Tue, Nov 25, 2003 - Page 20 News List

`Pommy bastards' given their due by newspapers

REUTERS , SYDNEY

Clive Woodward, left, holds the Webb Ellis Cup at Sydney Airport yesterday. Woodward is followed by Martin Johnson, center, and Jonny Wilkinson.

PHOTO: AP

Australia finally gave England full credit yesterday for their rugby union World Cup triumph -- with a carefully chosen qualifier or two.

Australia's media spent much of the tournament labelling England slow, boring and unable to score tries, with flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson their only threat.

But yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald conceded, under the banner headline "Hear ye, hear ye," that the criticism had not been based too closely on facts.

It said that after "magnificent" England's 20-17 win over Australia on Saturday "we would like to admit the following: You were not too old (although we hoped you would be when the game went to extra time).

"You were not too slow. You scored as many tries as we did. You kicked no more penalty goals than we did. You ran the ball as much as we did. You entertained as much as we did.

But the Herald did remind England that it was the first time they had won the tournament -- Australia won in 1991 and 1999 -- while it could also not resist bringing England's cricket and rugby league teams into the equation.

Australia have won the last two cricket World Cups and have crushed England in eight successive cricket Ashes series, while they have also just celebrated a 3-0 series whitewash in England at rugby league.

The Herald concluded with praise for its own team's efforts on Saturday and "the magnanimous manner in which they and our fans accepted defeat at the hands of you Pommy bastards (sorry, that one slipped through the editing process)."

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