We are three games in to the world cup and it’s time to catch up with our special correspondent – the beard of Josh Strauss (note: for legal and financial reasons we were unable to attain the services of Josh Strauss himself, we could only afford his beard).
BDR: Josh’s beard, there have been a few close games and one or two upsets. Who has impressed you?
The Beard: Of course – everyone’s favourite at this stage is the All Blacks. How they will bottle yet another World Cup from here remains a mystery to even me. The Wallabies in the semis? The Boks? The French again in the final would be a very funny if unoriginal way of choking this one though. There are so many options available to Henry to once again let down his entire nation.
Ireland are looking to be the surprise package for me. I’m thinking it may very well be a good thing that South Africa will get to avoid them in the quarterfinals. Taking on Australia is not as daunting as it looked four weeks ago. I’ve spoken to Dick Muir and the Boks are taking plenty of precautions in their preparation for the Wallaby Match. It looks as though Robbie Deans will keep faith in his selection of Quade Cooper, so all the Bok players have been issued cable locks to prevent their laptops from being stolen.
BDR: Any heartbreakers for you?
The Beard: Scotland. What were they thinking? I’ve seen Braveheart a few times, I know that the world is a cold cruel place but Dan Parks… eesshhh… How could his team shaft him like that? They set him up to fail by transferring all the pressure onto him for that final drop goal attempt. A shovelled pass with no protection from the loosies. I was just gutted to see Scotland through that game away.
BDR: Any minnows that you have taken a shining to?
The Beard: For me the USA have been plucky in all their outings thus far. Having the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, I mean Todd Cleaver, as their captain has allowed them a certain insight into southern hemisphere rugby they’ve lacked in the past. They have show steady improvement over the last few tournaments.
BDR: And the Boks chances?
The Beard: Hmmm…. (a strand of hair reaches into the beard and thoughtfully and disturbingly strokes the beard). I’m not optimistic. We looked good in patches against Fiji. But that’s Fiji, we have a tough road to the trophy and it will require consistently playing to the best of our ability. Consistency has not been a feature of this current Bok squad and that’s going to bite us. The replacements for our injuries have done well and have made a strong case for keeping the original players out of the starting line up. But I just don’t think we are consistently playing at the level required to win World Cups. That being said, I must give credit to the coaches – De Villiers’ management of Bismark has been pure genius.
BDR: Really? He has come in for a lot of stick for selecting Smit ahead of him. Why do you say that?
The Beard: Don’t you see…? It is part of the master strategy. By selecting Smit ahead of Bismark they’re just making Bismark really, really, really angry. And you wouldn’t want to see him when he’s really, really, really angry…