The 2011 Rugby World Cup is taking place at the moment in New Zealand.

This World Cup includes nations such as France, Italy, England and Argentina, all past winners of the FIFA World Cup while USA, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Scotland, Romania, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Japan and Russia have been regular participants in the FIFA World Cup Finals over the years.

It is the other participants who are interesting – Fiji, Tonga, Canada, Samoa and Namibia – none of them recognised as giants of sporting excellence – but they have qualified for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Such a wide representation is good for sport, unlike the World Series in Baseball which is only for American teams, with a couple of Canadian teams added on.

My comments however are more about the approach of the teams to the tournament.

The English players after their narrow victory against Argentina were allegedly allowed to have a drinking session in a bar. This was followed by a number of players taking part in a bungee jump and white water rafting session.

There has been some criticism in the English press of the management allowing its players to take part in such high risk pursuits – and I believe the criticism is totally justified.

Professional athletes must avoid such situations.

Can you imagine Ronaldo, Rooney and Messi taking part in drinking sessions, bungee jumps and white water rafting during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa?

Never in a million years!

Rugby may have recently entered the professional era, but it has a lot to learn from football about being professional in its preparation.

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