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Saturday TV sport

Rather like the modern type of restaurant that serves tables all morning, afternoon, evening and night – during which time service declines – the televised sport I watched yesterday got worse as it went on.

The best was indubitably Ireland’s first ever rugby union victory over the All Blacks upon New Zealand soil.

Rather than repeat the obvious, I  prefer to concentrate on two unsatisfactory aspects of an enthralling contest.

These were linked.

The first was that it took exactly an hour to play the first half of forty minutes.

The second – and the main cause for this  – was the extraordinary manoeuvre of the All Blacks to introduce Savia onto the field of play after Angus Ta’avaor the prop had been red-carded.

What would have happened if New Zealand or Ireland scored?

This was never explained:  indeed it was clear that commentator Connor McNamara – normally to be found at a Premiership soccer match – for Radio 5 had totally missed it, confused by the yellow cards and mass substitutions.

The ref was however “on it” and Savia was dismissed for it from the play. It’s not the first time the All Blacks have played fast and loose with rules.

I can recall a rehearsed ploy in which Andy Haden pretended to be fouled in a line out in order to gain a crucial penalty when they were losing to Wales.

Next up was England v The Wallabies.

No big controversy here as England’s heft won the day.  One thing I did note was that when England were awarded a penalty, Owen Farrell grabbed and held the ball – no opportunity for a Quins style kicking for touch and position by Marcus Smith.

In the afternoon I watched the Wimbledon Ladies Final between Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur.

Initially I was rooting for the Tunisian but the sporting sisterhood at the BBC had a field day triumphing her role model qualities in a Arab country more famous for terrorism than female equality.

Rybakina – from Kazakhstan – was castigated as a faux Russe who lives in Moscow and had slipped through the banning net.

In fact she acquired Kazakh nationality four years ago when many in the West were courting Putin.  So I switched and supported Rybakina.

A few years ago, in reporting the match, I might well have commented upon the difference in shape.

Rybakina is tall, flat-chested and willowy – Ons Jabeur, less graceful but sturdier, with the more delicate touch and variety of stroke play.

For a male to comment on comparative female shapes would invite and incite a media storm nowadays.

I can recall a comment I once made on the bosomy Ann Hayden Jones having difficulty with baseline retrieval, an observation I would not make now.

It took Rybakina longer to hit her stride but she was a worthy winner.

By the time came to watch Wales v South Africa I had reached saturation point but “hats off” to the men in red who won in the dying embers for the first time over South Africa in South Africa.





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About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts