At least we'll have nothing riding on The Escalater in Rome


However dismayed, frustrated or peculiar we may feel about the outcome last weekend in Scotland, it’s the man at the helm, the head coach, who plans, picks and prepares the team who takes the rap for all our nation’s ills. This week anyway. But, just imagine who was on his missed call list on Monday morning . . .

“Declan, it’s Eddie O’Sullivan here, it’s been a while, but I just thought I’d let you know you have my full support after the disaster on Sunday. I’ve been on the receiving end a couple of times, well obviously not as bad as THAT, but . . . actually I don’t think I’ve ever had as bad a result as that, come to think of it, but you know, you can’t make an omelette in a cheese-grater.

“What I mean by that is you can’t make a toasted sandwich in a trouser-press, you know? But if I was in your shoes, (and maybe I should be) I’d just batten down the hatches, stand back and let the man see the rabbit, ’cause otherwise you won’t be able to see the woods from the trees.”

DK: “Holy God, what’s he on?”

Skips to next message.

“Diccie, it’s your buddy Mattie Williams here, mayte. I mean I know we’ve barely mit, but you’re still one of moy bist maytes, mayte.

“Look, I knouuw hauw difficult it mast be for ya at the mowment, but Diccie, mayte, buddy, let me tell you this, mayte: when I took auver as Scottish cauch in 2003, I instilled an ithic of discipline in defince that I belieuve contributed to them beating you last Sunday, mayte.

“Look, I daun’t wanna blow moy aun trumpet here, mayte, but since then Diccie, it is widely acknowledged I am one of the most respected coaches in . . . well if not the world, certainly Scotland. My point is, mayte, that even in the darkest tunnels there is light at the end of the eh . . . tunnel.”

DK: “Jesus how did he get my number?!”

Depressing match

Things were bad enough in Murrayfield at the end of the most depressing match involving Ireland, possibly since the loss to Argentina in the ’07 World Cup, or hang on, maybe the 60-0 in Hamilton was worse, although the defeat to England last year was a bit of a shambles, no wait, Wales in the 2011 World Cup took the biscuit . . . hmm, there have been a few come to think of it, but when, in his post-match summation Jamie Heaslip nuttered (that’s not a typo) the immortal words “Ireland are in a good place” well, I might have chuckled, if I’d been able to pick myself up off the floor.

The general post-match reaction makes our economic “situation” feel like a mild slump, though possibly easier to fix.

For sure, Ireland missed blatant opportunities to score tries, but you deserve the worst if you take the needless risk of going into a Test match with an unproven outhalf, with predictable place-kicking frailties, especially grating when you know a number of viable alternatives sat at home watching it on the box.

As expected, the level of vitriol aimed at Kidney by the online brigade has been a tad disproportionate. He is not a member of al-Qaeda or the Anglo Five, as far as I’m aware. He might have taken the captaincy from the “chosen one” and given it to Jamie “Buzzin Man” Heaslip, but that’s not a criminal offence . . . yet.

Yet again it was a shocking weekend for refereeing. I’m not going to pretend I understand exactly what the heck goes on at the breakdown, but I’ll be darned if Roman Poite, Craig Joubert or Wayne (give me strength) Barnes are more enlightened.

Could it be that Barnes, with his irritating, prancing, preening, patronising, school-prefect-smugness and silly bouncy-up-and-down-walk is not an ideal referee? Or is it just he seems to consistently make a lot of incorrect, rash decisions that generally ruin almost every game in which he’s involved?

Ridiculous yellow card

It’s a tough one admittedly, but having brandished another ridiculous yellow card to Ryan Grant for failing to retreat 10 metres, he then didn’t issue a blatant yellow to Rob Harley for tackling Peter O’Mahony in the air.

However, it wasn’t just his actions that puzzled, he managed to bamboozle players with words too, gesticulating left, right and centre and marching (like Julian from the Famous Five) up to Kelly Brown and warning him “If the indiscipline continues I may have to escalate”.

You could see Brown with his large blood-stained hooter (it’s okay to play on while a river of claret gushes from an orifice now, apparently) trotting confusedly away, probably wondering whether he should feel chastised or flattered. “Escalate? What the f***’s he talking abute?”

We’ll have to endure another instalment of “Escalater” when he takes charge of Italy-Ireland in Rome on St Patrick’s weekend. The luck of the Irish, eh? Lucky there’s nothing riding on it.

As for France? Let’s hope against Ireland, Philippe Saint- Andre continues the policy of taking off all his best players and replacing them with all his worst players.

Referee Joubert and he make a terrific combination for any opposition. And we thought Lievremont was for the fairies? At least he got them to within a whisker of winning the World Cup.

But it’s not Joubert, it’s Steve “How does my hair look?” Walsh who will be in the middle at the Aviva. If it rains, Irish-style, his Just for Men rinse may well run on to his moisturiser. Now that’d be worth seeing.

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