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The Idiot’s Guide to the Rugby World Cup

Denny Lamb



Hey pal, are your studies going well? I ask because it is a special time of year, a time when going to class and doing assignments becomes less important. Just like every September – it’s Rugby World Cup season!
This year, it is in France. Because it’s on the other side of the world, it means that the time zones take effect. The world is round – like a soccer ball, not a rugby ball. When the earth spins, different countries face the sun, and therefore have light. One day the sun will explode, but we will probably be dead by then. ‘We’ being me and you and maybe even Jonny Wilkinson. I recently watched the highly educational scifi classic Sunshine, starring New Zealand’s own Cliff Curtis. It is a feel good film, and reminds us that the human race can achieve anything if we put our minds to it, including restarting the sun with a bomb. Have you seen the movie The Core? Neither have I, but I imagine it’s pretty dumb. Lesson? Restarting Sun = Cool. Restarting Earth = Boring!
Like I said, France is on the other side of the world. France invented wine, Danish pastries and arrogance, so we owe them a lot. It’s important we don’t blame France for the games being on during the early morning. It’s just something we’ll have to suck up and bear. The morning I wrote this, I was an hour late to my new job because I was up watching Manu Samoa lose to South Africa, and consequently didn’t hear my alarm later that morning. I didn’t necessarily expect Samoa to win, but I wanted them to. Do you see how that works? It’s a little thing called hope. Because everybody hates South Africa, even Samoans! Lesson? Samoans = Cool. South Africans = Boring!
There are 20 teams trying to win the world cup this year. Some of them are more likely to win than others. Australia has won two world cups in the past, so we can expect them to put up a decent fight. Namibia, on the other hand, probably aren’t too confident. But the beauty of the competition is that everyone has an equal chance. They cleverly separate the 20 teams into 4 different pools, with at least one former world cup winner in each pool, effectively shitting on the little guy.
Now you know Australia has won it twice. We have won it once, as have South Africa, and most recently, lame old England won it. Everyone is pretty pissed off about that. I mean, England did invent rugby, so it seems only fair they be taken seriously, but many would argue England didn’t win it – Dr Jonny Wilkinson did. He pretty much kicked England all the way to the bank. I reckon Jonny could probably kick the ball around the world! Lesson? Force = Mass x Acceleration x Jonny Wilkinson.
Alright, just to recap thus far. There are 20 rugby teams on the other side of the world all trying to win the world cup. We all hate South Africans, and are agreed that The Core is probably a shitty film. I’d better spend a moment or two just explaining the significance of this world cup. New Zealanders, or ‘Kiwis’ love rugby. Anyone who doesn’t love rugby is queer (as in unusual). At least, that’s what I understand. Because we love rugby so much and we often seem to lose it at crunch time, there is a lot of pressure on our team this year – so much so that they’ll probably choke. I don’t want that to happen, don’t get me wrong, but I want you folk to realise it’s possible. On the flip side of the coin, we have one of the sharpest, most well oiled teams we’ve ever had. Which would make it all the more unexpected when we do choke. Sorry, I’m just bitter about the America’s Cup. And the Cricket World Cup.
So, what can you do to make the world cup experience more fun? I recommend early morning drinking games, such as drink every time Grant Fox and Andrew Mehrtens brag about being the 3rd highest and highest points scorers in All Black history respectively. Or try virtual rugby. It’s where you get to pretend you’re an important person, who makes important decisions, when really you’re not. But to be honest, all you really need to do is waddle on down to the TAB with your course related costs and earn the quickest extra grand you’ll ever make.
Au Revoir, Rugby Fans.