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A-Z of the 2011 World Cup

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Tom Fordyce | 19:27 UK time, Monday, 24 October 2011

Auckland, North Island
And so, after seven weeks, 48 matches and 360 tries, the 2011 Rugby World Cup is over.

The final ended up as simple as ABC - All Blacks champions - so it seems fitting that we should follow suit. I'll start us off, you fill in your own suggestions.

A is for
Altitude Bar, the Queenstown drinking-hole where Mike Tindall and several other England players enjoyed themselves a little too much for the tabloids' tastes. See also Adductor Longus Tendon, the body-part that obsessed a nation after Dan Carter's injury robbed them of their fly-half phenomenon.

B is for
Beards. Not since the hirsute heroics of the 1970s has so much facial fuzz been seen on a rugby pitch. Canada's Adam Kleeberger and Jebb Sinclair led the way, but honourable mentions must also go to England's Dan Cole, Australia's Tatafu Polota-Nau and Italy's Martin Castrogiovanni. Chin up, boys.

Adam Kleeberger, Dan Cole, Martin Castrogiovanni

The battle of the beards: Adam Kleeberger v Dan Cole v Martin Castrogiovanni. Photos: Getty

C is for
Christchurch. While the rest of the country tucked into a feast of rugby, the city devastated by February's earthquake ploughed on with its billion-dollar clean-up. Its World Cup matches might have been moved elsewhere, but no-one in New Zealand forgot about its plight for a moment.

D is for
Dusautoir, the inspirational French captain whose leadership and indefatigable tackling somehow steered a divided team all the way to the final and then very nearly won it for them. He has since been named IRB player of the year. See also Denis Simplikevich, the fleet-footed Russia winger who scored scorching tries against both Ireland and Australia.

E is for
Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, the Samoa centre who landed in the hottest water after a series of furious Tweets attacking the IRB, Welsh referee Nigel Owens and anyone else within range. A sample of his work?

"IRB, Stop exploiting my people. Please, all we ask, is fairness. If they get a week, give us a week. Simple. #equ[al]ity #justice."

"Ok, it's obvious the IRB are unjust. Wales get 7 days, we get 3. Unfair treatment, like slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid."

An apology followed. So did another Twitter rant.

"I can understand the hate!! Haha good luck u racist biased p****. Get s.a into next round. The plan was obvious. Can't wait 2 meet irb members in public."

"Wasn't about world cup today. RWC has been invalidated when they give us half the rest as the rich. It was about us v world champs. I'm proud to be Samoan! Irb, my bum, kiss it!"

F is for
The silver fern flags that hung everywhere you looked - from houses, on fences, on cars and up flagpoles the length and breadth of New Zealand. And for ferry, specifically the one across Auckland harbour that England centre Manu Tuilagi decided to jump off. Manu overboard!

G is for
Gatland, the Kiwi coach who prepared Wales so well that they were just a point short of their first World Cup final in history.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry

A rare smile from New Zealand coach Graham Henry as the All Blacks finally delivered. Photo: Getty

H is for
Henry, the Kiwi coach who went one better and took his country to their first Webb-Ellis trophy in almost quarter of a century. When the final whistle went at Eden Park, there are even rumours that a smile crossed those cantankerous chops.

I is for
Israel Dagg, whose early form triggered off my favourite Twitter debate of the entire tournament: the compilation of a special 'Middle-East XV'. If the line-up suggested by fellow tweeters was impressive - Dan Qatar, Mark Kuwaito, Omanu Tuilagi, Jordan Crane, Ronan O'Gaza, QUAEde Cooper - nothing could touch our coach, the legendary Syrian McGeechan.

J is for
Jerome Kaino, the All Black back row who received half the headlines of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter or Ma'a Nonu but was outstanding from start of World Cup to finish. Mention in dispatches too for Argentina's rampaging colossus Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

K is for
Karangahape Road, the Auckland street known locally as 'K Road' which was trodden by thousands of supporters' feet as they marched out along the splendid Fan Trail from city centre to Eden Park. What could have been a dull 50-minute trudge was turned by organisers into a match-day parade of carnival proportions - bands playing in every bus-stop, vans giving out free ice-creams, cross-dressers on stilts and smiling marshalls everywhere you looked.

L is for
Law 10.4, specifically sub-section (j), the implementation of which by referee Alain Rolland in the 18th minute of Wales' semi-final against France saw skipper Sam Warburton red-carded and the course of the contest altered forever.

M is for
McCaw. Ruled out of two pool matches with injury, unable to train before the games he did make, the Kiwi captain nonetheless produced Herculean performances when it mattered most. It wasn't just those famous turnovers, either - in the key semi-final win over Australia, McCaw left the breakdown battering to Owen Franks and instead tackled and tossed the Wallaby attack into oblivion.

Tonga celebrate beating France

Tonga's 19-14 defeat of France was one of the great upsets in World Cup history. Photo: Getty

N is for
New boys, the young bucks and fresh faces who lit up the tournament and made the wider world aware of them for the first time - George North, Toby Faletau, Sean O'Brien, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg...

O is for
Officials. Rolland took a pasting in some nationalistic quarters for sending off Skipper Sam, but it was nothing compared to the fury directed at Bryce Lawrence after his laissez-faire performance in the Springboks-Wallabies quarter-final. Hate-mail, crank calls and a 60,000-name online petition all followed where cooler heads should have ruled. Did Craig Joubert get it all right in the final? The arguments will rage on and on.

P is for
Pocock, the Wallabies' turnover specialist who was threatening to be player of the tournament with a week to go. But, for his folk-hero status and the way he initially stilled a nation's fears after Carter's injury, it has to be the man known around town simply as Piri. Best-selling t-shirt in New Zealand? "KEEP CALM - PIRI'S ON." We'll let Weepu get away with that nervous wobble in the final itself.

Q is for
Quade. Started as the mercurial maverick who might inspire the Wallabies to World Cup glory; ended it on crutches after popping his anterior cruciate ligament in the third-place play-off, after seven weeks of spilled high balls, mis-directed passes and kicks that went out on the full. From public enemy no.1 to public laughing stock. Here's hoping he comes back stronger.

R is for
Rugby World Cup retirements. The 2011 showpiece marked the final tournament bow for several great stalwarts of World Cups past - Brian O'Driscoll and Jonny Wilkinson; Shane Williams and Victor Matfield; Keven Mealamu and John Smit. Gentlemen, we salute you.

S is for
Three options: scheduling, as in far shorter recovery periods given to the second-tier nations compared to the big boys; Spala, location of the now legendary pre-tournament Welsh fitness camps; and "spoiled brats", one choice barb among the many directed by France coach Marc Lievremont at his baffled charges.

T is for
Tonga. The 19-14 win over France in the pool stages joins Western Samoa's defeat of Wales in 1991 and Fiji's victory over the same side in 2007 as one of the great upsets in World Cup history. Had they not allowed Canada to get away from them in an earlier match, it would have been Tonga (playing population: 6,800) and not France (314,000 registered players) in the quarter-finals.

U is for
Uplifting. The World Cup in France four years ago was blighted by the tactic of kicking the ball away, players terrified of being penalised for taking the ball into contact. The new interpretations at the breakdown might not have pleased all of the old guard, but they did make for more free-flowing rugby. Even when they didn't we had plenty of enthralling contests on our hands - Ireland v Australia, Samoa v South Africa, Wales v Ireland, Wallabies v Springboks...

V is for
Viaduct Harbour, the parade of bars and restaurants on the Auckland waterfront that were the centrepiece of all celebrations and wakes. Not as naughty as Marseille's Vieux Port had been in 2007, but for those of us who were there, maybe that's not a bad thing.

W is for
Walkie-talkie, as in the device taken from a female hotel worker in Dunedin by England's James Haskell to trigger another salacious front page scandal. And welcome, as in the wonderful reception Kiwis across the country gave to anyone over here for the rugby fun.

X is for
X-Factor, possessed in large qualities by stand-out stars of 2011 like Jamie Roberts, Israel Dagg, Imanol Harinodoquy, James O'Connor and Rhys Priestland.

Y is for
Yellow buckets. Confused? Don't be. At the Romania v Georgia match in Palmerston North, a game which could easily have been played out in an empty stadium, thousands of locals turned out in the colours of either team to cheer from the rooftops - including hundreds of students wearing yellow buckets as a sideways tribute to their adopted team's bright strip. It captured perfectly the way New Zealand took the tournament - and all its teams, big names or not - to its heart.

Z is for
Zealand's zenith. Okay, it might not make perfect grammatical sense. But can you come up with anything more fitting?


Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Re Y - Romania v Georgia was not in New Plymouth, but Palmerston North, and there were more red and white buckets than yellow. The 'Student City' is well know for it's use of green buckets as a supporter clothing item for games involving the Manawatu Turbo's.

  • Comment number 2.

    Perhaps one very important point was missed. C for Competitivity. No team was bullied out of the way by another. 87 points was the highest score and winning margin in the whole contest and while many games were comfortable wins for the big teams, they were never truly thumpings. I hope this means the gap is closing between the biggest and smallest teams (take a HUGE bow Tonga) and if the IRB sort out the funding and admin well, maybe by 2019 we could see 12 of the 20 teams turning up with genuine hopes of making the Semi finals and 16 with realistic aims of the quarters.

  • Comment number 3.

    O is for (1) O'Driscoll The RWC said adios to the best centre of the professional era. (2) Over the top - the media coverage of England's off the field exploits.

    B is for blogs...

  • Comment number 4.

    Excellent blogs Tom, I have really enjoyed them, especially the one on Sir Colin Meads. You've not only given decent accounts of the games that we have all seen on the TV, but, just as importantly, you've given a real feeling for what the tournament has meant to New Zealand as a whole.
    You are absolutely spot on, C is most certainly for Christchurch, such a tragedy for a rugby fanatic region.

  • Comment number 5.

    Tom - I'm not an Aussie fan, nor do I especially like Quade Cooper, but I do think his bad World Cup is being a little overblown. Yes, it was a poor tournament by his own high standards; yes, he made several hilarious errors; and yes, Berrick Barnes will be wondering what he has to do to claim the #10 shirt for himself; but he also threw the final pass in no fewer than TEN of the Wallabies' tries. If you think that kind of statistic comes with the half-back territory, well, Yachvili and Flood each claimed four such assists, but no other half-back got more than two. In fact, nobody else in the whole tournament got more than four.
    His problem was, rather than being consistently poor, he veered from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again within the course of every flow of play. Much like the whole French team in the pool stages...

