World Cup Diary: A medal for Carter is right after his own Dreyfus affair

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The Independent Online

"Daniel Carter? The man deserves a medal." It is not a new line: people have been trotting it out since 2004, when the best outside-half in the game first announced himself as such. But there are medals of the figurative kind and there are medals a player can touch, kiss, hang round the neck and show his loved ones – a World Cup winner's medal, for instance. Happily, Carter will receive one of those if his fellow All Blacks complete the job of work on Sunday and claim the Webb Ellis Trophy for the first time in almost a quarter of a century, as will the full-back Mils Muliaina, another stellar New Zealand back wiped out by injury. Slightly less happily, they would be equally eligible for a loser's medal should the unthinkable occur. This is only right and proper: having been formally relieved of their tournament accreditation – an unnecessarily harsh act that conjures images of the unfortunate Captain Dreyfus being stripped of his epaulettes by the French military – they deserve to go home with something.

Do Rolland's handshakes tell a tale?

According to Kelvin Deaker, the former international referee from New Zealand who has been doing some punditry during this tournament, the Irish official Alain Rolland "would have taken no pleasure" in dismissing Sam Warburton, the Wales captain, after a mere 18 minutes of last weekend's semi-final with France. This must surely be true, although this diarist's first-hand experience of certain officials in God's own West Country indicates there are some members of the whistling fraternity who love nothing better than to send off wholly innocent, upstanding, law-abiding people just for the fun of it. (A long and tragic tale from the dim and distant past, it's probably best forgotten). All the same, did Rolland need to indulge in exaggerated handshakes with tournament officials on the touchline at the end of the game? It did not look good.

Financially, the French will win even if they lose

Figures published in France tell us that Les Bleus will trouser more than £150,000 a man if they upset the applecart by winning the final this Sunday. And if they lose? Oh calamity! They'll have to settle for something just short of £125,000. Is there a touch of "I'm all right, Jacques" about this, do we think? For their part, the All Blacks can expect to pocket something in the region of £50,000 should they bring their nation's extended spell of sporting agony to an end by securing the one last victory they crave. Quite a difference, you'll agree, but don't lose too much sleep over it. If Richie McCaw retires as a World Cup winner, he won't spend too much of his time handing money to barmen.

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