Portugal Goes Nuts About the Rugby World Cup

The Rolling Maul decided to spend a few days in Portugal before jetting into Paris for the start of the World Cup. Weather was here, wish you were beautiful and bought the T-shirt and all that. But really this was about research, assessing the mood in Lisbon and the level of buzz surrounding their team's first foray into the top flight of international Rugby.

Of course to say that Rugby in Portugal is foreign and a non-entity on the Portuguese sporting consciousness is like saying that Mateus is from Portugal. Of course they are. The Mateus brothers form the core of the Portuguese pack and are complimented by the three Uva cousins who dominate a speedy backline and heaving bench. And with another set of brothers in the Pintos there are already Rugby dynasties in this country to rival the Henjaks (Dad played League), Giteaus (Dad played League) and Dunnings (Props for Eastwood and Warringah) back home.

So with such a strong Rugby heritage in Portugal and with the Wallabies at training one afternoon, the Rolling Maul took a stroll around the training paddock in outer Lisbon and did a quick vox pop. Here are some of the responses (translated of course - and this time not by Google).

"Watch out for the dog shit."
"What is a Wallaby."
"Yes I've heard about Rugby. Funny, I'd heard the scrums are a joke but these aren't bad. They're even pushing."
"Wallabies? You mean like a little kangaroo? That's so cute."
"You mean I can be a slow fat bastard and play international sport too? Pass me another Sagres (local beer)."
"Andrew Johns is my favourite player. Just yesterday I gave him some pills for the sniffles. He was ecstatic."
"I've never heard about Rugby. I've been watching it for 10 minutes now. Can you explain the rules at the breakdown for me?"
"When will they finish? I've got soccer training in 10 minutes."
"I'm a Portugal Rugby fanatic. I run the fan webpage and average 2 hits a week. I told my mum to stop it but she's so proud. I call it the O Maul do Rolling."
"This is not a tough sport. These are not tough men. Last night in the pub the whole team left to go to bed and the sun hadn't even come up yet."
"The All Blacks will choke in the semi-final"