From an English retrospective

There’s been thousands or words and hundreds of column inches already on the game last Sunday and I don’t want to add to the destruction of a rain forest – so here’s an online alternative take on what happened at the weekend at Twickenham.

It was a pretty good weekend for English rugby – the U20s, Women, England and of course the big one – Askeans staying top of Shepherd Neame Div 2.

My fantasy rugby team did well too – I had Huget, Sexton, Care, Halfpenny, Trimble and Lawes in my side and moved up over 2,000 places in the ranks. Mind you I’m still only just inside the top 5,000 so you can imagine how crap my selections were on previous weekends. Still – a lot better team than Philippe Saint- Andre and Scott Johnson have been managing – I can only think that they’ve started simply picking names out of a hat or resorted to throwing dice or darts.

It’s been a good 6 Nations so far – but probably only if you’re Irish or English.

The media hype has got out of proportion and Stephen Jones sought to restore some semblance of order in an articulate and perceptive article in the weekend’s Sunday Times.

He argued that, despite the attempts by the press, the advent of professionalism in rugby had eradicated the supposed hatred between players (especially Wales and England) and it was very much a historical phenomenon confined to the amateur days.

He stated that the supposed enmity based on years of imagined subjugation and envy has given way to a focussed approach on playing the game and on team development – and anyway the Welsh mostly earn more now as loads of them play in France.

He did sort of ignore Nowell’s xenophobic outburst in mid- week and Denton’s earlier claim that the peak of any Scottish players’ rugby career was to beat England (wow, that’s some ambition David).

Mostly though I agree with him.

What he didn’t do though was to think about all the blokes and blokess’s in the stands or, as in my case, on the sofa who are not professionals – well not rugby anyway.

For us one of the huge delights at any game is being able to ‘not love our neighbour’.

Part of the fun (well most of it really) is gaining bragging rights over all your ethnic mates from the rest of the British and Irish land bits.

During the game yesterday Harro and I were in constant contact by text, spouting forth irrationally on the state of the game, individual players and the ref. Incidentally, contrary to the Welsh scrum coaches, I thought Monsieur Poite had a spiffing game.

Right after the final whistle I was on Facebook and WhatsApp pretending that I’d never been in any doubt about the outcome (which was a bit of a fib). Messages flew back and forward in cyber space and I felt like the Bill Gates of Tractor Valley (I live in Gloucestershire where they think e-mail is some sort of hermaphrodite)

I would have used Snap Chat too – but the messages just seem to fuck off as soon as you’ve read them! That was sarcastic – I do actually understand the ‘parent resistant’ nature of the app – but not being able to see it for more than 10 seconds  makes me feel (and look) more Billy Bunter than Billy Gates.

Another thing I like to do after a game we’ve won is to look back at all the press and media from the run up to the game and see who said something they might now regret – I think its called schadenfreude – it means laughing at others misfortune – so , not surprisingly, it’s a German word (hence the stupid spelling).

My favourite stuff came from the Welsh camp – apparently their 12 Lions were going be a major physical and psychological advantage over the inexperienced English team. This Welsh belief held strong right up to the time they came out of the changing room before kick-off. A couple of hours later however, the Welsh coach indicated that they were all too tired for the match and that’s why they lost.

Blimey, so they got shagged out just before the game – must have been a seriously intense warm up he subjected them to!

I thought we won by playing better rugby but it  turns out they just needed a bit of a kip, otherwise they’d have presumably kicked the shit out of us – shows you just what I know.

I think we were pretty lucky as it happens – if Warren had noticed at half past two that his side were all looking a little peaky he might have picked some blokes who were not so drowsy and dog tired.

We should really be very very grateful to him.

Apparently they are hinting at making changes for the game against Scotland – heaven help the Jocks if Wales turn up with s few blokes who are not feeling too sleepy (or indeed Grumpy!) It might help a bit if Scotland’s answer to ‘tinker man’ can pick his best players and not piss about with a Ouija board for choosing who gets what shirt.

I’ll stick my neck out a tiny bit and say that Ireland will win the 6 Nations in Paris on Saturday – and that will be nice for BOD.

The Irish will pick up the trophy in the stadium where, but for the opening and final ten minutes of the game against France, England might have been in pursuit of a Grand Slam in Rome. But if my aunty had bollocks – she’d be my uncle as they say.

And as Philippe might add “C’est La Guerre” – although I have no idea what the French obsession with railways is!

Should be a fun final weekend.

 

 

About David Shute

Shutey’s obsession with all things rugby far exceeds his ability on the pitch during his playing days as his blog (www.rugbyoldbloke.wordpress.com) certainly testifies.
He lives in England and can be caustic about the progress of his team since his mate Clive resigned – this is reflected in his writing about the state of Northern Hemisphere rugby. You can follow Shutey on twitter but only if you seriously have nothing better to do.

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