THE BRAINS AND THE BORES

RUGBY WORLD CUP 1995: WHO'S WHO ON THE BOX
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The Independent Online
ALASTAIR HIGNELL

Replaces Frank Bough as the main presenter. In his playing days displayed the slightly apologetic air that typified English rugby before the Geoff Cooke era, and he hasn't quite shaken it off since moving into the studio. He is impossible to dislike strongly, but, unfortunately, just as impossible to like strongly, either. Definitely not Des Lynam.

JOHN TAYLOR

ITV's main commentator may not have the same tenor as the doyen, Bill McLaren, but then he does not lapse into the same risible phraseology either. There will be no "they'll be dancing in the streets of Auchtermuchty" here. His knowledge of the game as an ex-Lion is clearly excellent, but he manages not to preach either. Safe, but unspectacular.

STEVE SMITH

Emotional ex-England scrum-half. Can be guaranteed to try old joke routines with Gordon Brown. Not one to turn to for an impartial judgement on England's chances. Or Scotland's.

GARETH CHILCOTT

Panto-dame image, Toby-jug shape and that famous giggling visage should not be allowed to detract from the fact that he at least knows the modern game well, both from his recent playing days, and his present coaching duties with Bath.

GORDON BROWN

Possessor of an unfortunate and highly alarming vacant grin, which comes out virtually every time the camera focuses on him. As do the phrases "the big fellow", "the big guy" and "the big man". And, of course, the kilt. Large.

NIGEL CARR

Can expect merciless treatment from Steve Smith when he tries to explain away Ireland's recent defeat by Italy. May have to take a lot more as the tournament goes on, which could stretch even his geniality a touch.

GARETH EDWARDS

A wonderful player from a different era - when Wales were actually capable of winning things. Much more fluent delivery from behind a dominant pack than a microphone, though.

CHRIS REA

Smooth, suave, sophisticated, knowledgeable, articulate and incisive. Ex-Scotland and Lions centre of the 1960s and 1970s. Also, the rugby correspondent of the Independent on Sunday.

CLIVE NORLING

It is some time since he was the world's best referee, but he brought a balanced and, obviously, well-informed, view to the table four years ago. No game depends on referee's interpretations as much as rugby, so his job will be to cut through the complaints of the others about the officials and explain the obscure decisions - of which there will be plenty.

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