  • Comment number 6.

    Mealamu hasn't retired, he re-signed with NZRU for two more years

  • Comment number 7.

    What a pity the spectacle was ruined by the poorest TV coverage ever in a sporting event. The camera angles were awful, missed most of the touch line kicks (oh and before you say it I have seen games on the widest of TV's), the constant showing of coaches and staff in the fish bowls and the crowd, which resulted in many missed actions on the pitch. The overhead camera angles were unbeleiveably stomach churning; couldn't see what was going on in the scrum (you need to be at ground level to see the reason why penalties were given). Zooming in on players who were making a break so we couldn't see the support or defence, Let's hope the next world cup gets some cameramen and producers who understand RUGBY and the great game itself. We, who couldn't get to the "back of beyond" were left missing a great deal of action due to poor TV coverage.

    Howard (HK)

  • Comment number 8.

    T for travesty of not having Ian Robertson's match commentary at RWC2011

  • Comment number 9.

    Surely B for Ball Switching or C for Cheating or is that being swept under the carpet?

    K for Kicking gone astray I can't think of a worse WC for kicks.

  • Comment number 10.

    'E' should be for English rugby. After all, France got to the final by playing like England, and the All Blacks won it by playing like England (all minus the mistakes). If only England had played like England, then maybe things would have turned out differently. Let's have no more whinging from patronising Kiwis, Aussies and others about the boring English style of play - it works, and can make for absorbing contests.

    Good choice for 'K', but it should also be for all those Kiwis who made us feel so welcome so far from home. They set standard we shall find it hard to match in 2015.

    My 'V' would be for Vickery, whose weird combination of insight and ear-crushing patriotism made his commentary worth travelling half way around the earth to avoid,.

  • Comment number 11.

    Scrum badger, your Stats are compelling except that Australia only scored one try against against any top 10 playing nation, that being 240 minutes of rugby against NZ, S.A and Ireland. When it mattered Quade looked like he would rather be listening to his walkman.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    No. 1, Why have you felt the need to reiterate the fact the game was played at Palmerston North?

    No 6, R is for Rugby world cup retirements!

    What are you two on about?!

  • Comment number 14.

    @ ndear,

    Couldn't agree more, a breath of fresh air to see the minnows take the fight to the bully boys. There's nothing worse or more demoralising than seeing the All Blacks putting a score the Black Caps could only dream of past a Namibia or a Japan. One caveat though, I don't think the word "Competitivity" actually exists, but don't let pedantry get in the way of a well made point.


    Not sure the kiwis would take kindly to you referring to NZ being the 'back of beyond', particularly if you're halfway to the 'back of beyond' (HK).

  • Comment number 15.

    Sorry wasn't ment to be offensive just stating that NZ is a long way from anywhere (not as bad as say Tonga Fiji etc. I mean I would love to have gone. If the games were in say Japan then you could go for a weekend without remortgaging your house.
    Australia = out BACK ; therefore NZ = Beyond Back or back of beyond haha
    Again Tongue in Cheek
    I agree minnows are good for the game, eg "I never knew Romania, Georgia etc played Rugby...fancy that"

    Howard (HK)

  • Comment number 16.

    H. For the Haka and all of the Pacific nation's equivalents.

  • Comment number 17.

    H for Haka. F for fine. R for ridiculous.

    Everyone in Auckland thinks the IRB's stupid for fining Fra. It's all about facing and accepting a challenge. Lots of locals and tourists today throwing out the dosh to pay their fine - just like how everyone did for Manu Samoa's mouthguard fine.

  • Comment number 18.

    B for Billy Ellis. Gosh he's small, but means so much to 4.2 million kiwis.

  • Comment number 19.

    R for Ritalin. What Ali Wiiliams needed when fronting press conferences.

  • Comment number 20.

    V for Volounteers. Without the army of 5000 this WC would never have rocked the way it did.

  • Comment number 21.

    Noah please stop!

  • Comment number 22.

    Noah - bang on. the IRB have shown themselves as officious, out of touch, buffoons this RWC. From silly fines to Mike Miller claiming all the teams are replaceable.
    Oh well, I guess someone has to get rich off all our joy and fanatacism. It's either gonna be them or the bankers

  • Comment number 23.

    Thank you so much Tom. We'll miss your column but hope to see you here in 2015!

  • Comment number 24.

    22 SouthSeaIslander: mate, it's an idiotic ruling, ain't it? I was in the Viaduct today and saw people carrying buckets asking the public for donations. Once people knew what it was for, they were emptying their pockets! I did the same!

  • Comment number 25.

    N for No. No Stinho! :-)

  • Comment number 26.

    L for LEAVE! BRITNEY! err I mean, QUADEY! ALONE!

  • Comment number 27.

    N for Quade's Nan. Bless her :-)

  • Comment number 28.

    Dusautoir is spelt with a "u".

  • Comment number 29.

    C for the two Chubby AB fans in the kiwi costumes. I'm sure they were at the football WC last year! The beaks were looking a little worse for wear, but hey, still showing the love!

  • Comment number 30.

    I for the International fans. Each and every one of them. Legends.

  • Comment number 31.

    D for Dwarfs aka Hobbitts, citizens of Queenstown aka Middle Earth.

  • Comment number 32.

