Yesterday I watched both Premiership Rugby semi-finals, the first Saracens v Harlequins in the company of Derek Williams.
We are both fully paid up members of TV-watching as opposed to the stadium attending. We enjoyed the build up with some toasted panini and San Pellegrino Limonatas.
In fact the build up began in the week.
I felt this was a tad contrived like a boxers weigh-in.
Saracens were dubbed cheats for evading the salary cap, Harlequins – no strangers to scandal after Bloodgate- ‘toffs’.
Derek and I recalled some of the hard Quins forwards of recent years since the days of David “I just-wanted-him-to-know-he-was-a-cad” Marques; the Claxton Bros, Jason Leonard, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Marler are hardly posh.
Saracens deserved their 34-17 win.
Between the 20th and 60th minute Quins could not break down the resolute Saracens defence notwithstanding having at times two more players on the pitch. Where was Marcus Smith with a touch of magic?
Or a bulldozing run from Andre Esterhuizen?
Or those angled runs at the gain line by Alex Dombrandt? No Louis Lynagh – injured.
Time and time again Quins were repelled as Saracens tenaciously regrouped.
In the second semi, Northampton Saints more than held their own against Leicester Tigers in the first half but in the second – despite a heroic input from Courtney Lawes – the Tigers had too much tooth.
I was particularly impressed by George Ford.
He and Ben Youngs out-bossed Danny Care and Smith in the Harlequins fixture and both were on top form yesterday.
I do hope Ford’s career at Tigers ends next week with victory over Saracens.