Pope resigns over prospect of English Grand Slam

“Not on my shift”

The Vatican has revealed that the Pope’s shock resignation on Monday came after a long night of soul-searching following England’s victory over Ireland in Dublin at the weekend.

Sources close to the Pontiff reveal that Pope Benedict gave up watching the game after O’Gara’s penalty miss in the 70th minute, mumbled “well that’s it then”, and sloped off to his private quarters with a bottle of gin for company.

Cardinals agreed that they had never seen the Bishop of Rome so downcast, and spent that night in fervent prayer for the return of his sprightly Teutonic mirth.

Then on Monday came the dramatic announcement that His Holiness had had enough, and despite some suggestions that a bacon sarnie, a couple of Alka Seltzer and a brisk walk around the garden would set him back on the path to contentment, the 85 year old insisted that he no longer had the strength for what appeared from Sunday’s match to be very dark days ahead.

The Catholic church has long preached the doctrine that every time England win a game an Angel starts struggling for breath, coughs up a bit of black tar, then suddenly explodes leaving a steaming puddle of rotten ooze. Benedict had wasted no time following the surprise English win over New Zealand in warning the faithful where this kind of thing might lead; Grand slams, English dominated Lions tours, and (cross-yourself) a world cup on home turf.

“A storm is coming”, said the Pope, probably in Latin to reach the widest possible audience, “and frankly I’m off to some remote monastery where they don’t have Scrum V or Gwlad soiler threads and you can’t hear the Angels scream. The very thought that I might have to hear the post-grand slam thoughts of Austin Healy is the single most terrifying prospect of my life. And that’s coming from someone who met Hitler.”

Michalak “having a mare” is the new slogan for the growing horse meat market.

Freddy Michalak, the rugby equivalent of Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, is to spearhead the rearguard campaign to persuade the public that the horsemeat being illegally fed to them is actually proper lush.

The ‘enfant du merde’ of French rugby is to star in a new commercial to promote equine meat products. The advert begins as he walks down a typical French high street, and after only a few paces a small child approaches him and says “are you Freddy Michalak?”. The Toulon star smiles and pulls out a biro ready to sign an autograph only for the urchin to say “My gran’s better than you. And she’s dead”.  The kid treads on his foot before stealing his biro and running off.

A glum Michalak then encounters a really stunning French woman, like that Nicole off the Renault Clio adverts, who promises him some uncomplicated acts of lust back at her place if he carries her shopping. The hapless star is seen grinning feverishly as he accompanies the girl, carrying her bags, only to catch one of them on a passing bicycle spilling the fresh fruit and veg over the dirty pavement. “Thanks a ton, Jackass”, says the irate woman as she picks up the mess and shoos him away.

Michalak then walks carelessly into a lamppost, has a bucket of still-warm urine poured over him from a third storey apartment window and treads in a particularly funky dog turd in his new white trainers. Appearing to be on the verge of tears, International team mate Mathieu Bastareaud calls over to him, “hey buddy, pass me that ball”. Michalak delights in picking up a nearby rugby ball and flinging it to his chum.

“I’m not paying for that window, Fred,” says Bastereaud, “Christ almighty, I’m right here”.

Bastereaud puts his arm around his blubbing friend and leads him into a Burger bar. “Mate”, he says as Michalak holds a horse burger up to his mouth, “you’re having a mare”. The pair chortle before a large torrent of mayonnaise oozes from the burger into Freddy’s lap.

Reports suggest that any success in swaying public opinion on horsemeat may be short-lived as a fresh scandal emerges from Irish abattoirs, where tests reveal some horsemeat products contain traces of the Irish midgets in silk pyjamas that live on the horses’ backs.