    P for poor. A world cup won in boring style with no classic game whatsoever. A world cup where a team who loses three times is seen by some as "the team of the tournament".

    Sadly it confirms that when it counts the only home team capable of beating a SH team in the knock out stages is England and the less said about their world cup the better.

    The 95,99,03 and 07 WCs were all great. This one was appalling and yet again too many one-sided matches in the group stages. It's boring watching one team hammer another.

    Let's have a smaller world cup not one with teams who could not beat other teams U21s.

  • Comment number 33.

    Thanks for all the positive comments Tom and co-contributors. Downtown Auckland today was just not the same....having followed the AB's in the UK I know what it is like to be welcomed and to have continuous fun interrupted by rugby. Saving for the next one.

  • Comment number 34.

    FriarNZ: I second those sentiments. Good on you.

  • Comment number 35.

    "A" could be for acting, when Vincent Clerc fell to the ground, with hands over his face in agony. Less than two minutes later, he is sprinting around the field - a miraculous recovery, encore, encore, encore!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    A for Apia, Western Samoa, a place where no modern AB team has yet played - to the shame of the NZRU.

  • Comment number 38.

    ?! You mean, V isn't for Village Idiots? A team who celebrated their success long and vocally before getting home and realising they had lost half of their games and slipped two place in the world rankings?

  • Comment number 39.

    Where's "Western Samoa" Noah? Is that in the mythical South Sea Islands?

    Did you mean the Independent State of Samoa, perhaps?

    Tell me, when was the last time one of the Six Nations teams played in Lisbon?

  • Comment number 40.


    After the 2005 Lions tour incident, I do not see how you can include Mealamu in your list of gentlemen.

  • Comment number 41.

    What a load of c--p. How about some real comments?
    E for England or embarrassing, ennui,
    J for Joubert or joke,
    M for Mcaw or malice,
    P for Press, pejorative, pervasive, perverted
    or R for referees or ridiculous, robbers
    need I go on?

  • Comment number 42.

    Tut Tut.... you forgot to include Heineken under H. The IRB will not be impressed at this deliberate omission of a sponsor... Oh how I pray we don't have to drink this rubbish in 2015... Can we get an English Ale on the go instead? Majority of rugby fans are lager haters anyway, aren't we?!

  • Comment number 43.

    and another - for greyghost. "W" for "whinging Pom". What did happen to England in the Rugby World Cup - I know they attended Mike Tindall's post wedding stag do, but did they do anything else?

  • Comment number 44.

    Oh F for Friday the stupidist day for the play-offs.

    Was there anybody who didn't have to take time off to watch it?

    Howard (HK)

  • Comment number 45.

    F should be for Fine.

    As in the ridiculous fines handed out by the IRB. Fining the Tuialagi's for using the wrong mouthgaurd and fining France for responding to the challenge of the Haka with a challenge of their own.

  • Comment number 46.

    Is that top story about Wales slipping to 8th in the world rankings just to highlight how incredulous the IRB as an organisation is. Not content with having ruined the outcome of 4 matches at this world cup with their corrupt referees (Wal v SA, SA v Aus, Wal v Fra and the final itself) they then have to go and kick sand in the face of Wales with this rankings debacle.

    So they've slipped behind argentina a team they outperformed in the world cup and thrashed just before hand, Ireland a team they thrased in the world cup and finished above, and england a team they beat before the world cup and outperformed. Joke and the jokes on the IRB...

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    T is for thanks - for the welcome that the entire New Zealand nation gave the travelling nations and supporters where ever they went.
    L & G is for the laughs and giggles we got watching the off field nonsense surrounding the English and French teams, us Scots needed something to smile about
    F for Fail - epic fail, the IRB and referees, for all the sodding about they've done with game and rules to ensure the fairytale ending. I wouldn't let the likes of Lawrence, Joubert and Rolland referee a kids game.
    S for Sadness - that Scotland were so totally inept again, look for some hope, all you get is crushing disappointment.
    W for Wales - Gutted for the whole nation because they and they alone salvaged the tournament from it's monotany only to be crushed by the worst refereeing decision in the history of the game.
    O is for over - I'm actually glad it is over because bar one or two games it's been the most boring RWC yet. Teams were afraid to win just in case they lost and as a result we didn't see the kind of rugby that the tournament deserved.

    Roll on 2015

  • Comment number 49.

    All nonsense aside on the blogs racist and otherwise (you all know who you are) i can only say that i wish the coverage had been by the BBC as the blogs provided just show what quality we have missed with the incompetent ITV dross served up to us.

  • Comment number 50.

    B is for BBC. How much better would the coverage have been with the Beeb looking after the action!

  • Comment number 51.

    39: hi greyghost. Western Samoa is right next door to American Samoa. Lisbon? Your GPS playing up?!

  • Comment number 52.

    S is for South Pacific. The Tri-N is boring now. Make it a biannual competition. In the years it's not played have the Tri-N countries commit to test(s) against South Pacific sides (in SA's case, Namibia). Preferably home and away! (better away!)

  • Comment number 53.

    What about M for Man City wooped MU. If each open play goal represented a try and conversion the score would have been 42 to 7 :-)

  • Comment number 54.

