Cunning IRB Conspire North vs South Showdown

It's impossible to believe that the Wallabies could have played as badly as they did in the loss to Ireland unless there were some external mitigating circumstances.

Such circumstances do not include the size of Quade Cooper's head preventing him from exiting the team bus without lubrication (affecting his judgement during the game), James O'Connor setting his alarm for 12 hours early just to make sure (so he was tired on the field), or Kurtley Beale chip kicking the chips that came with his fish the night before (fumbling the chips, burning his fingers and losing confidence).

No, clearly the IRB with ARU collusion are up to something and the most likely scenario is that they are setting up a classic north-south rivalry (all the Southern Hemisphere nations on one-half of the QF draw and the Europeans on the other). So successful could this be that the North-South championship may become an annual event, future World Cup pools will be geographically based, and what you're witnessing is just a trial run to judge its popularity.

And the frightening thing is that almost sounds like a sensible idea - you heard it here first!

But whichever way you look at it, it's just another cynical marketing ploy like black jerseys, choirs singing anthems (get your DVD now) and no matches live on free-to-air, each designed to funnel more money into IRB Swiss bank accounts and drive up the value of the broadcasting rights.

By extension, the 'honourable', 'gutsy' and 'gritty' showing by the so-called minnows is just the big fish playing dead for a while, keeping eye balls on the television, driving up ratings, and generating column inches. It's no coincidence that after 60 minutes with the scoreboard at almost parity the minnows roll over and the big boys rack up their fourth try as the full-time siren blows and they secure the bonus point.

Forget pool games, so-called upsets and the drama around team selections. The World Cup doesn't really start until the quarter-finals when there really is something to play for. Only then will we see the real Wallabies.