I know as much about rugby union football as I do about crochet, so it was wise of me to listen to the World Cup final on the radio today and have the play described and explained to me.

If I’m so ignorant of the game, why did I care enough to tune in? For the same reason that the English people ignored barriers of class and region (union is largely played by southerners, especially ones from private schools), overcame differences between the sexes (there are many female rugby fans, but a significant proportion of them watch men playing rugby for the same reason male “tennis fans” watch Anna Kournikova do whatever it is she does), and disregarded official preference (our national sport is really the one with the spherical ball) to gather around their TVs early on a Saturday: that is, because they wanted to to witness the Aussies lose.

I caught the nearly unbearable climax of the game in the same pub I watched England’s association footballers fumble defeat from victory against those other serial winners/whingers Brazil. This time I got to dance around the place at full-time, though. Was it evil of me to take pleasure in the looks on the Wallabies faces at the end?

(Close observers of the English class system can marvel that the team didn’t just include unmistakeably non-white Token—I mean Jason—Robinson, but there was a guy called “Ben Cohen” in the squad, too! Next thing you know the Tory party will be led by a Jew.)