You can say what you like about the International Rugby Board rankings – and many people, drawn from all 93 nations on the list, have been known to do so – but the placings are not far off the mark.
The top eight countries in the latest table are the ones contesting this weekend's quarter-finals, while Tonga, who famously defeated France in Wellington five days ago, have climbed into the Top 10 Hit Parade for the first time, perhaps because they hit harder than anyone else when the force is with them. Unless you happen to be a direct descendant of the 17th-century Scottish mathematician John Napier, the man who dumped the logarithm on us, there is no earthly point in trying to understand how the rankings work: indeed, the three illustrative tables included in the IRB's explanatory guide look for all the world like a logarithm graph. Suffice to say the French are now eighth, England have climbed one place to fourth since the start of the tournament and the All Blacks are still in pole position. Oh ... almost forgot. Finland are 93rd.
The parallel world of Fuimaono-Sapolu
The saga of Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, occasional brilliant centre and regular tweeter extraordinaire, continues to grip the nation. Having failed to turn up for a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday – the powers that be were very keen to throw the book at him for using his favourite form of social media to brand the Welsh referee Nigel Owens a "racist" – he popped up on an Auckland radio channel to express an interesting view or two. Asked whether he regretted comparing the treatment of the Samoans in the game against Wales with slavery, apartheid and the Holocaust, he replied: "When you get those things, you have a group of people thinking they're superior and can do what they want to another group of people. Essentially, the root of that evil was 'I am allowed to treat this person like shit'. So there's a parallel there, albeit a very small one." One procedural development: he turned up for his hearing yesterday and asked for an adjournment, which was granted. The case will be heard next week, and his employers at Gloucester will be extremely interested in the outcome.
Mayor Brown tests Auckland city limits
Nine members of Auckland Council voted in favour of extra local expenditure on the World Cup, amounting to something in the region of £750,000. The problem? Nine members voted against, including a couple of individuals who might just be remembered by track-and-field aficionados: John Walker, who won the Olympic 1500 metres gold at the 1976 Montreal Games, and Dick Quax, once the 5,000m world record holder. Len Brown, mayor of the city, pushed the proposal through by using his casting vote. And who will be stumping up? That'll be the ratepayers, naturally.Reuse content