to people visiting from overseas and gone to stay at their aunt’s house until the party’s over.
David Pocock has been phenomenal in the two matches he’s played at this Rugby World Cup. I’m convinced he’s superhuman. It’s like he was bitten by a radioactive spider at a young age which has given him the ability to ruck like no one else who’s ever graced a rugby pitch. Not just any spider though – this was a really big, rucking spider.
Just to confirm Pocock’s status as a superhero, he’s even got his own sidekick. Michael Hooper may look like he’s just stepped off the Home & Away set, but his foraging ability alongside Pocock creates one of the most dynamic duos in world rugby. It was good that there was two breakdown experts at Twickenham on Saturday night given that both wheels came off the chariot.
Iain Henderson is another player who has stood out at the Rugby World Cup. He may look about 12 but he plays like an old hand who’s been there, done that and got the XXXL T-shirt. His ball carrying has been immense and his strength in the tackle looks almost effortless.
Unfortunately for Iain, such is his baby face that he is regularly refused service at the bar. His reaction is to start crying. Not because he’s sad, but because his tears are made of vodka.
Henderson, Best and O’Mahony aside Ireland’s performance against Italy was pretty dire. If the Canada match had been an explosive debut album and the Romania game a solid sophomore follow up, then yesterday was the prog rock concept album – one that even the most ardent Irish Rugby fans couldn’t get their heads around.
No one is going to fear playing Ireland after seeing their disjointed efforts against Italy. Unless that’s exactly what they wanted to achieve. If Joe Schmidt’s plan is to lull the rugby world into a false sense of security then it is a devilish one. South Africa did the same against Japan in the opening round of matches and now they look like a team who could go all the way.
It wasn’t pretty, but Ireland are in the World Cup quarter finals. If we beat France next Sunday we’ll face Argentina, lose and we’ll play New Zealand. I’ll be honest, I’d rather face the All Blacks. Argentina are building momentum nicely after running New Zealand close in the opening game. The All Blacks on the other hand have looked stuttering and won’t be going into the quarter finals in top gear.
A tight encounter with France ending in a defeat, daft as it may sound, wouldn’t be the worst result for Ireland.
Maradona in Leicester
Last week it was Che Guevara, this week Diego Maradona was the celebrity revolutionary being talked about during the Argentina game.
The football superstar was at his nation’s game against Tonga, something the cameraman seemed particularly pleased about.
Given his history of drug use Diego must have been really exciting every time someone got a line out.