Announcing the winners of The RWC Webbys!

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    Fiji's Akapusi Qera passes the ball to Fiji's full back Kini Murimurivalu

    Fiji's Akapusi Qera passes the ball to Fiji's full back Kini Murimurivalu. AFP Photo / Gabriel Bouys

    It’s not quite the Rugby World Cup’s “night of nights” by any stretch, but I thought that it might be worth one last moment of levity before things start getting very, very serious this weekend in New Zealand.

    The “Webbys” are of course named for young William Webb Ellis, as is the RWC trophy, and I figure this is appropriate since it seems that perhaps the whole “boy picks up football in schoolyard and runs” story perhaps can’t be taken as seriously as it once was.

    So, without further ado.

    Best headgear
    Blokes who just sport garden-variety blue or black headgear could learn a lot here.

    Initially, I thought Fijian flanker Akapusi Qera (photo above) had this well and truly sewn up, with his otherwise standard-issue headgear beautifully topped with a random array of colours that make his head pretty easy to recognise.

    Of course, that could work against you when you’re a flanker, too.

    However, when I saw the outstanding arrangement of flying United States winger, Takudzwa Ngwenya, I saw the error of my ways. Ngwenya’s superb showing of colour-coordination and sheer patriotism gets him the Webby on a countback.

    US right wing Takudzwa Ngwenya (centre) is tackled by Italy's scrum half Fabio Semenzato. AAP Image/AFP/Martin Bureau

    US right wing Takudzwa Ngwenya (centre) is tackled by Italy's scrum half Fabio Semenzato. AAP Image/AFP/Martin Bureau

    Best beard:

    Adam Kleeberger

    Adam Kleeberger (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa)

    Canadian flanker Adam Kleeberger. Not even a contest. Hope he doesn’t carry through with threats to get rid of it.

    Best playing strip:

    Argentina's sky-blue strip

    Argentina's sky-blue strip (AAP Image/AFP/Marty Melville)

    Argentina, by a good margin.

    In this day and age of space-age, streamlined, figure-hugging, supposedly-performance-enhancing hi-tech “jerseys”, it’s good to see that all this can – occasionally – still be made to look like a proper, traditional rugby strip.

    And, it’s a pleasant removal from the block colours of 18 other teams! Now sure, block colours can look smart, but not so much when everyone else does it too.

    Argentina’s traditional sky-blue and white hoops are instantly recognisable (who’s that black team, who’s that white team?) and they’re a welcome sight in international rugby.

    The Brave Blossum strip

    Japan's Brave Blossums (AAP Image/AFP, Gabriel Bouys)

    Highly commended: Japan, who had a bit each way on whether to stay with their traditional cherry red and white hoops, or go with the hi-tech mostly blocked-out number.

    BOO HISS!!:
    England, not for their possibly ill-thought black alternate strip, but for the pathetic way the electrical tape numbers started disintegrating well before half-time.

    England's numbers fall off their jersey

    England's dodgy numbers on their dodgy black strip (AAP/NZN Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

    Best act of invisibility by an Australian journo:
    Greg Growden: invisible?The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chief Rugby Correspondent, Greg Growden, gets this gong for his outstanding attempt at an “I’m not looking at you so you can’t see me” face while standing well in-shot behind Robbie Deans at a Wallaby presser in Hamner Springs last week.

    Best streaker:
    The 23 year-old Kenyan-born Dunedin local, dressed only in face paint, at the Argentina- England game at the new enclosed Otago Stadium in the first week of the tournament.

    At the time, I opined to my diminutive Twitter following that he should be thankful the game wasn’t at the old, cold Carisbrook, but having reviewed the tape it appears that shrinkage probably isn’t something this guy had to worry about.

    It gets better though, it seems the guy will escape conviction. Though originally charged under New Zealand’s new especially-minted Major Events Management Act, which says pitch invaders can incur up to three months in prison and a maximum fine of $5000, the man’s clean sheet may well see him let off, and instead making a donation to charity in lieu of the likely fine.

    Most bizarre explanation to a post-try celebration:
    Israel Dagg, after scoring in the New Zealand-France game last weekend, launched into some manor of hand and arm gestures that perhaps looked like a swan, but I’ve since heard described as being a “sock puppet”.

    I wasn’t really fussed by the celebration itself, but then I read about his cryptic explanation in an All Blacks in the days that followed: “a dog meows” and “the laughing bear rides a motorcycle”.

    Of course they do.

    Explanations – I’ll even take smart-arsed guesses – are welcome.

