Strange facts from World Championship Rugby Union

Now that its all kicked off in earnest in the land of the long white cloud, lets tickle our fancy and float our boats by looking at some of the strange facts and figures behind the Rugby World Cup.

Profit Margins

It is estimated that a staggering 1.15 billion dollars will be generated in total economic activity during the course of the New Zealand 2011 World Cup, with over a half a billion dollars being pumped back in the hosts' own economy. It has to be said, World Championship Rugby Union certainly know how to turn a profit.

Drop Goal Jonny

Loved and loathed in equal measure, there can be no doubt that England legend Jonny Wilkison has a kicking foot to be proud of. Did you know he's the only person in World Championship Rugby Union history to score points in two cup finals. Are you keeping your fingers crossed for good ole' Jonny to make it a third?

The All Blacks Conspiracy Theory

After losing in extra time to underdogs South Africa in the 1995 World Cup, New Zealand seemed to go a little bit crazy. They blamed their failure to lift the cup on a plot hatched by the "devious" South Africans to poison the entire "All Blacks" team. There's nothing like a little bit of grace in defeat is there lads?

Jumping Ship

No one loves a turncoat, but sometimes it really pays off. Take Tiaan Strauss for example. After captaining South Africa early on in his career he then went on to win a winner's medal for Australia at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. His country was very proud of Strauss, but no one could decide which one.

When America Held the Title

Before the inaugural World Cup was held in 1987, the United States were technically the reigning international champions. Why? Because they won the gold medal at the 1924 Olympics.

Poor Old France

Finally, spare a thought for the French. They've appeared in two World Cup finals and lost miserably on both occasions. When confronted with such statistics, what can you do but shrug your shoulders in a typical French fashion.

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