Cry me a river!
Aw, boo-hoo, people at sports grounds are being mean to Australians. Oh dear. How sad.
"A Kiwi, dressed in Irish green, shouted to a group of Australian fans, 'It's not mardi gras you f***ing poofters,"' blubbed one Aussie fan after the Convicts were beaten by - of all things - Ireland.
This is terrible behaviour. Come on, New Zealand, we can all do better: from now on, when dealing with our Ditch-leaping cousins, let's behave as impeccably as the pissed-up bozzos in Bay 13 at the MCG.
Cry me a river II
England fan Adam Morton says he got called a "Pommy bastard" at a game in Dunedin. And? ...
Starving for a win
Mad Professor Sighting: All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith spotted at the Hollywood Bakery opposite the Herald building. Perhaps he was craving a custard square to take his mind off the fact that he's sitting on two defeats from two outings in World Cup clashes with the French.
No word on how many sausage rolls he picked up for Steve Hansen.
Don't hold your breath
A colleague not renowned for following the rugby helpfully points out: "Did you know Namibians are unique because they can breathe underwater and on land."
A bon gesture
Overheard at the barbershop: A bloke was out cycling and got chatting to a Frenchman who was following a cycle trail. After offering some directions to the lost Gaul, the Kiwi pedaller was given free tickets to the opening match by the Cheese-eater who turned out to be some sort of high-ranking IRB type. So they (French and IRB types) are not all bad.
Sighted, on Customs St nearing midnight earlier this week: Former Cheese-eating flanker Serge Betsen. For the record he walked straight past Showgirls.
On which note, in a currency-converting coup guaranteed to profit from the euphoria - and post-strip bar hunger - of RWC visitors, the White Lady burger bar on Fort St is now accepting Mermaids dollars. Or so we've heard (cough, cough).
(Side note: Can anyone actually confirm the story about Joe Stanley at the White Lady? Drop us a line at email@example.com)
Word reaches us of four All Blacks who fancied a round of golf at a well-known Auckland golf club. Conrad Smith, Israel Dagg, Jimmy Cowan and one other player turned up to play, only to find it wasn't all red carpet and "on the house".
Our source tells us: "The first three behaved as the rest of us would, paid and hit off - good lads. [The other one] who must believe he is like Mourinho, vastly underpaid but still very special, refused to pay and buggered off, probably in a chauffeur-driven motor."
Sighted: A T-shirt worn by a cameraman from the land of Cheese-eaters: "Things to do before I die: 1) Don't die".
Are we there yet?
When England and Romania go toe-to-toe tomorrow, the tournament will be at the halfway stage. Their Pool C clash is the 24th of the 48 games in the World Cup.
'Supposed to be fighting'
Guardian writer Charlie Brooker remains immune to the charms of the great game: "Rugby is ... just incoherent; way too chaotic to follow - half the time the action resembles some kind of scrum.
"And the ball doesn't even bounce properly.
"Also: are they supposed to be fighting each other or not? Literally no one involved seems to know."
Sounds like what pretty much any actual fan of the sport would say.
The Party XV
Most of the feedback on our All-Time All Black Party XV has demanded we find a place in the squad for Sione Lauaki and Chris Masoe. There was also an honourable mention for amateur pharmacologist Marc Ellis.
The Great Man I
As the country goes into McCaw-gasm, here's a Richie anecdote for the fans, as told to the Daily Telegraph.
On New Year's Eve 1997 teenaged Ryan Martin was camping with pals in Otago. It was a summer's night and the lads didn't hold back. Well, one did - Richie McCaw.
"Next morning, as we lay in our tents feeling sorry for ourselves, Richie had headed out to run up Mt Iron," recalls Martin, McCaw's first XV captain at Otago Boys High School. "Richie had been out the night before looking as if he was having a big time of it. But he knew exactly what he wanted to do the next day."
The Great Man II
More from Martin: "One of my memories of him at school is simply seeing the scar tissue on his back after matches and the number of stitches in his face. He used to get 'tickled' a lot even then, but never reacted. His fitness was exceptional, too, not by pumping weights like some did but through aerobic exercise. He's not the biggest but he's hard through and through. He was setting standards for us all back then."