World Cup diary: Hats off to IRB for making sure punishment fits the crime

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The Independent Online

The International Rugby Board should be applauded for allowing offenders to be tried for the same crime twice. On Monday, Fiji's Rupeni Caucaunibuca became the first victim of the double-jeopardy law when he was banned for two matches for his assault on Olivier Magne. Until now, he would have got away with a 10-minute visit to the sin-bin as he could not be cited for something for which the referee had already punished him.

So well done the IRB for cutting through the red tape and siding with common sense. And well done for setting down the new law so simply that we can understand it. It reads: "Citing commissioners may cite a player for illegal and/or foul play, which, in the opinion of the citing commissioner, warrants the player being ordered off, notwithstanding that the act of illegal and/or foul play may have been detected by the referee and/or touch judge."

As clear as the blessed Brisbane mud...

Shock, horror, install another digit on that scoreboard... The reaction to the opening results was predictably apocalyptic after England, New Zealand, South Africa, France and even Wales all notched up cricket scores.

So imagine how much money you could have made by betting on the favourites. Uh, you wouldn't have, as five of the underdogs in the first round of matches did better than the bookmakers had predicted. Georgia, for instance, were "given" a 90-point start and only lost by 78. What's happened to the superpowers? Stop the march of the minnows, now!

Who says the IRB's world rankings system is totally perverse? Australia were pretty miserable against Argentina, while Ireland sparkled as they saw off Romania. So what happened when they released the new rankings yesterday? Australia went up to third, while Ireland were demoted to fourth.

Quotes of the day

"Now matter how hard they try to convert us, we will always believe that Stirling Mortlock is a Scottish Second Division side."

A Melbourne columnist neatly sums up the indifference that Australia's second biggest city feels towards rugby union.

"We got a hiding but it was a hiding with dignity."

Dave Waterston, the Namibia coach, after his side were beaten 67-14 by Argentina in Gosford yesterday.

"It's not rocket science, it's about trying to do it to them before they do it to you."

The England captain, Martin Johnson, announces his intention not to pull any punches in what is expected to be a fairly physical Pool C match against South Africa in Perth at the weekend.

Stat of the day

12 The number of takes that were required for Yannick Jauzion to say the line: "Hello, I'm Yannick Jauzion from France, you are watching the rugby World Cup on Stars Television". He got his lines right in France's 61-18 win over Fiji, however, with a 16-minute hat-trick.

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