Sanctimonious outrage and catchy theme tunes

Dave Hadfield, Rugby League Correspondent, finds ten good reasons to dislike the World Cup
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The Independent Online
1. Its name. In view of the inconvenient fact that there is another code of rugby, failing to specify that this is the Rugby Union World Cup is a flagrant breach of the Trades Descriptions Act.

2. The way the England team bellow the monarchist mumbo-jumbo of the National Dirge like they actually believe it. Other countries and English teams in other sports have the decency to mumble along with their anthems in a mixture of embarrasment and indifference, but Will Carling and his boys raise the rafters like the Young Conservatives at play.

3. The French backs' communal haircut. They look so convincingly like extras from Papillon that they should represent Devil's Island and play in leg-irons.

4. Rob Andrew. Very good at what he does, of course, but has there ever been a more boring sportsman to watch?

5. David Campese. Has more doting coverage ever been lavished on a man in a physical contact sport who will not make a tackle?

6. The myth that endures, despite the points put past Japan and the Ivory Coast, that the game is played to any sort of standard in more than a handful of countries.

7. The pretence that white South Africa really wants to share its game with the blacks. It will take more than Chester Williams and a few photo- opportunities in the townships to convince me that attitudes have changed that much.

8. The shock-horror revelation, deemed worthy of its own slot on BBC Radio 4, that there are, wait for it, rugby league scouts perusing events in South Africa.

Queuing up for the step- ladders to have a word in Jonah Lomu's ear I can understand, even if the Auckland Warriors have already got him tied down. But Victor Ubogu? The mind boggles, but good money will undoubtedly be wasted on wholly unsuitable players.

9. The sanctimonious outrage when violence flares in full view, as in the South Africa-Canada punch-up, as opposed to its normal location, hidden away in the Cowards' Charter safe-zone at the bottom of the ruck.

10. The way that even a light dusting with the world's greatest voices - Ladysmith Black Mambazo - turns that bloody theme tune into something so damn catchy.

That, honestly, is the only reason I've been tuning in to the highlights...

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