Why were the crowd still eating chips when the chips were down for Ireland?
I couldn’t believe it. Why would you bother making the effort to go to the stadium if all you were going to do was stand there and watch it on TV?
Ireland were 6-0 down but they were starting to come back. They had won that first scrum penalty and were starting to build a bit of momentum. I found it a totally unreal situation that the game was going on just through the gangway to their right and yet people were in no rush to get back to their seats. Instead they were just chatting away, not a bother on them.
I actually got pretty angry about it. You go to a sporting occasion because of what’s happening on the pitch. In a game like this one, where the tide was against Ireland but they were coming back into it how can you just be casually sipping at a drink or picking away at a bag of chips? Why not bring them to your seat? At least then when something happens, you can be a part of it.
If you go to a game, you have to try and get behind your team. It can’t just be entertainment or a social occasion – those things have to be secondary, especially on a day when the whole Six Nations could possibly be up for grabs. That was the case on Sunday but it never really felt like it.
I’d love to say it was all down to the weather or the timing or the players but anybody who was in that stadium on Sunday knows there was more to it. They know in their heart and soul that the crowd just didn’t play its part.
You can’t blame the players for not being in your seat as the team walks out and being 6-0 down while playing poorly is no excuse for waiting 10 minutes after half-time to rejoin the action.
On a wet day, players are going to make handling errors. Ireland made enough to last them a lifetime on Sunday and England made hardly any.
I thought those two scrums at the start of the second half looked like being a turning point but it just never happened because England were so good at keeping Ireland pushed back and under wraps. We’re very quick to criticise the Irish team and I don’t think England have got enough credit for the way they played on Sunday. They shut Ireland down from start to finish.
But as good as they were, I’d say they were pleasantly surprised by how easy they found it to silence the crowd. This wasn’t a win they had to dig out in a hostile atmosphere.
Given the circumstances and what was at stake, that’s a sad indictment of the home crowd.