World Cup diary

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Waterston the untouchable

Maybe the little guys cannot stand up to the big boys on the pitch, but off it... well, that's another story.

This diary's "Man of the Tournament" so far has not scored a try or kicked a goal or made a gut-wrenching tackle, but has done something much more heroic than all that. Step forward Dave Waterston, the coach of the minnows' minnow, Namibia, who has been proudly upholding the coach's art of criticising the referee. Nothing new there, except Waterston is refusing to back down. But even though the International Rugby Board is ready to dish out a huge fine, the Outspoken One is untouchable. "I haven't been paid for two years since coaching this side," the New Zealander said. "And I'm retiring from rugby on 31 October."

So what can the IRB do? How can they stop an errant coach from saying things like "If you are a ref and you want the big appointments, you have to lick the backside of some of the top nations"?

Uh, they can't. It would be like giving Just William 1,000 lines on his last day at school. For once, the IRB must grimace and bear it.

'Anthems' will be calling the tune

The Wallabies' reserve scrum-half, Chris Whitaker, has started just twice since he first joined a squad he has rarely been left out of in 1998. Yesterday, the coach, Eddie Jones, decided to reward such loyalty by naming Whitaker as captain for Saturday's match against Namibia. A nice gesture, but it may also persuade his Aussie team-mates to stop addressing him by such a cruel nickname. "Anthems" they call him, because that's all he ever gets on the pitch for. They know he can sing and they'll soon see how he can play.

Welsh snub for Thunderer

The Welsh just love to bring people down a peg or four, as a distinguished London journalist who is following the Dragons in Canberra will testify. The other day, while walking around the war memorial in the Australian capital with journalists from a few Welsh newspapers, the group fell into conversation with an old Valleys couple who recognised the accents.

"Hello, I'm Robin from the Argus in Newport," the first journalist said. "Hello, I'm Delme from the Echo in Cardiff," came the second. "Hello, I'm Martin from the Post in Swansea," said the next, and it was left to the man from the nationals to introduce himself. "Hello, I'm John from the Times."

"The Times?" the old lady queried. "Which one, the Carmarthenshire or Tonypandy?"

Comments