Friday, September 16, 2011

From the Touchline

A lighter look at what is happening at Rugby World Cup 2011. 

The numbers 
0 - Changes made by Wales and Canada in their starting XVs, a RWC first for both. They are the only teams so far to make no changes in their starting line-ups.

3 - Australia and England have not conceded a try in their last three Rugby World Cup matches. There has been only one longer streak in RWC history, with South Africa keeping the opposition from scoring a try in six successive RWC matches from 1999 to 2003.

22 - After 12 matches at the RWC 2011, Theuns Kotze of Namibia is the tournament's top points scorer on 22 points (1 try, 1 conversion, 2 penalties, 3 drop goals).  

He said it
"They've gone out and had a drink. 'Rugby player drinks beer - shocker'."
England manager Martin Johnson assesses newspaper coverage of his players' behaviour.
Dry humour
Late in the rain-sodden clash between USA  and Russia, referee Dave Pearson was knocked over by Todd Clever as the Eagles skipper tried to join a ruck.
A fracas between the two teams ensued and the English official had to call the two captains together to get them to calm their players down.
As Clever was heading back to his men, Pearson added: "And you'll be getting my cleaning bill."  

Muck in the ruck
Teachers didn't expect their pupils to be told dirty stories when England players turned up for a question-and-answer session at Arrowtown Primary school near Queenstown.
But hooker Dylan Hartley was intent on recounting a messy episode involving front row partner Alex Corbisiero.
He revealed that during a Six Nations clash with Scotland this year, Corbisiero inadvertently rolled in some fox droppings left behind when a four-legged intruder on the Twickenham pitch delayed kick-off for several minutes.
As the children listened in glee, a suitably embarrassed Corbisiero simply shook his head. 

Creche tackle
James Haskell was also in a sharing mood, explaining to one of the children that he took up rugby because his mother wanted to get him out of the house.
As he was so poor at every other sport he tried, Mrs H decided the only way to get peace and quiet at home was to lie about the age of her troublesome five-year-old so that he could join the local rugby club.
The England back row admitted the deal was sealed when his dad realised he could get a beer at the club on a Sunday and his mum finally found the solace she was searching for.

Playing the Baa-baas
Students of New Zealand fauna are in for a surprise as they enter rural Lumsden in North Otago. 
Four sheep there are spray-painted with the black fern, the English rose, the Irish shamrock and Romanian colours, while four more in a specially fenced area close to the highway are caped in Argentine, Scottish, English and Romanian flags.
It is the locals’ way of becoming part of RWC 2011 and providing some light relief for the many thousands of supporters passing through. 

Generation game
The memories came flooding back for Romania assistant coach and former All Black prop forward Steve McDowall on a school visit this week.
He came face to face with Max, the 10-year-old son of former Auckland prop and teammate Olo Brown.
Max attends Queenstown Primary School and wore one of his dad's All Blacks caps to meet the Romania team, a gesture that suitably impressed McDowall.
McDowall and Brown played just one Test together for the All Blacks, a 59-6 victory against Ireland in Wellington in June 1992. The match marked McDowall's last match in a 46-cap career, while it was the first of Brown's 56 Tests.  

Birthday damp squib
If Fiji fly half Nicky Little "got on the piss”, as he promised, for his 35th birthday earlier in the week, he’s not telling.
“No, it was a tame night in the end,” Little said somewhat unconvincingly between nervous glances in the direction of coach Samu Domoni.
“The hardest thing was having to fight for a bit of my own birthday cake. There wasn’t much left by the time I got to it. The boys demolished it.”

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