This rugby-head is enjoying the football World Cup a little too much.

So much so that I had a crisis of conscience on Saturday night. You see, I'd watched the week's knockout games in Russia then tuned in to the oval-ball fixture between the Hurricanes and Blues in Wellington not long after.

The latter was appreciably deflating. Despite some skilful tries and the home team's win, it was at best mild entertainment. Compared with the football, the 15-man game was borderline insipid.

It's tough to ascertain whether our national game (or the repetitive nature of Super Rugby) has lost its lustre, or whether the round-ball spectacle played out on the world's biggest sporting stage is simply shaping up as a classier act.


A little of both, I'd suggest.

Either way, even for us hardened rugby enthusiasts the colourful tournament in Russia just gets better and better. There's something irresistible about witnessing South American zeal mix it with European steel.

And as for those bemoaning the penalty shootout as a way to decide a game - I beg to differ.

These have been a genuine highlight all tournament and add, rather than detract from a match.

Besides, viewers tend to get bored if after 90 minutes of play, followed by 30 minutes of extra time, the score is drawn.

A shootout is the culmination of an equally matched game and they are as ruthless as they are final.

It obvious too that England's survival (for that's how it presents) rather than success is one of this tournament's main hooks.

Due to the wealth of English natives in this country you can't help but be caught up in the Anglo-groundswell.


Stats released last week showed that more English viewers watched the England - Colombia match than those who watched Prince Harry swap nuptials with Meghan Markle.

This gets a little confusing when God Save the Queen is belted out at every game.

The English team keep us all interested; their passion is a borderline medical condition that is proving infectious.

For rugby heads the tournament looms as a genuine code converter.

And as for predictions - get in Belgium, I say.