    I have had a good laugh reading about the tricks the circus clowns masquerading as rugby players were up to in NZ. Reminds me of an old Elvis hit song, PARTY !!, they even had time to practise their scrummage in a beer hall, still it didn't work !! And one of them was so plastered he jumped off the pier head in Auckland Harbour to cool off. Don't try that again Son, the sharks there don't take kindly to being offerred strange diets from the other side of the world.

    Poor Mike T could get an old fashioned rollocking from his Mum-in-Law when he gets home; one is not amused apparently, and his official title may be postponed indefinitely now.

    And to think that Tonga could have won the RWC; but alas Fate dealt a cruel hand just as the tiny South Seas Kingdom needed Fortune on their side.

    But look forward now guys, all is not lost !!

  • Comment number 55.

    53 bluepeter: fantastic wasn't it?!! EPL's version of last year's el clasico manita 5-0!

  • Comment number 56.

    E is for early mornings. Having dominated my life for the last 6 weeks.

    I is for innevitable. That feeling that New Zealand were going to win the cup from the very begining.

    L is for lost revenue. That the IRB seem to be wanting to make for with silly fines. Honestly what can you do during the Hake that wouldn't be deemed as offensive? Seems like any reaction is taken that way. Though I do agree with them when they told the All Blacks that the world cup is bigger than any team. If they choose not to turn up in 2015 up to them it will still go ahead.

    M is for minnows. By far the most exciting games were between the smaller sides. Top of the tree has to be Canada v Japan which was a thrilling game from start to finish. No game in the knock out stages was that exciting for me. Also typically they did better than in previous cups, still a fair few thrashings though.

  • Comment number 57.

    To people like betarider and EalingWelsh please stop whinging and moaning about the refereeing decision against Warburton in the semi final. I’ve never seen such a bunch of babies as some of the Welsh fans. Let’s get facts straight here. Wales for some reason believe they should have won the World Cup. They lost to South Africa, Australia and France and beat only one decent team, Ireland. So why all the hype? For their fans to moan about the red card is a joke. In the semi final France played so badly that there was little evidence they had a one man advantage. Wales had plenty of opportunities to win the game and missed 15 points worth of kicks. Between all three Welsh kickers they managed to land 1 out of 6 kicks at goal and missed further drop goal attempts too. Mike Phillips was celebrating his try before he even touched the ball down. He should have been concentration on getting closer to the post to make the already very kickable conversion even easier for Stephen Jones. Jones hit the post with the conversion so even if Phillips had managed to touch down a foot closer to the posts instead of prematurely celebrating, Jones would have landed the conversion and Wales would have won the game.
    Also, in the last 10 minutes Jones would not step up to the mark and take the responsibility of dropping a goal that would have won the match. Wales lost the game through the stupidity of Phillips, the inaccuracy of their kickers and the fact that Jones chickened of his responsibilities as an out half. They did not lose the game because of Rolland’s red card decision which may have been harsh but was ultimately still well within the rules of the game and was further backed up by the IRB. So please get over it. It’s pathetic and embarrassing to your team at this stage. You didn’t deserve to win the world cup, New Zealand did. If you did deserve to win it you would have. And before anyone accuses me of being anti Welsh or an English fan I can assure you I’m not.

  • Comment number 58.

    W is for Welsh whingers, I is for idiot as in Mike Phillips for celebrating his try too early, m is for missing which is waht the Welsh kickers did, C is for chickening out which is what Jones did in the semi and finally G is for get over it which is what some Welsh fans should do.

  • Comment number 59.

    @57 - I don't know how long it took you to type out that little rant but, given that the events of that semi-final are probably permanently etched on the memory of every Welsh fan, that the synopsis of the game there was an exercise in superflousness? Imagine what better use you could have put that time to. Making sweeping generalisations about an entire team's fan-base, based upon a handful of comments on blogs like this...oh...hang on...I see you've managed to do that as well. Good multitasking! Are you a lady?

  • Comment number 60.

    @57......Nice rant, pointless but a nice rant, have you got lost from the footballists blogs by some chance??

    I'm a Scot by the way but took great pleasure from the way Wales played in this world cup and if you can't see the travesty in the Warburton decision or the many other horrendous refereeing decisions made during this world cup you must be blind or not watching what the rest of us watched

  • Comment number 61.

    for a british sports website some mention of scotland would have been nice. what about the retirement of Chris Paterson? his accuracy with the boot has hardly been rivaled and with four world cup appearances surely he's worth a mention.
    Thanks for all oyu've done Chris, have a happy retirement!

  • Comment number 62.

    Soupbear, try learning to read properly. I clearly use the words "some Welsh fans". So no, I didn't make a gereralisation about an "entire" team's fan base. I suggest you take more time in the future and try and come up with sensible comments instead of rubbish.

  • Comment number 63.

    To betaride. Every point I made is both relevant and accurate. If you don't agree with them that is fair enough but I suggest you try arguing against them instead of coming out with general statements such as pointless rant.

  • Comment number 64.

    Post 8 is spot on. What is the point of Talk****e? Get the commentary back on Radio 5.

  • Comment number 65.

    @62 Yes, you're absolutely right. I feel wretched. The thought of upsetting a lady of your clearly sublime rugby wisdom mixed with such measured, well considered, and clearly not trying to offend anyone in any way comments as you posted in #59 has really quite shaken me. I'll probably get no sleep tonight. Please forgive me?

  • Comment number 66.

