The World Cup is over and had more than it's fair share of comical and embarrassing moments. We, at Rugby Rugby, bring you our Wacky World Cup Awards for 2011.
Nobody is safe from our watchful gaze as we pick out our favourite moments from the tournament that made us cringe, giggle or simply shake our heads and mutter something crude quietly.
Never shy of a laugh, we're happy to poke fun at players and officials who got it wrong while the spotlight was on them.
Alright then, our amusing World Cup brickbats and bouquets go to:
The Spanner in the Works Award: Ireland
It was the Irish who came completely out of left field to turn the World Cup on its head. Having lost four warm-up matches in a row before the tournament, losing their openside flank David Wallace and dropping star scrumhalf Tomas O'Leary, nobody gave them a chance at the RWC. Then, they went and defied the odds and beat Australia in their crucial Pool C clash... thus causing one side of the competition to be full of southern hemisphere sides and the other clogged up with northern hemisphere teams.
The Full Monty Award - Part One: Sonny Bill Williams
The much talked about All Blacks back's biggest contribution to the World Cup was in the first match where the team doctor had to help him try and squeeze into a new jersey. Champion or show pony? You decide...
The Full Monty Award - Part Two: Jonny Wilkinson
The England flyhalf got more than he bargained for when a fan ran over and introduced himself wearing only an Argentina flag on his face.
The Julius Malema Equality Award: Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu
The Samoan centre launched into several tweets about racism and the like, but unlike Malema he uses Twitter as a platform and doesn't want it banned - You bloody agent!
The Sebastien Chabal Caveman Award: Adam Kleeberger
The Canadian flank took over from the big Frenchman as the face (or partially visible face) or the tournament becoming a folk hero for his brave tackling and giant beard. He has since shaved it off for charity.
The Mike Atherton Ball Tampering Award: England
The English were so paranoid after golden boy Jonny Wilkinson missed five of his eight kicks against Argentina that in the following match they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. England coaches Dave Alred and Paul Stridgeon were banned - by their own management team - after switching balls before a kick at goal against Romania. (Even for a kick in front of the posts!)
Michael Phelps Swimming Award: Manu Tuilagi
Having already been in trouble for wearing a gum guard with the wrong branding on it (naught, naughty - especially after his older brother had been bust!), the young England centre made matters worse when he jumped off a ferry in Auckland harbour before it had docked. He was fined for both... tsk, tsk.
The Human Cannonball Award: Tatafu Polota-Nou
The Wallaby hooker executed the best gridiron tackle of the tournament on Wales's Shane Williams. Polota-Nou dived head first into the Welsh wing's legs, causing him to do a complete somersault. How he got up from that we'll never know.
The Most Unlikely Wing Award: Radike Samo
Australia's injury woes were compounded when big Radike Samo was forced out onto the wing for the Wallabies' game against Russia. That, ladies and gents, at the 'tender' age of 35 - having (before his Wallaby recall earlier this year) missed seven years of Test rugby!
The Mile High Club Award: Jamie Claasen
rugby365.com reader Jamie Claasen sent us the following mail "Sitting at 8000m on a flight over the US. It's been a pleasure following the game with you guys." Now that's commitment.
Hello Junior Award: Craig Joubert
The 33-year-old South African referee Craig Joubert took charge of two All Blacks matches, where he kept an eye on 36-year-old Brad Thorn. Now no bad behaviour Bradley...
The Van Wilder Party Liaison Award: Cory Jane
Less than 72 hours before the quarterfinal with Argentina, All Blacks wing Cory Jane was the ringleader in booze binge in Auckland. To add insult to injury he lit a cigarette in the bar - breaking the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 banning smoking in pubs. Luckily when the police arrived for a routine check bar staff allegedly "hid" Jane and injured teammate Israel Dagg in the bar's kitchen.
The SuperBru Epic Fail Award: rugby365.com
We put our hands up here... as one unidentified rugby365 writer predicted Australia to beat Ireland by 20 points in his preview of their Pool C game. Ireland won by nine points - a result which ended up changing the entire World Cup... oops!
Most Audacious Try of the Tournament Award: Heinrich Brüssow
Brüssow wins the award even though Frans Steyn was the actual try-scorer against Fiji. The openside flank had the guts to attempt a cheeky chip kick, that magically sat up for Steyn to gather and score a fantastic try. Hats off to the man of many talents - despite getting fined by his own teammates for it afterwards at the Bok kontiki.
