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MATTHEW NORMAN'S COLUMN: A typically English kind of curse.

Byline: MATTHEW NORMAN

FOLLOWING that electrifying 32-31 win over Australia at Twickenham on Saturday, there's a strong temptation for the English suddenly to become interested in Rugby Union.

With several heavy defeats to come in the Ashes, it's natural to want to jump aboard any bandwagon that offers hope of beating the Aussies at anything, and especially with the rugby World Cup approaching. The one drawback to becoming Rugby Union fans, however, is the problem of comprehending the rules.

During many years of study, I have tried to work out why penalties are awarded or not awarded, but I'm no closer to cracking it.

I've seen referees blow the whistle because they didn't like a prop forward's sideburns, and referees wave play on after a hooker took a scythe out of his jockstrap and lopped the ear off a fly-half.

Apart from the most clear-cut breakaway try, nothing makes any sense, and it seems a typically English kind of curse that we should have arguably the best team on the planet in the one sport none of us can begin to comprehend.

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PENALTIES: Wilko on target
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 19, 2002
Words:188
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