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New King Cole
The Aussies to beat England in the rugby – but there are more reasons to be optimistic about the latter’s round ball counterparts.
Tony Cascarino, 20 Nov 2003
My wife being French, I was on tea and sympathy duty last Sunday after Les Bleus were beaten by Les Rosbifs. I cheer for all the home countries when it comes to rugby, so I watched it downstairs on ITV while she was in the bedroom with her French channels.
I used to meet the Irish rugby lads quite a bit when I was on international duty in Dublin and they often made me feel embarrassed to be a footballer. I was watching the Russia v Wales game the day before and it was all feigning injury and trying to get other players booked. You don’t see Martin Johnson rolling around on the ground in agony if he gets poked in the eye. He puts his hand on his face to make sure everything’s still there and gets on with it. Footballers can learn a lot from the way their rugby counterparts conduct themselves.
Come the weekend, I think home advantage will tell and Australia will beat England by a couple of scores. I’ve quite a bit of money riding on the Wallabies at 2/7 on, so I’ll have to make sure my neighbours don’t hear me shouting for the opposition.
I’m writing this before Wednesday’s second-legs so I could be spectacularly wrong, but I have my doubts about Wales and Scotland making it through the European play-offs. No disrespect to Berti Vogts who’s beginning to make progress north of the border, but I don’t think Holland would have lost at Hampden if there hadn’t been bickering in the camp beforehand. There are two or three players in that squad, Patrick Kluivert being the chief villain, who think they’re far better than they actually are and put personal interests ahead of those of the team.
When we beat Holland 1-0 in Dublin and qualified ahead of them for the World Cup, Kluivert had two one-on-ones early in the game and missed them both. Looking at him, you got this air of, “I am a great player and I’ll get one later”, which obviously he didn’t. What does he do after failing to score against Scotland? Blame the system and the manager. To me, that’s arrogance.