Rugby World Cup: Forget the Ball and Watch the Men

Brawny-thighed players arrive in France
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2007 1:39 PM CDT
Italy's Mauro Bergamasco (C) is tackled by France's Sebastian Cabal, nicknamed "The Caveman", in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – France has been gripped by rugbymania as fans descend for the 2007 World Cup, which begins today. Bakeries are offering pigskin-shaped loaves, and Galeries Lafayette offers fan specials as the violent sport becomes suddenly chic. But for the Telegraph's Janine di Giovanni, one of the most violent sports offers only one real delight: the men.

As men abandon their wives for rugby, she writes, the women fall for players instead. The French national team, which has posed naked for its "Gods of the Stadium" calendar, offers multiple options: tattooed Frederic Michalak, face of a condom brand, or her favorite, Sebastian Chabal, who comes complete with an army of female fans who call him "The Caveman."