Rugby World Cup – on to the Quarters
Quarterfinals are set with three excellent matches and one potential road kill; and, yes Gordon, pic of Jason White from Scotland!
With some outstanding matches and a few blowouts, the pairings are set for the eight teams entering the knockout phase for the Rugby World Cup. The Quarterfinal matches are:
- Australia vs. England
- New Zealand vs. France
- South Africa vs. Fiji
- Argentina vs. Scotland
England had won its way in on Friday with a 36-20 win over Tonga, with Jonny Wilkinson scoring two penalties, two conversions and two drops to move to within 5 points of Scotlands Gavin Hastings for the RWC points lead. England plays long time rival Australia in what would have been a runaway for the Wallabies if not for the return from injury of Wilkinson which seems to have stepped up the play of the entire England side.
France beat up on Georgia, but had to settle for a runner-up pool D slot when Argentina, who beat France in the opening RWC match, beat Ireland 30-15. France will now have the fun and enjoyment of playing the All-Blacks, and will not even enjoy home field advantage, playing in the only quaterfinal game not on French soil. This one could get ugly.
Fiji depress Welsh everywhere by beating Wales 38-34 in one of the best matches thus far, and setting themselves up with a very interesting match with South Africa. Fiji is playing well, as are the Springboks so this should be an excellent match.
In what my friend Gordon (who attended the match) described as “piss-poor boring rugby”, Scotland played their way to a date with Argentina by beating Italy 18-16 by virtue of Chris Patterson’s six-for-six penalty kicks. Aye, Gordon, but your just damn glad they are moving on. This too should be an interesting match.
Front Row: Without a doubt the manliest men on the pitch. Large, often hairy, beer swilling carnivores that can and will smash anything in their path. Reveling in the violence inherent in the scrum, they are rarely considered “nice” people, and in fact to some they aren’t even considered humans at all. Front rowers tolerate this attitude far and wide because they recognize their role at the top of the food chain and are used to suffering the fools that surround them. Accused by some of simply being dumb, I prefer to think of this group as “open to unconventional ways of thinking.”
Locks: Slightly below the front row on the food chain. As with front row players it is inadvisable to put an appendage you wish to keep near this group’s maw when they are in the feeding mode. This group of large, often foul-smelling brutes is also more than willing to relish the finer points of stomping on a fallen opponent’s body and will gleefully recount the tale ad infinitum. While they tend to take the tag “Powerhouse of the Scrum” a little too seriously, they can be useful if inured with the proper hatred of their fellow man. While members of this proud fraternity like to think of themselves as “open to unconventional ways of thinking”- they are usually just dumb.
Back Row: These are fine, fit fellows who, like a bunch of hermaphrodites, are confused as to what their role in life should be. While they know they are undeniably linked to the forwards, there are those among them who long for the perfect hair and long flowing gowns that come with being a back. Some relish the forward role and will do anything to win the ball and there are others within this group that will break the prime directive of the forward and do anything to prance foolishly with the ball. Generally, these guys are not all bad, but I, personally, have to wonder about any forward who brings a hairbrush and a change of clothes to a game.
Scrum Half: Some like to think of this back as an honorary forward. I myself tend to think of the No. 9 as half a fairy. While the toughest back almost always fills this position, this idea is almost laughable – kind of like the hottest fat chick. The scrum half’s presence is tolerated by the forwards because they know that he will spin the ball to the rest of the girls in the backline who will inevitably knock the ball on and allow them the pleasure of another scrum. The No. 9 can take pride in the fact that he is the lowest numbered back and that as such he can be considered almost worthwhile.
Fly Half: His primary role is the leader of the backs – a dubious honor at best. Main responsibilities as far as I can tell are ability to throw the ball over people’s heads and to provide something soft for opposing back rowers to land on. Expected to direct the prancing of the rest of the backline – the fly half, like any good Broadway choreographer, is usually light on his feet. While some may argue that these girls must be protected, I find it hard to support anyone whose foot touches a rugby ball on purpose.
Centers: Usually come in two varieties: hard chargers or flitting fairies. The hard charger is the one to acquire, as he will announce his presence in a game with the authority rarely found above No. 8. The flitting fairy is regrettably more common and will usually attempt to avoid contact at all costs. The flitting fairy is also only one good smack away from bursting into tears and leaving the pitch to cry on the shoulder of his inevitable girlfriend. Both types will have extensive collections of hair care products in their kit bags and will be among the best dressed at the post-game festivities.
Back 3: While some people refer to this group as two wingers and a fullback, I swear to God I can’t make out any difference between them. They are all bleeping bleeps if you ask me. How these three guys can play 90 minutes of RUGBY and stay clean and sweat free is beyond me. I know for a fact that their jerseys sometimes go back in the bag cleaner than when they came out. These ladies are fond of sayings like “Speed Kills” and “Wheels Win” – how cute. Well, I have a saying too: it’s “You’re a bleeping bleep!!” These guys will be easy to spot after the game because they are the finely coifed, sweater wearin’, wine sippin’, sweet-talkers in the corner avoiding the beer swilling curs at the bar. On the whole, I really don’t mind this group because in the end, they sure are purty to look at.