Argentina's captain, Felipe Contepomi - one of the magicians

Like all rugby fans, my sleeping patterns have been badly disrupted by the Rugby World Cup fixtures, but all those very early mornings have been worthwhile. There have been a lot of thrilling matches, intriguing contests and some great, flowing rugby. This quarter-final weekend we were treated to some top drawer matches: Wales played out of their skin to send Ireland home; the French finally arrived and did enough in a thrilling first half display to put out a sluggish England (on Friday I wrote to a French fellow rugby fanatic that ‘If the French DO turn up on the day they should win. England look wooden.’); Australia somehow beat the rampant South Africans, the outgoing world champions and, whilst plucky Argentina couldn’t stop New Zealand’s progress, their braveheart defence was extraordinary. Next weekend we are promised two wonderful semi-finals. England, meanwhile, are on the plane home. Today’s newspaper coverage is violently critical of the team and of its trainer, calling for heads to roll. Nobody beats up the English quite like the English do.