Think of Fijian role models and you think of big, athletic players sprinting for the tryline. Much like Joe Rokococo then, the All Black wing who hails from the Fijian city of Nadi. But it's not the case. And Rokococo is a bit peeved that the Fijian youngsters have looked elsewhere for inspiration. "When the kids attempt a kick for the posts they all try to emulate Jonny Wilkinson," he mused. "They all look the same as Wilkinson - all the detail, the shirt, the kicking stance!" Pride aside, it can't be a bad thing for Fiji should they unearth a talent like the mercurial English fly-half.
Bigger hits than Elvis
As the tackles come thumping in, so the injuries mount. Most teams have had players sidelined for varying reasons, starting with David Giffin's sickening thud on the turf in the opening match. Yesterday Samoa's Brian Lima cut Derick Hougaard in half, but the week's big hit was Tongan fly-half Pierre Hola's launch into Canadian Al Charron. "He was hit very hard around the face and jaw area and I think he's going to need about 740,000 stitches in his mouth," said Canada coach David Clarke of his bloodied and dazed lock. And referee Alain Rolland deemed the tackle to be fair. Tough game.
Watch your back, Clive
Clive Woodward's palms might be getting sweaty. Publicly he professes to "enjoy" the rising levels of Pom-bashing in the Australian media but is the pressure beginning to tell? An Australian colleague reveals that the England coach refuses to allow photographers shooting from behind him at press conferences. At some he has even roped off that area. It might be IDS syndrome...
Subcontinent in conflict
While the heavyweights of the world game flex their muscles and head for the business end of the event, two lesser lights - one of them appearing in a Test for the first time - met. For the record India beat newcomers Pakistan 52-15 in a tournament in Sri Lanka. "The boys battled their hearts out," said losing captain Salmen Wain, adding that fewer than 100 people play rugby in Pakistan. Latvia, 40th in the Zurich world rankings, need not quake in their boots just yet.
Wooden spoon race
On the subject of the Zurich rankings, Namibia will be rooting for a huge England victory over Uruguay today, but even that will not stop them slipping to 20th, swapping places with the South Americans after a dismal, record-breaking World Cup. The southern Africans leaked 310 points (47 of them tries) in four matches. Uruguay have so far conceded 22 tries; another 14 and they will overtake Japan's tally from 1995, while another 25 and they'll join Namibia as the worst ever. Bookmakers make it a close thing. While they give Uruguay a 76-point handicap start today, they are only offering 5-2 that England reach 100 points.
No love lost across the Tasman sea. Quote of the week from the New Zealand manager, Tony Thorpe, after hearing some Wallabies had picked up a virus. "That's fantastic... it's not a 10-day thing, I hope." However, England remain the main Australian enemy. Last word to an entry on a popular website. "If Clive Woodward thinks that only 0.1 per cent of Australians think he's a d***head, he's WAY off."Reuse content