1 – Oh-so-predictable
Before this tournament started, your average sheepskin wearing rugger fan could have told you seven of the eight quarter-finalists. This, sadly, was the way it all turned out. Scotland and Japan was always going to be a deciding game in the group, those in green just didn’t expect it to be for the top spot in the Pool.
With New Zealand v South Africa up early in the tournament, there wasn’t much more to come after we had seen that one. You could probably count the thrilling games on one hand.
And one of those was Uruguay versus Fiji, which no one watched.
2 – Storm Ha-Jeebus
Do you know when would be a good time to host a world sporting event in Japan? How about Typhoon season?
Ah, but it’ll be fine, World Rugby promised us all that they had “contingency plans” in place should a typhoon cause disruption to the Pool stages’ schedule.
They had a plan alright, a plan to just cancel everything and give some of the biggest teams in the tournament an even longer run into the quarter-finals.
That and they made Sergio Parisse cry. Why would you do that World Rugby, why?
3 – Ref off
There are no rules in rugby, there are laws. This World Cup could very well be remembered for having no real laws either. Well, none that the man on the high stool can figure out anyway.
It was always the case that you could not smash your forearm into another player’s face, but this World Cup seems to have allowed some variations of GBH, while penalising others. The consistency of referees has been more of a talking point than most games.
Even World Rugby felt obliged to release a statement that they weren’t happy with the reffing performances early on. I mean, where do you go from there?
There is one positive from all of that though. When you don’t know what is going on, just drop the words ‘mitigating factors’ in a rugby conversation and your mates will think you are Nigel Owens in disguise.
4 – Tears for Tier 2
During the Celtic Tiger era, an Irish hero stood on a bus and admitted that he didn’t know what a tracker mortgage was. He had the balls to say it and he has been revered ever since.
The rugby-playing nations of the world need a hero like that. They need someone to stand up and ask, what the f**k is a Tier 2 nation?! Supposedly it’s a nation that does not compete in an annual competition like the Rugby Championship or the Six Nations, but then that would mean that Japan would be Tier 2 and Italy and Scotland would be Tier 1.
But we don’t want to live in ‘upside-down land’ so can we not just expand the annual tournaments or even make everyone play everyone else in a league? Look at the Nations League in soccer.
World Rugby's chief exec is calling on the #SixNations unions to 'consider the good of the global game' and back plans for a new Nations Championship.
👉 https://t.co/FdkJApvwuB pic.twitter.com/euzCAtNQFX
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 23, 2019
Actually, forget I said anything.
5 – Timezone tests
It takes a special type of person to go on the lash at 8am in the morning. Whatever about finishing off a night by watching some match on a couch with a snack box and a bag of cans, getting up early to watch your country play in a World Cup is not on.
As rugby supporters, it helps to have a loosener before we go and shout ‘C’mon Johnny’ at every single player on the pitch while grabbing anyone within three yards whenever we win a lineout.
This early morning rugby thing, followed by the “what do we do now that we are hungover at 12 noon” feeling, was never going to catch on and it’s really something the organisers should’ve considered deeply before awarding the tournament to Japan.
6 – Fields of Athenry
Little did we know, that when Michael went and stole Trevelyan’s corn back in the 1840s we would have to hear about it to this day. A noble act at the time from aul Michael, but this Pete St John ballad has led to a song being sung at every single opportunity possible.
It’s bad enough that the song is sung at Munster matches when Athenry is in Connacht, but then the Irish Rugby fans sing it, blissfully unaware that the song is about England shipping Irish ‘convicts’ off to Australia. The irony of singing it seconds after Ireland’s Call is not lost on this cynic.
To make matters even worse, the Irish are not content with just singing it at their own games. No sir. As if to compound the sh*te World Cup that Ireland had on the field, the fans have taken to singing the ‘Fields’ at the remaining games in the tournament when Ireland are gone home.
7 – The Winners
The final reason this is going to be the worst World Cup ever is that either Eddie Jones or Rassie Erasmus are going to win it.
It could be Eddie for the second time, or Rassie, the man who is trying to single-handedly remove running, passing and tackling from the game by just kicking the ball higher and higher and higher into the air at every opportunity.
Will ‘Sir Eddie’ win and remind us forevermore how brilliant he is, or will Rassie win and become the first man to win the Rugby World Cup without playing rugby at all?