RugbyWrap: Burger Served With Whopper Suspension, Fries
Ouch. And there we were, expecting a slap on the wrist for England and South Africa but Schalk and Vickery allowed to play in later Pool A matches... now we find out that Burger will not play at this year's Rugby World Cup again unless his team reach the semi-finals, according to stuff.co.nz. Whatever happened to stitching up the American guy with a five game ban and then letting the big boys off? Or, as the Cape Argus puts it, "Schalk Ban Outrage".
L'Equipe announces the French team to face Namibia in Toulouse on Sunday and it's all change from Argentina, with only Pieter de Villiers, Cedric Heymans and Damien Traille staying in the starting 15. Skrela, Dominici and Betsen will be in the stands, with Freddie Michalak starting at 10 and Lionel Beauxis backing him up, as it were. Laporte and Maso stand by their captain, subbed off in the Puma game - "if we were really disappointed with him, he wouldn't be in the match 22".
The Daily Telegraph gets its excuses in early as bans, illness and injuries add, er, insult to injury for England. Deck chairs on the Titanic? Jake White thinks that Jonny Wilkinson could be the TBA in yesterday's squad announcement. At this point, most of you think that South Africa will be walking it, with 88% believing that it's a Bok win by 8 points or more... many more.
The Telegraph also says that Andy Farrell is ready to take over the reins at 10 if needed. Well, that's nice.
You wouldn't know that there were any games being played in midweek, but anyone who caught the Argentina v Georgia match last night will know two things: (1) there are very few easy games this time round, and (2) that Murray Mexted doesn't get out of NZ much. The Independent points to an 11-minute burst of class carrying the Pumas away from 'plucky underdogs', but it was tight getting the bonus point: only a last-minute try from Hernandez a pop pass at a suspiciously ruck-like situation put Argentina in the position they wanted to be in. The pitiful Mexted-Taylor combination behind the mike for UK viewers is also drawing fire: a Facebook group is pushing the same line we hear every four years, when ITV discover rugby only to relegate most of the games to Channel 657.
Still on the Pumas: according to the Sydney Morning Herald, people in the north are quivering at the thought of the World Cup turning into a southern extravaganza. Why? Because the Pumas are *gasp* actually quite a good team. Scrumbag is just shocked that an Australian has noticed that Argentina is in the southern hemisphere. QuadNations, anyone? Still no? This one is going to get a much bigger airing after the Cup has finished.
Three games today, and Nigel Melville in The Guardian is in a bad mood about the USA being expected to play the Tongans four days after playing England. Scrumbag interviewed him in Chicago (get us!) a couple of weeks back and we're sold - this World Cup is a massive stitch-up against the smaller nations. While France have 9 days to relax between Argentina and Namibia, Georgia played Argentina last night and play Ireland on Saturday. For a team - no, a place - that Murray Mexted has never heard of, is this anywhere near fair?
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What a shame for the minnows. It's a war of attrition against powerful professional sides with all the resources available, while they struggle with a schedule suited for the Battan Death March. The pros? Chasing French trim? Relaxing on the Marseille beach ala the All Blacks? LET'S GO ARGENTINA!
Posted by: mosebag | 12 Sep 2007 14:36:18
the double standards of the citing commissioners are a joke. We will end up having players taking dives to end world cups for other opponents. its leaves the sport open for much scandal.
What burger did was far less concerning than a spear tackle. Even so he gets penalised almost to the same level? What of Limas high shot cleary aimed at Pretorius HEAD? he wasnt even cited!! What will happen to Carl Hayman for the punches he threw? If he doesnt get 4 weeks ban then this citing issue is a joke as usual, where some players and teams are more targeted than others.
Posted by: Joe | 12 Sep 2007 15:21:59
Choice Murray lines from Ireland v Namibia:
I do notice, though, that there's a sun on their flag, and there's plenty of sun in Namibia"
After Ireland's first try: "Fantastic, it had to be John O'Driscoll"
Ah, well... still enjoy him on the All Blacks matches, though... ITV, New Zealand matches only for Murray please... :-)
Posted by: JR | 12 Sep 2007 15:30:08
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