From The Touchlines

World Rugby News Service team take a walk on the blindside to find offbeat news stories, stats, anecdotes, and who said what to whom…   THE LORD MAYOR’S SHOW The
18 Sep 2015 10:40
From The Touchlines
The Vodafone Flying Fijians after their official welcome ceremony.

World Rugby News Service team take a walk on the blindside to find offbeat news stories, stats, anecdotes, and who said what to whom…



The All Blacks were given a warm welcome in the stunning setting of the Tower of London – as well as a reminder of the historic past of their surroundings, and the part played in it by New Zealand traders.

While there was an official welcome from rugby’s hierarchy – World Rugby executive board members Michael Hawker (AUS) and Bill Beaumont (ENG) – their formal remarks were trumped by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alan Yarrow.

Yarrow reminded his guests that their historic surroundings had “once been a place of incarceration and execution”. He then recalled that New Zealand traders had interrupted the 1885 Lord Mayor’s Show “to promote their carts of frozen mutton” and that one of his predecessors had “welcomed the first imports of New Zealand cheese on the banks of the Thames in 1931”.



Canada’s four-time World Cup veteran Jamie Cudmore will have no trouble finding something to do when he eventually hangs up his boots.

After 10 years living in France, where the 37-year-old lock has been playing with Top 14 team Clermont Auvergne, Cudmore has found a very French pastime to keep him occupied off the field – making wine.

Cudmore and his wife, Jennifer, are selling wine under the Sin Bin label. Having spent more time than he would like on the sidelines during games, he and Jennifer thought the name would be “a tribute” to his uncompromising style of play.

“It’s something my wife and I developed in October last year and we’ve sold over 100,000 bottles in France,” says Cudmore. “Though that has more to do with the marketing prowess of my wife – a nice bit of tongue-in-cheek she has made work for us.”



At the age of 33 the mighty Ma’a Nonu is getting to that twilight stage of his career when he may be pondering what to do with his post-rugby life.

Perhaps All Blacks TV can offer a clue – or maybe not. In a splendid interview, the great centre produces a joke book and, with a straight face,  asks his interrogator: “What happened to the wooden car?”

After a pause and before an answer is offered, Nonu says, “Wooden go….”

He follows up by asking: “What happened to the steel car?”

Answer? “Steel wooden go….”

Hmmm. Not sure we’ll see Ma’a moonlighting at London’s Comedy Store quite yet.


Giant Vodafone Flying Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo reckons his team’s sweet music off the field can be something to behold. “We have church every night and some of the songs that come out of there are awesome,” says the Crusaders flyer.

Tourists at Hampton Court heard the evidence for themselves when they came across the harmonious squad singing a traditional hymn outside the palace after Fiji’s welcome ceremony. But it is not always so tuneful.

Nadolo admits sheepishly that some players are more musically gifted than others. “Well, mate, it’s the smaller guys in the team, the half-backs like Henry Seniloli and Nikola Matawalu who lead it,” he says. “Er, and then you’ve got all us big guys who can’t sing at the back …”



The big-screen cinema that has been a feature of Brighton beach for a month has packed up and gone, making way for the World Cup fanzone.

Sunday’s late-night screening of Cabaret brought to an end the month of films, and the next event on the big screen will be the World Cup opening ceremony and England’s game against Fiji on Friday night.

The fanzone – one of 15 around the country but the only one on a beach – will be the place for a party over the weekend, when Brighton hosts two matches in successive days. It can accommodate 10,000 people, and entry is free.



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