The P. Divvy Foot-in-Mouth Award - Part One: Marc Lievremont
While SA's coach was relatively quiet at the World Cup, Lievremont's feet rarely left his mouth - except when changing feet. After his team's first match against Japan he laid into several players for their poor showing, singling out No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy, whom he called "lackadaisical" in the match. However, his best rant came after the semifinal victory over Wales when he learnt the players had gone out partying, despite being given strict instructions not to do so. "I told them what I thought of them, that they were spoilt brats, selfish, disobedient and that for four years they have been on my case," he w(h)ined. (See what we did there?)
The P. Divvy Foot-in-Mouth Award - Part Two:
This goes to Kiwi commentator Ian Smith for confusing French captain - and World Cup Final Man of the Match - Thierry Dusautoir with footballer Thierry Henry by accident. The expression on Dusautoir's face is priceless in the clip below...
AND THE REST OF OUR RWC FUNNIES...
Did somebody kick a black cat in New Zealand?
The All Blacks flyhalves fell like flies during the World Cup, as Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Aaron Cruden all fell by the wayside leaving the most unlikely hero - Stephen Donald - to land the winning penalty in the RWC Final for the Men in Black.
The Return of the Twitter King: Cory Jane
Hi, My name is Cory and I'm addicted to... Almost moments after the players went back into the change room to celebrate, Jane was able to tumble off the wagon and into the Twitterverse having been forced to go cold turkey for so long.
Kiss-cam Moment of the World Cup: Steve Thompson
The burly England forward took mind games to a whole new level when he gave Argentina's Mario Ledesma a kiss on the head. Now we know why he plays at hooker...
Pick on someone your own size: Alexander Yanyushkin
The Russian scrumhalf caught the attention of the public standing at just 1.65m (5ft 5) and weighing 75kgs. However, he defied the odds by scoring Russia's first ever try at a World Cup and took over the captaincy during the final match and could be seen barking orders at his locks who towered over him.
And on the other side of the equation...
Luke Charteris (from Wales) dwarfed most of his opponents by some distance - playing some brilliant rugby and standing at a massive 2.06m (6ft 9) in his socks!
The RWC Oscar goes to: Vincent Clerc
The French winger scored some memorable tries, but was a little bit too theatrical when he hurled himself over the boardings against Canada after being pushed into touch. A TV dive to remember - well they do play football in France don't they?
A royal pardon: Mike Tindall
England vice-captain Mike Tindall may still have to face the music for his antics in New Zealand, with allegations that he was kissing and groping a local at a bar while a dwarf-tossing competition was going on! This from the man who recently married Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. (Dwarf-tossing?! We won't even go there!)
Frequent flyer miles... for free: Thomas Waldrom and Zane Kirchner
Thanks for coming lads - 'English' No.8 Waldrom and South Africa's Kirchner flew all the way out to New Zealand as injury replacements and didn't even make it onto the bench for their teams. At least New Zealand's Hosea Gear just had to travel to Auckland and was given a World Cup winners medal for his troubles.
My granny could've kicked that: Chris Paterson
The Scottish fullback is one of the best goalkickers in Test-match history with 809 points - made up of 170 penalties and 90 conversions. He has a record for successful attempts at posts, where he kicked 36 goals in a row from Scotland without missing. However, even the mighty can fail... as he fluffed an absolute sitter (a conversion attempt) in front of the posts against Romania that didn't even get airborne.
The best dummy sold: Heinz Koll
The Namibian lock had the nerve to throw a dummie and score a try, not once but twice (against Fiji and Wales) fooling backline defenders to the delight of forwards everywhere. Incidentally with those two tries he becomes Namibia's leading try scorer at world Cups with, erm, two.
Like father like son: Iulian Dumitras (Romania) and Naipolioni Nalaga (Fiji)
Romanian fullback Dumitras' father played in the 1987 and 1991 World Cups, while Fijian wig Nalaga's father played in the 1987 World Cup where he scored a try. In this tournament Nalaga scored a try against Namibia.
Not enough gas in the tank: Scotland
Scotland won all of their World Cup matches - well almost at least. The Scots went down 12-13 to Argentina after the Pumas scored a try with eight minutes left on the clock, and then suffered further heartbreak, losing 12-16 to England thanks to a Chris Ashton try two minutes from the end. This was the first time Scotland hadn't managed to reach the quarterfinals at a World Cup.
Best catch and pass of the World Cup:
French referee Romain Poite collected a pass from Wales's Leigh Halfpenny with an open tryline in the third/fourth place play-off between the Welsh and the Wallabies. As the commentator said: "He just needed to keep on running' and he would have scored!" Too right, mate!
By Timmy Hancox
* Did Tim miss anything? Let us know if you have any off-beat RWC Awards!
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