|With humble pie to follow please waiter|
Anyhoo, here are a few conclusions to be drawn from RWC 2011:
- South Africa and France - both these countries came into the tournament with a clown for a coach yet might still have won it. It is in the interests of the rest of the world that these two nations remain dysfunctional because if either or both gets its act together then the rest can go whistle.
- England were dreadful and will remain so for the foreseeable future. There is no will in the professional game in England to prioritise international success. Come to think of it, this is much the same in South Africa and France but they at least have several outstanding players, a luxury not afforded to England.
- Daniel Carter is a truly great player and without him New Zealand become beatable. That they emerged victorious is testament to their spirit and granite application. I love their attitude to rugby, if not their occasional unsmiling hubris. More than that I applaud their method. For a period they had dabbled with fannying about (let us call these the Carlos Spencer years) but recently they have reinserted steel into their game and competition at the breakdown has become fashionable. They can even scrummage - though not as well as the French.
- The lawmakers need to do something about the unedifying spectacle (more precisely non-spectacle) of the ball sitting interminably stationary at the base of a ruck. How about a law similar to that applied to the stationary maul - use it or lose it.
- I'm a big Wayne Barnes fan but how on earth did he and his touch judge not spot the forward pass for Shane Williams' try in the third place play-of? Some things are marginal but this was just blatant.
- Why do we have the third place match at all? For television's benefit? Ditch it.