Down Under Diary: Harrigan's cross-code hint

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The Independent Online

Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers, Lote Tuqiri... the Wallaby back line at the moment reads like a "Who Was" of Australian rugby league. And now, the 15-man code Down Under - or "The Rah-Rahs" as their enemies label them - may be about to make their most spectacular swoop of all. Bill Harrigan is considered by many to be the best rugby league referee in the world. He retired yesterday at the tender age of 43 "to pursue media opportunities", but in his book Harrigan hinted at a move to union. "I've got to be honest, if they could throw some of Wendell's money towards me you would have to consider it," he said in his biography, the modestly entitled Harrigan: The Referee In A League Of His Own. So would union go for the whistle-blower they call "Hollywood"? Probably, if only for his high profile and for his on-pitch one-liners. For instance, when ascertaining whether a player, who was known to like his cars, was knocked out or just faking it, Harrigan was heard to ask: "Mark, what's the colour of your Mini?"

Tartan army turn to the Salvation Army

Maybe it is no surprise that the Australian Salvation Army has revealed that it is Scottish supporters who have been requesting their services the most so far in this World Cup. But it's not eternal salvation the Scots are after - or even quarter-final salvation. "The Salvos" have been providing a free face-painting service at matches and the Scots, never ones to miss a bargain, have taken full advantage. The group's mission is "to bring the tournament alive with colour". No wonder there are so many red-faced Welshmen around.

Climb snub may be a bridge too far for Scotland journalists

Relations between Scotland and their journalists have been strained ever since those Hell's Angels rode into Queensland and exposed Ian McGeechan's squad as a bunch of scaredy-cats. But yesterday it reached new depths when an invitation to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the team was withdrawn. "Further to the advice that the Scottish team will be undertaking a bridge climb today, media will be unable to climb with them," read a statement. An insider in the Scottish camp told the diary that this slight was nothing personal. "It's just that a few of the boys couldn't guarantee that they would be able to resist throwing a few of the reporters off," he said.