    Israel Dagg celebrates

    Israel Dagg celebrates (AFP Photo / Franck Fife)

    Best try
    Well, where do you start? It’s honestly impossible to try and rank particular tries in any order, and believe me, I tried all weekend.

    So this might be where the Webbys become a collaborative thing, and I’ll welcome suggestions from this point.

    To get the ball rolling, two tries from “minnows” still stick out for me, the first being Romania’s pushover scrum try against Scotland in the first week. I mentioned this one last week too, but it’s still hard to top.

    No.8 Daniel Carpo picked it up from the back and barged over, but it all came down to the second shove led by hooker and captain, Marius Tincu.

    The second try was from Russia, in their loss to Italy in Nelson. Though well beaten by this stage, the Russians got a good attacking scrum on the Italian line, and flyhalf Konstantin Rachkov threw a pass easily forty metres to an essentially unmarked inside centre Alexey Makovetskiy to go over virtually untouched.

    The try itself was quite simple, I suppose, but the vision to see the opportunity, and then the skill to get the pass there, well that’s just worth remembering.

    And with that, I’ll turn discussion over to you guys.

    The pool stage is done and dusted, and has been thoroughly enjoyable for way more than just the rugby itself. There’s no limit on how many Webbys The Roar hands out (I’ve checked the budget), so share your favourite RWC moments before things go all life-and-death on us.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • October 4th 2011 @ 10:05am
      Ben S said | October 4th 2011 @ 10:05am | ! Report

      Silliest foul: Dan Cole grabbing the legs of the Argentine pack having found himself at the bottom of a rolling maul, and on the wrong side. Just because you’re surrounded by legs doesn’t mean we can’t see you, Dan. We did see you, and so did the referee.

      Most forgetful man: Mike Tindall.

      • October 4th 2011 @ 11:07am
        Brett McKay said | October 4th 2011 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        Quite correct Ben S, though Samoa’s Paul Williams probably runs a close second for his slap to the face of South Africa’s Heinrich Brussouw right in front of a touchie….

        • October 4th 2011 @ 11:15am
          formeropenside said | October 4th 2011 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          Broussow was hitting him first, trying to get free from a ruck. But you are right, he should have really hit Broussow, not just girl-slapped him.

          • October 4th 2011 @ 11:29am
            Brett McKay said | October 4th 2011 @ 11:29am | ! Report

            if he was going to get a red card anyway FOS, yeah, he probably should have hit him properly…

      • October 5th 2011 @ 8:36am
        Brett McKay said | October 5th 2011 @ 8:36am | ! Report

        Ben S, we’re both overlooked Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini for the silliest foul Webby – though to be fair, it wasn’t actually picked up by the ref and touchies..

        Either way, Ghiraldini’s has copped 15 weeks for his disgraceful eye-gouging of Cian Healy, and rightly so…

        http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/home/news/newsid=2057297.html#leonardo+ghiraldini+banned+weeks

    • October 4th 2011 @ 10:09am
      Pothale said | October 4th 2011 @ 10:09am | ! Report

      Hand gesture is a snake cobra thing from some school university or club. Have seen this before but can’t remember where.

      • October 4th 2011 @ 10:31am
        Moaman said | October 4th 2011 @ 10:31am | ! Report

        Gidday Pot. Apparent Dagg and some of his Hawkes Bay ITM Cup team-mates have a club and that is their..’sign’.The dancing Bear et al are members……

      • October 4th 2011 @ 11:02am
        Brett McKay said | October 4th 2011 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        thanks Pots, Moa, that’s a starting point, at the very least…

    • Columnist

      October 4th 2011 @ 10:50am
      Ryan O'Connell said | October 4th 2011 @ 10:50am | ! Report

      I’ll tell you what won’t win a Roar Webby – England’s performance on Saturday night! Absolute disgrace. It’s one thing to play boring rugby, but to be BAD at playing boring rugby drives me mad!

      Can’t believe they stole that game from Scotland.

      • October 4th 2011 @ 12:40pm
        ChrisT said | October 4th 2011 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        I’d agree on one thing Ryan, England’s performance was a disgrace – but given that Scotland were the ones that lost the game, perhaps you could explain how their ‘brand’ of rugby was so much less ‘boring’ than England’s and why they wouldn’t get the award?

        Or was this just an excuse for you to have a little vent?

        Huh?

        Ryan?

        • Columnist

          October 4th 2011 @ 1:54pm
          Ryan O'Connell said | October 4th 2011 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

          Actually, I never said Scotland’s ‘brand’ of rugby was any better. But England were the clear favourites to win the game, with Scotland paying over $6. I think we’d both admit England are and should be the better team?

          As such, it’s a bigger travesty for England to play that badly than it is for Scotland, no?

