From the Touchline

(Rugby News Service) Monday 17 October 2011
From the Touchline
Charlie the cockerel shows his true colours

AUCKLAND, 17 Oct. - A lighter look at Rugby World Cup 2011.

The numbers

3 - New Zealand and France will both be playing in their third RWC final on Sunday, equalling the record held by Australia and England. Sunday's Eden Park match will also be the third RWC final refereed by a South African. No other union has provided more than one.

2 - Tries scored in the RWC 2011 semi-finals, which equals the record low of 1991.

1 - RWC titles the All Blacks and Les Bleus have between them, which is the lowest a pair of finalists have held since the RWC 1999 decider.

0 - Conversions kicked in the RWC 2011 semi-finals, which beats the record low mark of one in the 1991 semi-finals.

He said it

"I can't see anyone stopping the All Blacks now."
- Australia's Kiwi coach Robbie Deans is in no doubt New Zealand have the Webb Ellis Cup in the bag.

Puma mauls Wallabies

France's Argentinian assistant coach Gonzalo Quesada is convinced his countrymen showed more guile, determination and skill in the Pumas' 33-10 quarter-final loss to New Zealand than Australia displayed in their 20-6 defeat to the same team at Eden Park on Sunday.

"Would it be objective of me to say the Pumas caused the All Blacks more problems than Australia today?" Quesada said on Twitter.

Good cluck, France

No doubt the overwhelming majority of Auckland residents will be backing New Zealand against France in Sunday's grand finale at Eden Park.

But there is at least one Aucklander who will be backing Les Bleus. Charlie the cockerel is well known around Okahu Bay and residents say he was particularly excited before Saturday's semi-final between France and Wales.

"I think we know who he'll be supporting tonight," one local told From the Touchline.

However, there is no indication whether the French team will look to employ Charlie as a mascot for the big match.

The France team carried a cockerel named Diomede with them on their way to the 1999 final in Cardiff, while they regularly have a cockerel running around the Stade de France pitch during home matches. 

Henry's slumber party

Graham Henry last week said he would probably have to get woken up for the semi-final with Australia because the 9pm kick-off was well past his bedtime.

However, the All Blacks coach managed to stave off the temptations of Morpheus to see his side defeat the Wallabies on Sunday, and said: "I had a bit of a granny nap during the afternoon, so it got me through."

No private dancing

Brad Thorn has the moves on the pitch, but the Kiwi second rower is not convinced he is quite so adept when it comes to showing off his dance steps.

Thorn reportedly indulged in a celebratory dance in his underwear following Sunday's win over the Wallabies.

However, the forward pleaded ignorance: "I don't know what you're talking about. We're in the sheds, we sit there, we enjoy each other's company. We get down to our undies before we get in the shower, maybe, I don't know what's going on. Maybe there's some music on. Maybe I went like this (shimmies his shoulders). I don't know."

Meanwhile, a New Zealand shop has already come out with a new T-shirt, 'AC is the new DC', promoting the star qualities of Aaron Cruden after the young fly half took over the role vacated by injured All Blacks hero Dan Carter for the semi-final victory over Australia.

RNS pj/mr