World Cup Diary: Meads brothers at ruggerheads

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The Independent Online

According to rugby folk in New Zealand, the world is divided into "good buggers" and "bad buggers". Some people, like Colin Meads, have a foot in both camps. Meads was a pretty good bugger as a player, to the point that he is still viewed by many as the greatest All Black of the lot, and a pretty bad bugger at the same time. Just ask the people he biffed around during his days as the Godfather of the silver-ferned pack. Colin's brother Stan, who also locked the All Black scrum in the 1960s, is therefore taking just a bit of a risk by disagreeing over the likely result of tomorrow's Ireland-Wales quarter-final. Colin thinks Wales will win, Stan thinks the opposite, and there's a jug of beer riding on it. Stan, old bean: if you lose, for God's sake pay up. If you happen to win... run like hell.

Space proves final frontier for Pumas

There were almost two dozen camera crews at England's team announcement yesterday and between them, the broadcasters managed to turn a very large hotel conference suite into a garden of the zoological variety. A couple of days previously, the French management had sardined almost as many people into a room an eighth of the size. The All Blacks? They're a fairly big draw too, as you can imagine. And then there's the Pumas, the rank outsiders of the last eight. At their latest public session in Auckland, there was any amount of space. "All I saw was half a dozen journalists, interviewing each other," reported one eyewitness.

Mouthguardgate leaves bad taste

More on what might be called "mouthguardgate". Sir John Graham, a fine All Black flanker half a century ago, described the £5,000 fines meted out to the Tuilagi brothers for wearing sponsored gumshields as "farcical". One-time New Zealand wing Stu Wilson compared the Tuilagis' crime with the England ball-swapping incident during the Romania game. "Letting two officials get away because it was handled internally is bull-crap," he said, accusing the two of "blatant cheating" and adding that only a dentist standing two inches from a player's face could spot an offending advertising logo. Make that a dentist and a television camera. Bloody technology.