    @Soupbear (65) - I presume you are a welsh supporter?

  • Comment number 67.

    Soupbear you're an idiot. It's like trying to communicate with a tree. For starters I'm not a lady and take any points I made @57 and let me know why you think it is wrong. You obviously haven't a clue about rugby otherwise you'd be able to intelligently argue against my points instead of trying to insult me by calling me a lady. You're pathetic!

  • Comment number 68.

    pmatson wrote:
    "To people like betarider and EalingWelsh please stop whinging and moaning about the refereeing decision against Warburton in the semi final. I’ve never seen such a bunch of babies as some of the Welsh fans."

    Oh, as if you wouldn't be whinging had it happened to England - the world record holders of whinging!

    Thanks for the laugh. :)

  • Comment number 69.

    It hardly takes twenty six letters to describe the highlights of the 2011 Rugby World Cup - in fact the fingers of one hand would be more than enough. I'd describe the tournament as dull but that would be an insult to genuinely dull tournaments.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Ma'a LebaNonu anyone?

  • Comment number 72.

    Thought the tournament was as equally dissappointing as this last blog post. Not nearly as bad as the following dirge of boring and pathetic comments though...

  • Comment number 73.

    @67 - "Soupbear you're an idiot. It's like trying to communicate with a tree."

    You have experience of trying to communicate with trees? No wonder your comments are a little...odd.

    What is wrong with your post at 57? Well, firstly, I'll tell you what's right. Yes, it was a red. Yes, perhaps Phillips could have tried to get under the posts. Yes, Wales should have won. But what on earth are you adding to the debate. Everyone knows this. Your opinion is merely a rehash of points people have been talking about for weeks. Why bring it up now? Are you trying to prove you're some kind of rugby "sage"? If you were, you'd be providing something insightful and new. Not this old, done-to-death, nonsense.

    Now let me tell you what is wrong. You, someone without an original idea nor much of a clue about how to conduct yourself (read your posts 57 and 59 back and ask yourself, honestly, whether you think that kind of childish language is acceptable) accuse Jones of "chickening out." This shows great disrespect to a classy player who has been playing among the elite for years. If you had the first clue about playing the game, you will understand that Jones was desperately trying to move into a position to take the drop but that, unfortunately, the forwards (who had battled like warriors for over an hour without their best player) were simply dead on their feet and couldn't provide the necessary go-forward to give him the time to take the kick (understandable, I think, given the circumstances).

    So, you got my hackles up by being disrespectful. I merely had to downgrade myself (intellectually speaking) to put myself at your level, and had a bit of fun at your expense, doing what you've been doing with your, frankly, pathetic rantings. It was too easy, and I'll admit, not just a little fun.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ thegreyghost

    Mate you have some real issues. NZ won the WC and you still have not stopped whining and moaning. How about a bit of humility and graciousness, though judging by Henry and McCaw's words for the French for providing a stiff challenge in the Final, I guess these are not words that can be used to describe kiwis.

  • Comment number 75.

    Question i wonder what the "moderators" are in terms of nationality do they reflect the nations that make up this land ?? As a welsh man who is married to an English lady and living in Scotland (i also have an Australian daughter with a New Zealander) i do wonder if the BBC is not the last bastion of "empire" its does seem in their minds okay to insult all nations. I take exception to being called a village idiot and i do not hide behind a made up name "38" As for Warburton it's done move on the past is gone not unlike englands, SA and the Aussies previous world cups. It doesn't improve anyones showing in the rwc to hark back or to knock current teams. I think it fair to say all teams at this world cup have at some point been on the receiving end of poor refereeing or bad judgement by the IRB. lets just hope for more consistency from the refs and fairer schedules from the IRB. Finally the best rugby commentator out there is one Mr B Moore i hope to hear more from him and it would be great if the moderators and posters on this blog could show such even handed-ness. But hey might as well start believing in santa more likely to happen than some people accepting the realities of "little britain" and its place in the world

  • Comment number 76.

    68 Suzkid Yes of course English fans are the kings of the whingers

    For example after France beat England we whinged about the coaches not preparing the team enough, we whinged about the niaive performance of the manager and some of his team selections and we whinged about the performances of the players and how they were not up to the necessary standards of play, we whinged about the state of the RFU and we whinged about how they didn't seem to be in a position to correct our mistakes in the world cup.

    Compare this to some of the Welsh fans who only whinged about two things
    1) the ref
    2) the 'cheating' French

  • Comment number 77.

    Shouldn't S or W before Sam Warburton, the player who cost Wales a world cup final place and arguably a word cup win. He knows the rules and broke them to his and his countries down-fall.

    I remember one certain D Beckham doing something similar (probably should have been a yellow card, but the rules state it should be red) in the 98 football world cup and was villafied by his country.

  • Comment number 78.

    @70 thegreyghost just to point out I think it was a total of 3 English players also picked up similar fines for the same point of conduct. Fairly pointless fines really in regards to a tiny symbol on a piece of safety equipment that most of the players had been wearing for years and no one would have noticed if the IRB hadn't pointed it out.

    As for the fine to the French team. Personally I think that's over the top as well. Didn't see any harm in the way they reacted to the Haka and was a great show of unity and belief as a team answering the challenge laid down by the All Blacks. The IRB does seem to get a bit touchy over the Haka and if they carry on in this way it would probably be advisable for teams playing New Zealand to just refuse to let them do the Haka, after all why take the risk of getting a fine?

  • Comment number 79.

    Suzkid 68. Please read back my comment @57. I clearly mention that I am not English. Please learn to read properly before making stupid comments.

  • Comment number 80.

    No thanks - your rants are making me and many others lose the will to live.

  • Comment number 81.

    I don't think I've ever communicated with a more ignorant person than you on a blog. The childish way you conduct yourself such as resorting to calling me a lady and and the pathetic points you make clearly show your complete lack of intelligence and knowledge about rugby. I suggest you go out an buy yourself the book "Rugby for dummies" and read it. Maybe that would give you some grounding to write proper points. This should be my last post to you as your level of intelligence is about 20 levels below mine and your not worth anymore effort.

  • Comment number 82.

    Good one Suzkid. You're as idiotic as Soupbear and clearly share his inability at reading correctly.

  • Comment number 83.

    And that's the difference. England was hopeless giving you plenty to whinge about whereas Wales was playing superbly - we had nothing to whinge about. Until a certain Mr Rolland...

    Of course we're going to whinge about a refereeing decision which Messieurs Pinaar, Dallaglio and Fitzpatrick TO A MAN, all thought was wrong. They've got more experience of the game (and RWC finals) than Rolland, you and me.

    It wasn't deliberate, it was the result of a collision of two unequals. It happens in a collision sport like rugby. Shocker! The sending off was a harsh decision. It ruined the semi-final. Wales have played superbly. A dreadful decision cost them a place in the final. Everyone knows it, few have the courage to admit it.

    If England had been Wales, no prizes for guessing what you'd be saying right now. So less of the claptrap, and a little more honesty. P-l-e-a-s-e.

  • Comment number 84.

    @81. pmatson:
    "...your level of intelligence is about 20 levels below mine and your (sic) not worth anymore (sic) effort".

    You mean "you're not worth any more effort". Now, you were saying something about intelligence...

  • Comment number 85.

    Ah - rehashing my joke about your being of sub-standard intelligence. You're good at that, aren't you. Rehashing other's opinions and trying to pass them off as your own.

  • Comment number 86.

    @46 Ealingwelsh. In regard to the rankings situation it seems perfectly fair and justified to me. To account some of your points though
    1. Yes Wales beat England just before the world cup but that still makes it 2-1 games in England's favour this year.
    2. I wouldn't say Wales 'thrashed' Ireland this year.
    3. The rankings are based on overall performance not just on world cups. So Wales' low ranking would take into account their relatively poor performance leading up to the world cup, including a poor six nations and that 8 game winless streak they went on.
    4. You talk about Wales outperforming England well first off the rankings are based on results. Playing really well and losing is counted as worse than playing badly and winning (as I would say is correct). If you look at the records in the world cup it goes England played won 4 lost 1 Wales played 7 won 4 lost 3. So both teams won the same numer of games but Wales lost three times as many. Ireland aside England's victories were also typically against higher ranked teams.

  • Comment number 87.


    Just on one point. Whether FP, LD and SF thought the decision was wrong is irrelevant.

    NONE of them are referees or have studied to be referees. The law the way it is written is pretty clear and Rolland was just following the directives of the IRB and Paddy.

    Do I think he should have been sent off, having played for a long time I think it was harsh, but again it does not matter what I think, Rolland acted in accordance with the laws and that is the end of.

    Do I think it ruined the game? Yes.

    Should wales have still won? Yes.

    Saying that a dreadful decision cost Wales the semi-final is just plain wrong, you can argue until you are blue in the face but according to the current laws and the refereeing directives in the last twelve months Rolland was right.

  • Comment number 88.

    Suzkid. If the decision was wrong why did the IRB give Warburton a three week suspension??? BTW Fitzpartick agreed that the red card was the correct decision but he added that he would have liked Rolland to consult with the touch judges. Again the red card did not cost Wales a place in the final. Your problem is your too wrapped up in what you see as an injustice that you refuse to look at the truth. I think you could teach the English a thing or two about whinging.

  • Comment number 89.

    Just loving this 'Wales-bashing' party. Answer me this one question Little Englanders. If it had happended to Tindall, England's captain, world cup semi-final, a loss to the French by 1 point, what would you be saying?

    Why the need to wrap yourselves in your anti-Wales comfort blanket. Wales - that small poor country next to England, without any of England's undoubted advantages. We get on to the world stage - it doesn't happen often - playing superbly and we get some VERY bad luck. So naturally we complain. And then like a herd of wild neanderthals, the Little Englanders thunder on through. Surely, you're not THAT insecure?

  • Comment number 90.

    Seems to me the rankings equate roughly to how the world game stands, though I would argue that France are too far up but then again they have just got to the final.

    As for your comments about the refereeing at the world cup. I'd say apart from 2 games, the Final and South Africa v Australia, all the knock out games were reffed well and so were the majority of the group games. Though if a game if reffed well you will normally go without saying.

  • Comment number 91.

    "@ thegreyghost

    Mate you have some real issues. NZ won the WC and you still have not stopped whining and moaning. How about a bit of humility and graciousness, though judging by Henry and McCaw's words for the French for providing a stiff challenge in the Final, I guess these are not words that can be used to describe kiwis."

