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Today in Rugby: Reports From France


The Rugby World Cup is underway. As mentioned, I watched the Eagles play Saturday, and could not have more impressed by their level of play and the overall enjoyment of watching a game. Put it this way, a lot fewer TV timeouts than in that other popular sport I've been writing about all day. Still trying to find the largest watch party for the Eagles' winnable tilt against Tonga on Wednesday. Post where you'll be in the comments if you'd like. Guest blog items are also still being accepted.

The main storylines thus far: the strong play of lesser-known sides like Canada and Namibia and even USA; the utter domination exhibited by the All Blacks, Wallabies and Springboks; and the looming catastrophe of a France washout in group play.

All you people who are bombarding me with e-mails, many thanks for writing. Probably won't be able to respond to you all, but if you want to make this (very occasional) rugby coverage here a success, please feel free to get some discussions going below. Today's topic: Eagles Coach Peter Thorburn refused to tell me what his team's goals are this RWC, saying that was private. What do you think would be an acceptable goal for the Eagles to count this Cup as a success? Does it require one win? Two? Is it more about the effort?

Today is an off day; I'll fill the void with some e-mails from France, after the jump. Trust me, the last one is well worth your time.

From Nigel Melville, CEO of USA Rugby, on the morning of the Eagles' opener:

Whatever happens today, the players are in for a hell of an experience.

I spent some time with the players yesterday; they are very excited. I don't know how the Christians felt about facing the Lions, but I am sure they weren't as excited as these guys were. They are a very close team, work hard and deserve respect for their commitment.

From Leticia Basauri, mother of U.S. flanker and Whitman High grad Inaki Basauri:

Inaki was so happy, so happy to be able to play yesterday. He was saying how all the team were so cohesive and unified and played with courage, with a lot of '[um, spirit]'. Very supportive to each other.

All his Rugby colleagues were calling him to congratulate him. He was able to tackle England's number 8 despite others saying he will need 10 kilograms added to his body to make it happen. He was so proud about his team and the players. He was very happy to experience how they were courageous when playing. No intimidation whatsoever.

From Ignacio Basauri, father of Inaki and a professional journalist. This one's really worth reading.

The RWC has just began and although Argentina is playing its heart out against the French, and against a full to the top Stade d' France, I'm not following the game, my eyes are fixed in four beautiful Argentinians, barely clad in mini-skirts and Argentinian team jerseys.

Argentinians are a fierce bunch. They're barely visible in the midst of a blue ocean of confident French expecting an easy victory from their national team that in their eyes is all but coronated champion of the world. And I'm still fixed by four Argentinian beauties, shaking their baby-blue and white pom-poms with the sexiness and abandon no NFL cheerleaders will know in several lifetimes. Suddenly, the Argentinians are ahead, and I know not because I've been watching the game, I know because the four beauties are now taking their shirts off and increasing my heart rate. I only hope Argentina wins. Imagine the possibilities.

The game goes on, but I couldn't care less. I'm here to follow my son, who's playing with the USA Eagles against England tomorrow, but nothing could be farthest from my mind now. I realize now that Argentina is going to beat the French. Those four beauties are the reason. If I had them cheering on me I would embark in the wildest adventure, the Crusades, the Discovery of America. I would initiate the War of Independence. I would battle the English to death.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 10, 2007; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  Rugby  
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