England – victory and defeat
Sir, – The English have not had much of a time of it in the columns of The Irish Times since the referendum to leave the European Union on June 23rd, 2016, supported in England and Wales, but not in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Now it is the turn of our rugby players to face the righteous indignation of your columns.
The surprising defeat of the All Blacks in the semi-final, the greatest victory in our rugby history, was too much for us. And now the unsurprising defeat by South Africa of which Warren Gatland warned has also been too much for us, although I had the good fortune only to watch the first half. It had been an all too familiar experience for us. But the final tame capitulation was unwelcome.
Spare a thought, however, for those of us who love both England and Ireland (not a great number, it would seem). We had to endure a thrashing by New Zealand. And now we have had to endure a thrashing by South Africa.
And sadly we have been unable to match the magnanimity of the All Blacks in defeat. Defeat is a stranger experience for them than it is for us.
We did not turn up in Japan. But we did turn up in Dublin on February 10th, 1973. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I cannot agree with your letter writers (November 5th) that some England players demonstrated unsporting behaviour in accepting their runner-up medals following the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa.
The relatively new protocol whereby the losers receive their medals followed by the victors, and finally the trophy presentation itself, merely prolongs the agony for the losing team.
The English players in their body language displayed no more nor less than the severe disappointment they must have felt having lost to a superior South African team on the day. – Yours, etc,