A sheep
A psychic sheep is picking Rugby World Cup winners. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Last year, the curious story of Paul the octopus correctly predicting soccer matches in the World Cup became an international sensation. This year, the Rugby World Cup has a psychic sheep predicting match outcomes, and it is no small coincidence that the tournament is located in New Zealand.

A shear delight for sport fans

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, or the soccer world cup, a “psychic” octopus correctly predicting the winners of soccer matches became a media sensation. Paul the Octopus was a small cephalopod in a German aquarium that would pick a morsel from one of two different containers, each emblazoned with flags of opposing teams playing in a match. He was stunningly accurate, correctly predicting all FIFA World Cup matches he was “consulted” about. Paul died later that year, but he was a bachelor and did not leave behind a wife and squids. This year, the Rugby World Cup is in New Zealand and a “psychic sheep” named Sonny Wool is predicting World Cup matches, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sonny Wool’s hay day

Sonny Wool, according to The Telegraph, is a 3-year-old sheep who has also predicted rain in the past. Two plastic containers with hay are set on the lawn at the home of his owner, Danny Boyd, with the flags of the two nations playing in a match behind them. He picks one to eat from, thereby predicting the outcome. He picked New Zealand to beat Tonga in the first World Cup match. The New Zealand team, the All Blacks, defeated Tonga 41 to 10, according to The Guardian. New Zealand, long known for sheep farming, is home to more than 40 million sheep.

More farm phenomena

There is also a psychic calf in New Zealand named Richie McCow, after New Zealand captain Richie McCaw. The small black-and-white cow has a white patch on his forehead resembling the silver fern emblem on the New Zealand jersey.¬†McCow, according to the New Zealand Herald, picks matches by picking from one of two bottles of milk. Several current All Blacks players, during a small promotional tour, managed to meet the sage pre-adolescent bovine. Richie McCaw was not among them. Another cow in McCow’s herd has a mark resembling the number seven, which McCaw wears. Richie McCow also predicted New Zealand to beat Tonga.

What a croc

Other psychic animals have included guinea pigs, hogs and a crocodile, according to Wikipedia. The saltwater croc, nicknamed “Dirty Harry,” correctly predicted the Australian prime minister race last year, according to the BBC.

New Zealand vs. Tonga was the first match of the Rugby World Cup, with more to be played in the opening round this weekend in New Zealand. Many people are tipping the All Blacks to win, though they haven’t captured the trophy since the inaugural tournament in 1987.

Wool you take a look at this


Wikipedia on Paul the Octopus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_the_Octopus

Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/rugby-world-cup/meet-the-animal-oracles-of-the-rugby-world-cup-20110909-1k116.html

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8751559/Psychic-sheep-predicts-New-Zealand-rugby-victory.html

New Zealand Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10749131

The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/sep/09/new-zealand-tonga-rugby-world-cup-2011

BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11020897

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