View from the sofa: A feast of rugby but back in the studio Meghan’s breakfast is off the menu

Women’s Rugby World Cup, Sky Sports

Forced to compete with the Old Trafford Test and the US PGA at Valhalla, it required a little dexterity with the red button to take in the full eight hours of Sky Sports’ Women’s Rugby World Cup offering on Saturday. But those, like this column, who did, enjoyed a gently muliebral twist on that still most die-hard of masculine games.

As lowly Kazakhstan inevitably tired in the second half of the opening match against Ireland, it seemed somehow even more deflating for a beaten full-back chasing an opponent who will never be caught, to have to watch their auburn ponytail bounce up and down as it sped under the posts, like the brush of a bright fox taunting an exhausted hound.

It was a long day in the studio too, for Canadian Meghan Mutrie and England’s Catherine Spencer. Given the near unimaginable volume of discussion on the telegenic qualities of ITV’s Fabio Cannavaro not so long ago, this column hopes it won’t be considered to have done an Inverdale if it suggests that if one closes one’s eyes and imagines a giant of women’s rugby it is not Mutrie, with her almond eyes and fountain of creamy blond hair, that one sees.

Indeed, one has to search pretty hard even on Mutrie’s own website to find evidence of her days in the Canadian Rugby team, which may partly explain her take on the post-match, on-pitch interview from Ireland’s knackered victorious captain: “Look at that lovely smile.”

Spencer’s credentials, however, are not to be questioned, as she has captained England and played in the last two World Cups, hence perhaps the silence that met Mutrie’s suggestion over the big, winner-takes-all group match between their two teams, that: “If Canada win you can send me a dozen English roses, and if England win I will send you maple syrup and cook you a big lumberjack breakfast.”

With only the winner assured a place in the semi-finals, it was a cynicism-shredding match right from the start, full of pace, flawless technique, powerful forwards and snake-hipped backs. Only the ball handling was suspect, but when isn’t it? With three minutes to go, and the score level at 13-13, it was ingenious from Jamie Hammond in the commentary box to maintain the suspense by keeping from the viewer the fact that a draw almost certainly sent both sides through with the rather large bonus of elim-inating New Zealand, the four-time world champions and overwhelming favourites.

It’s possible, of course, given the blind panic with which Canada piled forward in the dying moments, and the dejection on their faces at the final whistle, that they didn’t know either.

Once it was clear no roses or breakfasts would be changing hands, it was mathematical not rugby insight that was required back in the studio, with Spencer and Mutrie bravely picking their way through a web of bonus points and tries scored and points difference.

Still, now all is worked out, England will play an undefeated and impressive Ireland in their semi-final on Wednesday before Canada face France, and this column will again be watching.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'