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Peter Bills: Some heroic highs and sad lows thus far in the Rugby World Cup

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Quade Cooper, here fumbling the high ball, has been in poor form. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Quade Cooper, here fumbling the high ball, has been in poor form. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A look back at the best and the worst, the triumphs and the tragedies of the Rugby World Cup

Highest peak scaled
Mike Tindall's friend's front in a South Island bar.

Lowest act
Quade Cooper's performances in the quarter- and semifinals.

Best game
South Africa 17 Wales 16.

Worst game
Any played by England.

Biggest robbery
Any win by England.

Warmest tribute by a coach
"They're a bunch of undisciplined, spoiled brats, disobedient, sometimes selfish, always complaining, always whining." - French coach Marc Lievremont.

Biggest shock (1)
The bill at some New Zealand restaurants.

Biggest shock (2)
Hearing Russian fullback Vasily Artemyev answering questions in an Irish lilt. (He studied in Dublin.)

Cheapest shot
Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini eye-gouging Ireland loosehead Cian Healy. He rightly copped a 15-week ban.

Dumbest quote
IRB chief executive Mike Miller calling New Zealand "replaceable" at the next World Cup.

Best artistic impression
Shared between the opening ceremony, and England centre Manu Tuilagi for his dive off a ferry into Auckland harbour.

Biggest mystery (1)
Why the hell New Zealand lamb and wines are so expensive in this country.

Biggest mystery (2)
Why a bloke as physically intimidating as Martin Johnson couldn't discipline his England players.

Biggest gripe
How many more war dances are there in the world?

Best rugby joke
A New Zealander went to a fancy dress shop to get a Dracula costume for Hallowe'en. The girl behind the counter gave him an English rugby kit. He said to the girl: "Sorry, love, you must have misheard me. I said I wanted to look like a Count!"

Best cabaret act
The French and their maestro leader Marc Lievremont.

Best clowns
The IRB. At one stage, they attracted more headlines than the rugby.

Biggest scandal
The way the minnow nations were treated, forced to play four games in 16 days. The favoured top-tier nations got far more time.

The pensioners' award
Goes to South Africa. They just had too many old legs in their team.

Funniest sight
Four Kiwi fans dressed up as Japanese kamikaze pilots boarding a bus to North Harbour Stadium for the France v Japan game. Two minutes later, three real Japanese got on. They exploded into laughter. Good on them.

Biggest fraud
France beating Wales in the semifinal.

Meanest trick
Getting the choirs to sing anthems, promising them tickets and then ushering them out of the place.

Best preparation for a match (alleged)
The Namibian boys spending time in bars in the build-up to their game against the Springboks. They lost 87-0, a hammering on the field and a hammering off it.

Saddest sight
The decline and fall of the once-great Jonny Wilkinson. He couldn't even kick goals at this World Cup.

Saddest decline
Fiji. If, as they say, the IRB are pouring millions into Fijian rugby, then they'd better stop. It's a shocking investment.

Most alarming sight
Some of the waistlines on the IRB officials. But you try eating and drinking for free for seven weeks and see the strain your strides are under.

Best welcome
Absolutely everywhere.

Best stadium
Dunedin.

Best anthem
Wales.

True heroes
The New Zealand public who spent so much money going to games where ticket prices were usually outrageous.

- NZ Herald

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