The Six Nations
Unusually for me I was fervent for an English victory which might have happened yesterday in Dublin had there been parity on the pitch.
Why, as I am a keen admirer of Irish rugby?
Gone are the amateurish troubadours of the past like Moss Keane as nowadays the structure of the four provinces – with Leinster paramount – feeding into the national side replicates the All Blacks structure and they go about their business of winning in a professional, nay ruthless, way.
No, my beef was with the pre-match comment of winger Mack Hansen, an Aussie with a mother from Cork (typifying the “flag of convenience” convention) that “Everyone hates England.”
If he had any knowledge of Irish rugby he would have known that 50 years ago Ireland begged England to come over when Wales and Scotland were too frightened to do so.
This led to England’s skipper John Pullin’s now famous comment at the post-match banquet “We may not be very good, but at least we turn up”.
England got their second ovation of the day. The IRFU did not share Hansen’s measly xenophobia as Pullin’s family were guests of honour.
England started with a vigour indicating they wanted to put the horrendous French defeat behind them.
The senior players like Owen Farrell , Maro Itoje and Tuilagi all played much better but Harry Arundell on the wing was miscast.
The crucial moment was the red carding of Freddie Steward.
He was unfortunate with his body positioning but deserved to go as the injury he inflicted on Keenan was serious.
Despite playing valiantly you can’t beat Ireland with only 14 men on the pitch.
I also watched the earlier defeat by Scotland of Italy.
Whilst Italy are to be admired for attacking from all areas they simply are not ruthless enough in the opponents’ box.
France easily overcame Wales.