World Cup diary: New all-action ad fails British screen test

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The Independent Online

Nike have unveiled a World Cup advert, made for TV at a cost of millions, which shows the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio, Keith Wood and Fabien Galthié competing in a mass game of street rugby and creating urban havoc. The "Keep The Ball Alive" ad sees stars pick up the ball and charge through the city, leaving pedestrians scattered everywhere. But we won't be able to see it in this country: the Independent Television Commission have deemed the ad too violent. Bone-jarring tackles, ripped flesh, fist on jaw, heads thudding into turf... obviously no one at the ITC has watched a real rugby match.

Campo sidesteps the French

There are those who argue that David Campese has a loose connection between brain and mouth, but he's never shy of an opinion. The Australian has dropped his favourite subject of England-bashing for the moment and turned his cannon towards France. He tipped Japan to beat them yesterday, which had lock Adam Parker choking on his cornflakes. "We really must have impressed people last week for him to say that, but it is a little silly," Parker said. However, for a while Campo's zany prediction held some merit; Japan held the French to 20-16 at half-time before losing the game 51-29.

Rise and fall of Stirling

They are still struggling for the World Cup to catch on in Melbourne, the heart of the Aussie Rules game. One tale from the week relates to utility back Stirling Mortlock (pictured) at a Wallaby coaching clinic. "Do you know who Stirling Mortlock is?" one youngster was asked. "Stirling Mortlock," he pondered, "that's a Second Division Scottish football side, isn't it?"

Rich men, poor men

Finally, some clarity on the haves and have-nots. According to Sydney's Daily Telegraph, Jonny Wilkinson's earnings are assuming Beckhamesque proportions. The England fly-half is said to rake in £1.6m a year in wages and endorsements. Second-highest earner is Martin Johnson (£600,000), with Jonah Lomu slipping to third. England's Lawrence Dallaglio is fourth (£520,000), followed by Australians George Gregan and Wendell Sailor (both £430,000). At the other end of the scale, Namibia's players are living on £24 a day during the tournament.

Bullish Gregan's new hunger

Australian rugby has gone to the dogs - well, that's the way their captain, George Gregan, sees it. "I own a Staffordshire bull terrier, and every time I feed him he eats like it's his last meal," Gregan said before the 90-8 rout of Romania. "This team is like my Staffordshire bull terrier. That's that's how hungry we are." But not even Gregan's dog would have been able to live off the scraps of possession afforded the Romanians yesterday.

US all-stars take on Scotland

Scotland, now settled into their new Brisbane hotel after baulking at the thought of sharing accommodation with a motorbike gang of 200 on a wild weekend, will be wary of the threat the United States pose in their Pool B match tomorrow. The US will field the line-up which lost 19-18 to Fiji. Closer inspection shows their squad includes three ex-South Africans and a Fijian.

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