Well the rugby world was turned on it’s head yesterday as the Northern Hemisphere teams showed that the supposed dominance of the Southern Hemisphere was once again little more than hot air.

England’s turn-around from hopeless losers some five months ago – to World Cup semi-finalists can’t be explained in simple terms, nor can France’s miracluous neutralising of the mighty All Blacks. However, if you ask me there was one key edge that both England and France were able to draw upon that completely threw the opposition: beards.

That’s right, more precisely – beards on the bench. George Chuter and Sebastien Chabal both came on to replace clean shaven comrades in the second half, and the sight of facial hair on the pitch clearly threw the Aussies and Kiwis into disarray.

“Strewth! That cobber’s not scrubbed up for the ocassion. I’m not tackling him – I might get beard-burn!”

The question now is – who will win the semi. With one beard apiece it’s maybe too close to call. Somehow I think it just might be France who edge this one – if only by the beard of Sebastien Chabal.