'Macho men like schoolkids'

ENTANGLED: England's Paul Sackey is tacckled during his quarterfinal Rugby World Cup match against Australia in Marseille on Saturday. Pic. Regis Duvignau.  06/10/2007. © Reuters
ENTANGLED: England's Paul Sackey is tacckled during his quarterfinal Rugby World Cup match against Australia in Marseille on Saturday. Pic. Regis Duvignau. 06/10/2007. © Reuters

LONDON - British newspapers revelled yesterday in England's Rugby World Cup quarterfinal victory over Australia, saying the performance was a fitting full stop to a war of words which had erupted beforehand.

LONDON - British newspapers revelled yesterday in England's Rugby World Cup quarterfinal victory over Australia, saying the performance was a fitting full stop to a war of words which had erupted beforehand.

"The Australians like to think of themselves as macho men, but yesterday, England made them look like schoolkids," former England star Jeremy Guscott wrote in the Sunday Times.

"All the guff from John O'Neill, the Australian Rugby Union chief executive, backfired in the biggest way possible because it simply inspired not only this English team, but all Englishmen everywhere, to ram the words of hate down his throat."

O'Neill had claimed that everyone in Australia "hates" the English ahead of their 12-10 win on Saturday, while Australian legend David Campese also joined in the taunts.

Guscott added: "Tie me kangaroo down, sport? Yesterday the Aussies couldn't have tied down a pet hamster."

"Atomic Pom!" was the headline in the News of the World, which said the players had "rammed Aussie taunts down their throats to book a place in next Saturday's semifinal."

Many papers singled out Andrew Sheridan and Jonny Wilkinson, who is now the World Cup's record points scorer, for special praise.

The Observer's headline read: "Jonny kicks Aussies where it really hurts." "The world champions derided as the worst defenders of the Webb Ellis Cup anyone could recall put all they had on the line ... to advance to the semifinals of what might be the most unpredictable of all the six World Cups," the paper added.

The Sunday Telegraph singled out Wilkinson as "indispensable" and said the front row was "all-powerful" while the Sunday Times named Sheridan its man of the match and said the England pack had "humiliated" the Australia scrum. In his column, veteran player Mike Catt predicted more fireworks to come from the side many had written off.

"Win or lose in Paris England are now in France for the duration and after what happened in this match, anything is possible." - Sapa-AFP

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