CNN Domestic: YWT: "I am in rugby heaven."
MICHAEL HOLMES: After a weekend of upsets, the excitement building as we approach the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup. The matches are scheduled to get under way this weekend in Paris and that's where we find some time war correspondent but full time rugby lover Michael Ware.
Michael, we are going all around the United States at the moment, and we shall do our best to confuse them with talk of halfbacks, wings, hookers and the like, but this is true that this weekend, it's got to be up to the forwards, the prop forwards, the scrums, crucial stuff.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Michael. Worlds away from the horrors of the wars that now cross the globe and after six years of conflict, I can tell you personally, Michael, I am in rugby heaven. As a dyed-in-the wool rugby supporter and rugby fan, this world tournament is simply fantastic. And it's now boiled down to four teams vying to be crowned world champions.
We have the two semifinals this weekend in Paris, and I can tell you it's coming down to what's known as the forward packs. Essentially, in each team of 15, these are the eight largest, most brutish, aggressive guys on the field. And I have to admit I'm a member of the front row club myself. I played in the forward pack.
And I'm here to tell you that this weekend, you're going to see a truism of sporting rugby: the games are won and lost in the front row. You can have what's called the backs kicking their kicks and scoring their tries and pirouetting around their opposite numbers out wide, but the real games this weekend are going to come down to the brutish contest in the forward packs, whether these two sets of men can dominate the other, set the platform for the rest of their teams, is really going to define who wins and who loses this weekend.
I mean, I spent the morning mixing with some of South Africa's Springbok forwards and as they say, when you are in the forward pack you cannot have any respect for your body.
Indeed, the Australian coach referred to one of his players, now out of the tournament, as a man who knows no pain. And as the Springboks forward's coaches are saying, it's time that South Africans have to stand up to the Argentineans. In the big match against England versus France, we see two mammoth groups of men who are about to go head to head and try and demolish each other and this is going to define the weekend's world cup results, Michael.
HOLMES: Okay. They are telling us to wrap but I'm ignoring them. Quickly, Michael, tips?
WARE: Tips? Look, France really has momentum behind them, world cup hosts. England's got the sort of form on the board right now. It's hard to call. I'd hate to say it but maybe England just by a nudge. While we'd all love to see underdogs Argentina get up over the mammoth South Africans, you got to go for the Springboks, Michael.
HOLMES: Just before I go, I have to say, mate, you were a forward. They used to say that to get the best front row you line up the biggest, ugliest guys you can find against the wall and throw bricks at them and the ones who don't duck, there's your props. You've heard that one, I know.
WARE: That's exactly right, mate. That's why I've got a face for radio, mate, and not for television. I'm telling you, the front row is the brains trust. That's where it all happens.
HOLMES: That's what you say. Michael Ware, who didn't get that nose playing badminton. Actually played representative rugby for the state of Queensland at a very high level so he knows his stuff.
HALA GORANI: And he's endlessly entertaining.
While the rugby world cup competition is still under way we want to remind you, our viewers, of our special Web site.
HOLMES: That's right. The fan zone it's called, at CNN.com/rugby, you can find all the latest news about the tournament, profiles of your teams, submit your own dream team if you want from the rugby world cups past and present.
GORANI: Hey, if you are an American rugby fan, go ahead and e- mail us your views at cnn.com. Send us your pictures and videos showing how you are celebrating the tournament.
HOLMES: E-mail us and tell us if you understood anything Michael Ware said.