TO win or to entertain, that is the question. In an ideal sporting world, of course, it is preferable to do both - to be successful and stylish at the same time, just like Brazil in the 1970 World Cup, like Seve Ballesteros on his way to another Major championship or like John McEnroe on his way to another Grand Slam singles title. But those occasions, that touch of genius, are few and far between in modern-day sport, where the pressure is greater and the stakes are higher. All of which brings us round to the fierce debate on the state of English rugby, not so much the popularity of the game but the style being adopted by the national team in the Five Nations Championship. By the time this article is published, the result of the England-Wales match at Twickers will be known. And who knows, England may have run in four tries, two of them from within the Welsh 22 after being awarded penalties in front of the posts, to silence their critics and march off with the title? (And Bolivia might win the World Cup in the United States this summer). The Morning Post Sports Department has been no place for the faint-hearted in the build-up to the England-Wales match as the Pommies have been harangued from all sides, notably from Australia and Sri Lanka, the first group who are quite entitled to join in a discussion about sporting achievement, the second group who most certainly aren't, unless we're talking about the odd Hong Kong Sixes cricket match here and there or the occasional Hong Kong Sevens Bowl. ''What is the point of rugby?'' asked the Sri Lankan. ''To score tries,'' replied the Aussie, an answer which had the pair of them glowing in smug self-satisfaction. ''Hang on a minute,'' chipped in the Pom. ''I thought the object of rugby was to win.'' Sri Lankan (to Pom): ''So you would be happy to see England win by kicking six penalties and scoring no tries?'' Aussie (to Pom): ''And what about entertaining the fans?'' Pom: ''First and foremost, gentlemen, the English fans want to see England win. Of course I would prefer to see them run in five tries along the way, but this can't happen every game. If you want to be entertained, go to a circus.'' Aussie (to Pom): ''So you're saying England do not have a duty to play attractive rugby?'' Sri Lankan (to Pom): ''With an approach like that, the fans will stay away and the sport will die.'' Pom: ''Okay, so if England play unattractive rugby, you try buying a ticket for the Welsh match at Twickenham. And you ask England fans how they felt after they'd beaten France in Paris and after they'd beaten Scotland at Murrayfield during the last WorldCup. And why was the England rugby team voted Team of the Year for 1993 by the public in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards on the strength of their victory over the All Blacks?'' Aussie and Sri Lankan (in chorus, after a lengthy pause): ''Yeah, but they're still boring.'' And so another day's work was complete and the following conclusions drawn: If your team or your country is winning, you're happy; if they're losing, you're unhappy. Simple as that. For a neutral observer, like an Aussie or a Sri Lankan following the Five Nations Championship, it's easy to criticise and to point the way to a sporting Utopia. For any Englishman, their most cherished sporting moment is winning the 1966 World Cup at Wembley. At the time, however, Sir Alf's famous ''wingless wonders'' were known for their dull, sterile tactics, relying on the shooting power of Bobby Charlton to take them through the early rounds and then the poaching power of Geoff Hurst and a generous linesman to finish off the Germans. But who cares? It's in the book, it's in the heart of a nation. To win or to entertain, that was the question. I'd prefer both - but, forced to choose, I'd settle for the former. Then, for my entertainment, I'd go to the cinema or the theatre or the . . . The cold side of the racing industry YOU may have read in the sports pages last Tuesday about the unfortunate race horse Spiritual. During trackwork at Sha Tin the previous morning, the grey gelding careered wildly out of control, smashed through three panels of railing, ripped open a leg and had to be destroyed by the vet, Keith Watkins. (The jockey, James K. C. Chan, escaped injury, you'll be glad to hear). A few hours later, the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club's racing registry manager, Alfred Chow, sent a fax to the media pointing out four changes. There were two entries under the heading of ''stable change'' - Celestial Marshal from K. C. Lo to J. Moore and Gijima from D. Cruz to J. Moore - and two more under the euphemistic heading of ''horse retirement''. ''The following retirements are notified,'' stated the fax. The first entry, Accolade (I. W. Allan), had retired on March 12; the second ''retirement'' was our old friend Spiritual - and a rather enforced and permanent retirement at that, too. Not so much retired ''hurt'', like England cricketer David Gower, more like retired dead. You'd have thought that the Jockey Club would have had a more compassionate category than the cold and clinical ''retirement'' for the racehorses like Spiritual who come to grief in such distressing and tragic circumstances. And the dinner is . . . WITH the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan, not due to open until October 2, the organisers are already claiming an Asian record . . . in terms of the amount of food about to be devoured by the 7,000 athletes from 43 countries. Operating around the clock for a period of 32 days, starting on September 18 and finishing on October 19, the dining hall in the athletes' village will serve approximately 420,000 meals. Around 50 menu selections will be on offer at each meal and the menus are designed to provide each athlete with an average intake of 6,000 calories a day. Asian Games records will be broken in the following categories: Fruit (200 tons), vegetables (100 tons), meat (50 tons), rice (50 tons), fish and shellfish (20 tons) and eggs (350,000). It makes you wonder when the athletes are going to have any time to compete at any venue other than the dining hall. Sports Person of the Week: Teenage tennis player Jason Sankey, who became the first junior since 1977 to win the Hong Kong hardcourt under-18 title while he still qualified to play in the under-14 age group. Sports Quote of the Week: ''There is no Mercedes - the only prize will be the Cup. It is a matter of prestige for the players because they represent their country, then their team.'' - Dr Abdul Aziz, vice-president of Saudi Arabia's Al-Qadisiyah Football Club, before their Asian Cup Winners' Cup final against Hong Kong's South China.