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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 31 August, 2014

Who’s Webb Ellis? These are the REAL winners and losers of the Rugby World Cup

Dwarf-throwing, facial hair, ball-swapping, Hooky in his pyjamas. Did that just happen?

Image: INPHO/Photosport/Dave Linott

IT’S BEEN QUITE  a ride.

Six weeks ago we faced into a month-and-a-half  of rugby with high hopes and fresh faces.

One tournament, almost 50 games and countless early-morning cups of coffee later and we’ve made it through to the other side. Despite the destination of the Webb Ellis trophy tomorrow, here’s the real winners and losers.

Winners

Moustache enthusiasts Movember came one month early as French head coach Marc Lievremont rocked the most famous Gallic lip-tickler since Cardinal Richelieu.

Though perhaps the hirsute, physical manifestation of the under-fire coach’s delicate mental state, the ‘tache served as a rallying call to the travelling French supporters.

Bravo, monsieur.

Welsh sub-editors. Despite an unlucky defeat in the semi-final and some subsequent unhappiness with Irish referee Alain Rolland, those in the valleys produced this wonderful front page.

Irish backpackers Throughout the tournament our men on the ground – Simon Hick and the Happy Camper, Sean Farrell - told us about the craic in New Zealand.

The fun however was another side of the same coin as Ireland’s economic meltdown.

This was far from the West Stand at Lansdowne – and all that that implies – Sean told me this week after landing back in Dublin. Backpackers of the world unite, as Morrissey almost sang.

Losers

Dan Carter The beloved All Blacks out half is one of the best exponents – if not the best – in the world. He came into the tournament playing the best rugby of his life, in his own country, on the bigest stage.

New Zealand are hotly tipped to beat France in tomorrow’s finale. But whatever, happens, the injured Carter will be sitting in the stands.

Zara Philips Deary me. The Queen of England’s granddaughter married the English skipper, Mike Tindall, in the weeks before the tournament.

Several air-borne ‘dwarves’, a one-woman welcoming committee, and an infamous night out in Wellington later and the Olympian is on a flight down under. Not a good start to married life, Father.

Irish rugby fans who only have terrestial stations We were subjected to Hooky in his jim-jams on that first Friday morning all those weeks ago.



Who have we forgotten?

The Score’s team of the Rugby World Cup

Three reasons why France can beat the All Blacks…

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