    Most B&I Lions fans are still whining about the Burger gouge. If Dusoutoir was gouging then he should be stripped of his IRB POTY award. Frankly the French used similar underhanded tactics in 1999 and it doesn't surprise me.

    If it smells like a horse, and looks like a horse, we're entitled to call it a horse.

    He's already seen clearly using illegal rucking techniques, and France already violated the IRB protocol on haka response.

    It's not sporting to gouge and stand on someone's kidneys and this needs to be taken very seriously.

  • Comment number 92.

    Suzkid, I wouldn't know how I would feel if it happened to Tindall as I'm not English but I'd expect a little more intelligence out of the England fans than what we are getting out of you. BTW, Wales isn't a country. It's a principality. And no I'm not anti welsh just mearly pointing out that certain fans need to stop blaming the red card for Wales's demise in the World Cup.

  • Comment number 93.


    I am not bashing Wales I was supporting them in the game right until the end. I am just trying to point out the facts. They played a great brand of rugby during the WC and probably did deserve to have a crack at the AB's in the Final the way they played. But, they were not cheated, they made mistakes and the French defense was great. Trying to rewrite history and the laws of the game does nobody and favours.

  • Comment number 94.

    Suzkid there is no need to imagine what would England fans do if they were in a similar situation, as they were just the week before. The England's fans reaction were to look at the England team and set up to see where they could improve on them.

    I'm not Wales bashing as they did very well at the world cup to equal their best ever world cup placing (I tend to ignore the whole 3rd/4th thing as I don't think many people really care about it). I am however getting a bit fed up with some (and it is only some) of the Welsh fans that are consistently bleating on about how they were robbed of the game and even worse those few that say they were robbed of the whole world cup. The worst thing of course is that it's completely unjustified as Rolland has been shown to have made the right decision in keeping with the laws and the only major mistake he made was in favour of the Welsh giving them the penalty Halfpenny missed when it should have gone to the French. Now if people want to complain about the rule itself then I'll back them as I agree it is harsh but don't blame Rolland when he is only imposing the rules he's been told to enforce.

  • Comment number 95.

    Ah, the resident "intellectual" pmatson not quite grasping IRB politics. It's nuanced and rather complex, so don't worry your pretty little head about it.

    @Suzkid - I did enjoy your pointing out of those hilarious spelling and grammar mistakes but, to be honest, I was more concerned about the bile pouring from his mind...that little of which was comprehensible, of course.

  • Comment number 96.

    91. At 15:23 25th Oct 2011, thegreyghost wrote:
    "@ thegreyghost

    Mate you have some real issues. NZ won the WC and you still have not stopped whining and moaning. How about a bit of humility and graciousness, though judging by Henry and McCaw's words for the French for providing a stiff challenge in the Final, I guess these are not words that can be used to describe kiwis."

    Most B&I Lions fans are still whining about the Burger gouge. If Dusoutoir was gouging then he should be stripped of his IRB POTY award. Frankly the French used similar underhanded tactics in 1999 and it doesn't surprise me.

    If it smells like a horse, and looks like a horse, we're entitled to call it a horse.

    He's already seen clearly using illegal rucking techniques, and France already violated the IRB protocol on haka response.

    It's not sporting to gouge and stand on someone's kidneys and this needs to be taken very seriously.

    Thats the point isn't it. IF he gouged him? You seem to have already made up you mind. Richie Mcaw has not made a complaint about either incident. And I have yet to see any clear evidence that TD gouged him.

    Also Ali Williams crossed his ten metre line therefore violating IRB protocol but I have not seen the AB's get the same fine as the French.

    If their is one thing worse than a poor loser it is an poor winner. At the moment your the standout thegreyghost

  • Comment number 97.

    LKOE...Under 10.4(j) It is true that Warburton was guilty of dangerous play. If you read the law book however, the sanction for this transgression with no intent to cause injury is simply a penalty.

    The escalation from penalty all the way to red card was entirely at Rolland's discretion.

  • Comment number 98.

    @93. Davico
    At last, some appreciation from a non-Welshman about the way Wales played and an admission that Wales probably did deserve a place in the final. That's honest and gets my respect. And yes I agree, Wales had their chances and didn't take them against France.

    What galls me more than anything is not the result, France didn't make the refereeing decisions. It's the sheer hypocrisy from so many (English) others who KNOW they'd be on these boards doing as I'm doing if England had been hard done by, but PRETENDING otherwise, and worse, LECTURING me.

    Does not get my respect. But does get my utter contempt. Sheer and utter hypocrisy. In fact, cowardly.

  • Comment number 99.

    Suzkid, we heard quite a lot from England fans about Cueto's magical disallowed 11 point try after 2007 final didn't we?

  • Comment number 100.

    "Thats the point isn't it. IF he gouged him? You seem to have already made up you mind. Richie Mcaw has not made a complaint about either incident. And I have yet to see any clear evidence that TD gouged him."

    Presumably you've seen the ample evidence that he climbed on his back, stamped on his kidney region and rucked his back miles from the ball then? That exact offence has seen several players banned for 6-8 weeks. The IRB has instead awarded him the "player of the year". What a joke. No wonder the ABs didn't want to have anything to do with France after the final whistle. The French even had the gall to ask for McCaws jersey. Perhaps they were just trying to hide the evidence.


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