10 Things You Never Knew About The World Cup
ESPN Classic
August 29, 2007

Check out ESPN Classic's 10 Things You Never Knew About The World Cup...

10) It's a tournament almost universally disliked by middle-aged Welshmen. Not only because Wales have so regularly under-performed at four-yearly intervals, but also due to the fact that the principality would surely have won the trophy several times during the 1960s and '70s...before the tournament was ever invented...

9) It's led to several of the greatest musical aberrartions ever recorded. Think of the '91 England squad's 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot', for a start. So bad that several of that record's 'stars' - Rob Andrew, in particular - could be openly seen laughing at their own vocal performances during its video.

8) Opinion is divided on the topic of the Rugby World Cup's 'Best-Ever Punch-Up', but a strong contender must surely be the match quickly dubbed 'The Battle Of Boet Erasmus'. Having charmed the world with the warmth of their multi-coloured welcome, South Africa then showed their steel by apparently declaring war on poor Canada. It was like the most brutal pub brawl that you've ever seen...

7) Portugal will, this year, become the fourth nation to be competing or have competed in their sole Rugby World Cup. The other three nations are or were Georgia, the Ivory Coast and Spain.

6) Record victory during a Rugby World Cup? It depends whether you mean record points scored or record margin of victory. So, take your pick from New Zealand 145 - 17 Japan, from 1995, or Australia 142 - 0 Namibia from 2003.

5) The Rugby World Cup, contrary to popular belief, was not the first wholly international rugby union tournament to feature both Northern and Southern hemisphere sides battling against each other. That was the Olympic Games, which featured rugby as a sport from 1900 to 1924. The final two tournaments were, surprisingly, won by the United States.

4) They've never got beyond the semi-final stages, but Scotland have still provided the Rugby World Cup's single highest-ever try-scorer. That's Gavin Hastings, with a whopping 227.

3) Only one rugby player has ever won Britain's much-coveted 'Rear Of The Year' title, in recognition of the UK's best-looking behind. That was Jeremy Guscott, in 1991, following his eye-catching displays (particularly amongst female supporters, apparently) during Rugby World Cup 1991.

2) What would happen, in the latter stages of the tournament, if extra-time was played but there was no Jonny Wilkinson-style drop-goal to decide the result? Well, at the end of the initial 20 minutes, a further 20 minutes of sudden-death extra-time would be played, with the first score - of any description - deciding the result. And if the scores were still level? A penalty shoot-out style kicking contest.

1) Some fairly preposterous names have played in the Rugby World Cup down the years, but surely none so secret (although it's really no surprise that he's tried to keep it quiet, surely...) as Lawrence Dallaglio's true moniker. Which is none other than - wait for it - Lorenzo Bruno Nero Dallaglio.

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