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How to Survive a World Cup

The Proprietor, unusually quiet, has apparently simultaneously attended the Rugby World Cup in France while shooting Skin in South Africa (with Sophie Okonedo, Alice Krige, and Tony Kgoroge).         

The old chancer sends back the following advice:

How to survive – and even enjoy – a World Cup

  • Never, under any circumstances, fly British Airways. This once great airline has slid into terminal decline, and now sadly employs some who have forgotten how to spell, let alone recognize, the word “service”. If you have no choice but to fly B.A., do not be surprised if they leave you stranded at Heathrow (a hellhole) for 24 hours without so much as an apology. It will be your fault.
  • Try to avoid supporting a side that actually likes to play rugby. If your national side likes to play open, exciting rugby, sadly they will be unlikely to make it beyond the quarterfinals. If, however, your national side (think England) prefers brutish, dull and mind-numbingly 10 man rugby then you’re in with a good chance.
  • Avoid the World Cup altogether if you love Rugby. Unfortunately, what should be a showcase to the world of the world’s greatest sport, has become, rather like its soccer counterpart, a charade of crude tackling, meaningless kicking and defence at any cost. Possession has become a dirty world. This is sad, retrograde and for the spectator about as much fun as Disneyworld without the rides. Let us hope this is not the Death of Rugby!
  • Find solace in good companionship, food, wine and laughter. France was a particularly good venue in this respect, and New Zealand will undoubtedly be a similar experience.
  • Thanks here to P Hall, Tommy Evers-Swindell, Chris McVeigh, George and Erika Gregan and many others who are able to take defeat with a sporting heart and look forward with optimism. But also much gratitude for the hospitality and generosity of Moet and Chandon (for an unforgettable night at their splendid chateau), chateaux Pommard, La Roche, Meursault, and Louis Latour. When one gets to drink wines of such calibre – who needs crap rugby!
  • Get yourself elected to the I.R.B. Change the rules. For example – reduce the drop goal to one point; work on the rucking rules etc. Free up the game, and encourage that seemingly old-fashioned concept – the try.
  • For scrapes, insect bites, headaches, general malaise, minor burns – carry a bottle of Two Paddocks Lavender Essential Oil. Works a treat.
  • Take the train. The world can learn much from French trains.
  • Try and remember – it’s only a game! Oh well…. Okay… that’s too hard. Forget it.
  • Avoid British Airways.
  • Book ahead for New Zealand. It can only be better than the last. And you will find Two Paddocks at most good restaurants – reason enough.
  • Congratulate the Springboks. Their great achievement this year was to choke “Swing Low.” (Note to England supporters – American spirituals are best left to those across the pond. You just can’t sing.)

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