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September 24, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Bill’s Going South

Three weeks into the 2007 Rugby World Cup and already one prediction is more or less guaranteed to come true: the William Webb Ellis trophy or “Bill,” as his pals like to call him, is heading south of the equator, down SANZAR way.

Of course, the question of “where” Bill is heading still remains up in the air – with South Africa, Australia and our beloved All Blacks all predictably poised to be there (or thereabouts) come finals time. One thing is for certain: if you had spent four years locked away in a musky cabinet somewhere in the bowels of Twickenham, you wouldn’t be too fussed at all about whether you spent the following four years in a republic, a former penal colony or on the set of the Lord of the Rings.

Still, it’s all rather confusing. For the past year or so, we’ve heard all sorts of proclamations and promises of glory from the six nations come World Cup time. Triple crown winners Ireland were looking positively rosy heading into the tournament, but after drooling their way to two tenuous victories over Namibia and Georgia, their eyes were doing everything else but smile. England? What of England! The chariot can’t hurry forth to carry them home soon enough. Italy, Wales and Scotland? Well, those guys were always going to be midcarders, regardless of how “above themselves” they performed.

The most surprising participant in the northern hemisphere “Slip In Your Own Drool” contest is, of course, France – who by rights should be riding the crest of a homeland wave all the way to the final. There is no excuse why a side littered with the kind of talent the French have should be languishing in the depths of World Cup obscurity, destined to be little more than fodder for the All Blacks come quarter finals time. Unless, of course, like the All Blacks in 2003, they have a coach who is slightly deranged and has absolutely no idea what on earth he is doing, but still has all the confidence in the world to do it. The upside of facing France in the quarter finals is that we won’t have to wear those queer-looking grey spacesuit jerseys in the final. Like Kapa o Pango’s going to mean anything coming out of Byron Kelleher dressed in skin-tight grey.

So, there’s really nothing you can say about the northern hemisphere sides – other than they’re pathetic, poorly coached, one-dimensional, clueless, aimless, brainless, lazy, wimpy, namby-pamby, soft, ineffective pathetic excuses for rugby teams. That is, of course, with the exception of the United States, Georgia, Romania, Portugal and Canada, who have rattled their minnow cages and brought passion to a tournament that their six bigger brothers have failed – miserably – to do themselves.

On the flipside, all that stands between the All Blacks and World Cup glory is Australia and South Africa – or maybe even Argentina. Either way, all compasses will be pointing south come October 21.

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