World Cup rugby

What a weekend! One of the pleasures of retirement is that if a substantial distraction comes along you can just drop everything and indulge. So this weekend I watched all four rugby quarter-finals, one after the other. There've been years when that would leave me feeling sated, occasionally sickened by the waste of useful hours, but not this time. Four gripping, very different games, all worth watching. and, for  once, decent weather, good conditions, nothing really nasty. A real joy to watch.

The message for us Europeans, that we are second rate and don't feature in the top four of world rugby, is salutary but entirely fair. There's an exciting clarity about the Aussies or the all blacks, when they sniff an opening and turn it into a try, with all the inevitability of an irresistible series of moves in chess, except that it's done with bodies on a pitch, and at speed. Scarey, but wonderful to watch.