World Cup Diary

Damage limitation operation: take foot from mouth

The Sydney Morning Herald is running a parallel World Cup for the absurd comments heard on television. Recent contenders include "Mortlock's just returned from a damaging knee operation", which sounds sort of counter-productive, or Eddie O'Sullivan explaining after Saturday's defeat just what Ireland will have to do to raise themselves for France: "Half will be professionalism, half will be passion - and the other half will be hunger." Unfortunately there is no prize for the best piece of commentary because this diary particularly liked an Australian presenter's reaction to an American centre's try against Japan when put clean though by the outside-half Mike Hercus. "Kort Schubert, bowled Hercus" would take some beating.

Legendary Terry Yorath receives rare gift of the gab

When Kenny Logan was passed the ball on Saturday, one Australian commentator said: "The Scottish winger is married to a television presenter who also happens to be the daughter of a legendary British footballer." That's strange, we thought Kenny was married to the daughter of Terry Yorath.

Talking of commentators, the Channel 7 man calling the Scotland v Fiji game had a dream come true. Some of these Pacific Islanders have difficult names to pronounce - by the time you've said "Rupeni Caucaunibuca", for instance, he's usually scored a try and the conversion's being taken. Obviously what is needed is for all players to have the same name. Step forward Moses Rauluni and Jacob Rauluni. The former went off on Saturday to be replaced by his brother. A World Cup first.

Congratulations and farewell Samoa, you have lit up the World Cup and can go home - as failures. Sorry to put a dampener on all this minnow-worship but this was the first time Samoa failed to progress to the knock-out stage in the World Cups they have qualified for.

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