Real danger of an outbreak of positivity
It’s all Joe Schmidt’s fault: beat RoboLancaster’s England and there’ll be no stopping us
England’s Owen Farrell (centre) exchanges pleasantries with Peter O’Mahony (left) and Conor Murray of Ireland during last year’s Six Nations clash. This year’s encounter might offer up another Scrap Saturday or two. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Nigel Owens won’t be tagging along with Neil Francis when the former Ireland international reviews Matthew Bourne’s all-male Swan Lake production . Francis has agreed to review the ballet for Mooney on RTÉ Radio. Photograph: Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Expectations change so rapidly in sport, it’s hard to keep the head from getting dizzy. A couple of weeks ago Wales were the defining challenge of the season. If we lost that, we lost everything, a bad start for Joe Schmidt and a terrible end for our prized number 13.
The build up had the lot, begrudgery, hostility, revenge, not to mention the mainly British media-fuelled dose of Irish persecution, as we apparently projected all our life’s frustrations onto Brian O’Driscoll’s “public humiliation” (Sky Sports News) at the hands of that nasty Warren Gatland. Let’s set the record straight, we’ve got more going on in our lives to be bothered by that traitorous sour-pussed Welsh Kiwi.
Apart from Ireland clinically tearing Wales apart a few other things happened. Scott Williams when trying to poleaxe our infallible one, managed to poleaxe himself instead. Not one for the grandchildren that.
‘A little bit naughty’
And may I ask why in hell was Liam Williams not cited for nearly taking Paddy Jackson’s head off with his elbow? BBC’S Jonathan Davies thought it was worth a chuckle, describing it as “a little bit naughty”. Had Jackson rolled around like Luis Suarez, Williams would have rightly missed the rest of the tournament.
Wales did get some revenge s in the unlikely form of referee Nigel Owens, who knocked several shades of yellow out of Neil Francis for the latter’s comments about homosexuals and sport. My favourite Francis quote was, “I mean, If you’ve ever sat down with, you know, homosexual people, and asked them what their interests are, very often they have no interest in any kind of sport. That’s my experience from sitting down with them; I’ve done it on a regular basis.”
One assumes the “it” he refers to is sitting down with homosexuals, on “a regular basis”. Was he conducting a survey? Maybe in a bar? “Eh excuse me I was wondering are you gay by any chance? Just let me get my clip board here. Now, what are your main interests?”
The subsequent apology, presumably for the faulty wiring between brain and cake-hole, was welcomed by Owens at least.
There’s no truth in the rumour that as part of the apology Francis offered to take Nigel to the opening of the radical new production of Swan Lake when it opens in Dublin next week. Nigel has no interest in any kind of ballet. I’ve sat down and asked him on a regular basis.
As the sporty, or perhaps non-sporty, will attest to, the attention has firmly switched to Twickenham this week and nothing quite stirs the loins like this fixture. Little old Ireland taking on the might of big, fat England in their own back yard.