          • October 4th 2011 @ 2:36pm
            ChrisT said | October 4th 2011 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

            Ryan, i never said you said “Scotland’s brand of rugby was any better’. I asked was it any less ‘boring’ and if you thought so, to explain why? It seems you are now telling me the less fancied team in a fixture should be blamed less when playing what you consider ‘boring’ rugby? It now also seems you have changed your position to one where it’s no longer ‘boring’ for England to play that way but rather it’s a ‘travesty’. Which is it?

            I wonder where you stand on the Australia Ireland fixture? Did you find the Irish boring that day? Or did you find the Australians boring? Did you post?

            Or should we just agree it was a nice opportunity for you to have a rant at England and leave it there?Until the next rant …which is sure to come.

            • Columnist

              October 4th 2011 @ 3:28pm
              Ryan O'Connell said | October 4th 2011 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

              Who’s ranting now?

              England were a disgrace on Sunday. That’s the point I was trying to make, and it’s one which you freely admit yourself. So what exactly are you arguing? That Scotland were just as boring, so go easy on England?

              If that’s the case, I actually thought Scotland played slightly better than England, and therefore deserved to win. My personal opinion is that England were both boring and bad on the weekend, and I think it’s unacceptable to be both. I’d find it hard to believe that anyone could disagree with that notion.

              The point about who was fancied to win simply provided an indication on how much better England are meant to be, which makes them playing bad even worse. Or a travesty, if you will.

              I hope that clears things up for you.

              And for the record, I thought Ireland played fantastic against Australia, who were very poor in their execution, along with being a touch ‘soft’.

              • October 4th 2011 @ 4:07pm
                ChrisT said | October 4th 2011 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

                Ryan. If the only point you were making was that England were terrible against Scotland, we’d be in violent agreement.

                The problem I have with you is your insistence they were ‘boring’ and the obvious inference that they chose to play that way. No mate, they were simply crap. There were a number of things not functioning properly, including the line out but the key was the front row were either out-cheated or out scrummaged for most of the game and Youngs had one of the worst performances in an England 9 shirt I can remember. Once those two elements go wrong I’d defy anyone to play attractive rugby.

                Strangely, your description of the Ireland Wallabies game isn’t a mile away from an accurate one of the England Scotland game – difference is, England took the points – and did it by turning down the pot, playing for position and spinning it wide. How dull of them.

                Likewise trust that clears things up.

              • October 5th 2011 @ 2:50am
                Ian Noble said | October 5th 2011 @ 2:50am | ! Report

                Ryan

                You obviously havn’t seen many Eng v Scot games in recent years. They are always the same; close, hard fought tests with the Scots playing out of their skins as they just love to beat the “auld enemy”. The Scots are great spoilers if only they could score a try. Eng nearly always dog it out and score when the Scots run of steam.

                We shall see how Eng perform v the French, who have been so bad they are due a great performance. Knock out rugby is great and this weekend all the games will be close and very unpredictable.

    • October 4th 2011 @ 11:11am
      Sam Taulelei said | October 4th 2011 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      Hi Brett

      Here is a link to a story that ran in the NZ Herald explaining Israel Dagg’s mysterious try scoring gesture.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby/news/article.cfm?c_id=80&objectid=10756218

      • October 4th 2011 @ 11:14am
        Brett McKay said | October 4th 2011 @ 11:14am | ! Report

        cheers Sam – I think I liked it better when it made no sense….

      • October 4th 2011 @ 1:07pm
        Who Needs Melon said | October 4th 2011 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

        Whatever it is, I’m a bit over these post try celebrations. Not picking on NZers – I know aussies have probably been leading the charge in this department. It’s the premeditated ones that particularly get to me. Call me old fashioned. Humbug.

    • October 4th 2011 @ 12:09pm
      Mike W said | October 4th 2011 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

      The Ben McCalman try against the Russians was pretty special. Wallabies in full flight starting with the cross kick to Samo on the wing.

      Eliota Sapolu deserves some kind of Webby. Ballsy and outspoken are just two adjectives springing to mind.

      • October 4th 2011 @ 2:04pm
        Brett McKay said | October 4th 2011 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

        for services to improved IRB-PIs relations, Mike??

    • October 4th 2011 @ 12:12pm
      the other Steve - and AB fan said | October 4th 2011 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

      Not strictly about the rugby, but I liked that the national anthems are sung properly by proper choirs, not screeched out by some contestant from ‘Australia’s Got Talent’.

      • October 4th 2011 @ 12:22pm
        Brett McKay said | October 4th 2011 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        agree TOS, definitely Webby-worthy…

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