World Cup Diary: Burger relishes impossible odds

Click to follow

Jacques Burger? You have to love the man.

In the pages of this newspaper almost exactly a year ago, the Saracens flanker reflected on a horrible belting he and his fellow Namibians once received at the hands of South Africa. "There was nothing to enjoy, no fun to be had: I never thought there could be enough time in a rugby match for a team to score 100 points, but that day I found it was perfectly possible," he recalled. "Yet not for a second did any of us stop trying. I felt proud to be a part of it." Now he has taken another beasting from the same opponents, is he finally broken as well as bloodied? Daft question. "We'll be going full steam against Wales in our final game," he promises. "It's a chance to reclaim some self-esteem."

Manu-infested waters scare off sharks

The royals had themselves a bite to eat a few yards from the lovely St Clair Beach, watched by New Zealand's version of the paparazzi, wielding the usual expensive camera gear, but wearing fleeces instead of bomber jackets. It was off this stretch that three unfortunates lost their lives to a great white shark between 1964 and 1968 – events marked by a plaque, along with a "shark alert bell", in case one of the bloody thing's descendants happens to turn up. This dark history did not dissuade Manu Tuilagi, the England centre, from tackling the waves on his surfboard, but there again, there is barely a shark in the ocean that would not think twice before trying it on with the human bowling ball.

Officials are past masters at time travel

Timing is everything in this game, so it was interesting to receive a text message from the official Rugby World Cup news service at 16.26 yesterday offering the following extremely useful advice: "England press conference at Otago Stadium will now start at 16.15." Where the hell is Doctor Who when you need him?

Hidden peril for the lady who lunches

In the long list of "up you could not make it" moments connected with the England boys' night out in Queenstown, which will never be forgotten even by those too smashed to remember it, one development was nothing short of priceless. While Mike Tindall was squirming his way through a media conference populated by dozens of journalists dying to ask him about his booze intake (among other things), the woman he recently married – Zara something-or-other – was en route to the team hotel in Dunedin. And where did she stop off for lunch? Napier. Where in Napier, exactly? The Gintrap Café. No, really. As the wags at Private Eye would no doubt say: "Shurely shome mishtake."

Comments