Don’t expect any more McCaw gifts

At 155kg, or 24 stone 5lbs,  France's prop Uini Atonio is the biggest man to play in a test match. Australian prop James Slipper became well aware of this when flattened at Stade de France. Picture: Lionel Bonaventure

The Scots went to some trouble to make Richie McCaw feel at home at Murrayfield, unearthing evidence placing his ancestors from the same county as Robbie Burns, Bill Shankly and Robert the Bruce.

After years of uncertainty as to where the All Black captain’s great, great, great- grandfather came from, researchers in Glasgow came up with the definitive answer — the little seaside town of Girvan on the Ayrshire coast.

The genealogical dig around the roots of the McCaw family tree, carried out by the family history centre at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library, found that Alexander McCaw, born in Girvan on New Year’s Day 1808, emigrated to New Zealand 69 years later.

Visit Scotland, the country’s national tourist organisation, presented McCaw with their findings who responded to their reverential acclaim with an uncharacteristic presentation of his all — the pass for the Scots’ only try as given to Tommy Seymour.

The theory that McCaw may suddenly have found himself awash with emotion is about as likely as a photograph of Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson shaking hands as opposed to shaking throats.

Despite the Seymour gift, McCaw lived to tell the tale, as he usually does. In 99 Tests under his captaincy, the All Blacks have won 87, drawn two and lost 10.

There is nothing to suggest that the result of the 100th will be anything other than another win.

Ireland take most advantage of binnings

Five yellow cards over the weekend cost the offending teams an average of 10 points per card. Ireland took most advantage of two Georgian binnings, making the advantage count to the tune of 26. England hit the Springboks with 14 while Victor Matfield, pictured, served time. So how much does a red card cost? Absolutely nothing in Fiji’s case at Cardiff despite Campese Ma’afu’s double yellow leaving the South Sea Islanders to negotiate the final half hour without their loosehead. Not only did they survive, they scored the only points of the last 30 minutes, Nemandi Nadolo converting his own try. What a grim indictment of Wales. Pitiful is perhaps too kind a word for their non-performance.

Uncle Joe no fan of the oval ball

Rumours spread around Moscow yesterday of a strange whirring sound from the grave alongside the Kremlin of Iosif Dzhugashvili, better known as Joseph Stalin.

If true, the spinning corpse had less to do with the result from Dublin than the ruthless old Soviet dictator’s decision to give rugby the gulag treatment. Had Stalin still been around, his Georgian compatriots would never have been allowed to spend a Sunday in the west indulging in what he condemned as a “capitalist sport”.

He gave all rugby the boot in 1949, outlawing the sport until his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, rescinded the decision in 1957 as part of his de-Stalinization policy four years after the tyrant’s death.

France playing the weighting game with steamroller Atonio

No sooner had a three-quarter of even larger dimension than Jonah Lomu signed off in Cardiff with a converted try than another Goliath made a shuddering entry in Paris. Uini Atonio, the newly-capped France tighthead, is so colossal that he makes the 20-stone Fijian centre Nemandi Nadolo look as though he could do with a square meal. At 155kg or 24 stone 5lbs in pre-metric parlance, the elephantine New Zealander of Samoan ancestry is the biggest man ever to set foot in the Test arena — a giant among giants easily outweighing the Wallaby lock Will Skelton, a seriously big unit at 22 stone.

Eligible via the three-year residential rule, Atonio captains La Rochelle in the Top 14. And he’s going to be sticking around judging by the impact his second half arrival had.

Best XV of the weekend

Best match: France 29, Australia 26

Worst match: Wales 17, Fiji 13

Best try: Teddy Thomas’ defiance of gravity against the Wallabies. Wondrous.

Best XV?

15 Willie le Roux (South Africa)

14 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Australia)

13 Vereniki Goneva (Fiji)

12 Jean de Villiers (South Africa)

11 Teddy Thomas (France)

10 Camille Lopez (France)

9 Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

1 Dave Kilcoyne (Ireland)

2 Richardt Strauss (Ireland)

3 David Wilson (England)

4 Dave Foley (Ireland)

5 Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand)

6 Thierry Dusautoir (France)

7 Schalk Burger (South Africa)

8 Duane Vermeulen (South Africa).


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