TV View: No need to feel sorry for England, but if it was any other team
Like a dog with a bone, Roy Keane never lets a grudge go - this time it was Matt Doherty
Josh Adams and Jonathan Davies celebrate a try as England outhalf George Ford appeals to referee Pascal Gauzere. Photograph: Getty Images
There was a mountain of things to be discussing after Saturday’s Six Nations ding-dong between Wales and England, not least those somewhat controversial refereeing decisions which, as David Flatman put it, rendered the game “an oval-shaped omni-shambles”. But Matt Williams was spot on when he pinpointed the key issue to be addressed: Should we feel sorry for England? “If it was any other team in the world, you would,” he said. That was a no, then.
The day had begun with our boys’ trip to Rome, Virgin opening their coverage quite mournfully by having Dermot Kennedy sing “we used to be giants, when did we stop?” over images of very sad looking Irish players. Someone needs to have a word with their tunes-to-get-the-nation-up-for-it department.
And then Matt and Ian McKinley, both in studio, and the beamed-in Shane Horgan, sitting in front of a piece of art evidently created by someone tripping while holding a can of paint and spilling it all over a large blank canvas, kind of told us that even if Ireland won by 150 points there’d be no great cause for celebration because Italy are rubbish. They didn’t put it as bluntly as that, but that was the gist.
All Matt asked for was that the - technical-rugby-term-alert - linky-uppy play between our forwards and backs be a little speedier because, he suggested, it had been, of late, “slower than a month in prison”. He was, then, happy-ish come half-time, Ireland leading 27-10, until Shane burst his happy-ish balloon by pointing out that “Italy have been borderline pathetic”.
It was 48-10 in the end, Italy making it 30 Six Nations defeats in a row, the prospect of them winning a game now seeming as unlikely as Wales winning the Triple Crown had done before this Six Nations started.
By the mid-way point in their meeting with England, though, Shane intimated that certain decisions had gone their way. “I know Wales are used to playing with an extra man in this Six Nations, I just wasn’t expecting it to be the referee,” he said, like Pascal Gauzere was a native of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.
The Beeb’s Sonja McLaughlan attempted to persuade Owen Farrell and Eddie Jones to comment on Pascal’s performance in her post-match interviews with the pair, her persistence in the face of their resistance earning her dog’s abuse on the Tweet machine.
As Matt noted before the abuse was highlighted, “Sonja’s job as an interviewer is to prod and probe”, so you can imagine the reaction if she’d said ‘unlucky Owen/Eddie, but did you enjoy your day out in Cardiff?’
Come Sunday, Roy Keane did a bit of probing himself, Jamie Redknapp his patient, the match-up so unbalanced you couldn’t but feel for Jamie. After their heated debate on the usefulness of Spurs, Roy wore the look of Dennis Healy that time he said being attacked by Geoffrey Howe was on a par with being “savaged by a dead sheep”.
Jamie tried to argue that Spurs are quite good because lots of their players are internationals, Roy countering with the point that “if you can trap the ball you can play for your country these days”. And then he dragged Matt Doherty in to the discussion, almost as if there was some history between them. “DOES ANYONE THINK REALLY THINK DOHERTY IS GOING TO TURN SPURS IN TO A TOP FOUR TEAM?! DOHERTY?! DOHERTY?! REALLY?!”
Dog/bone, Roy/grudges, they never let go.
Any way, it was a lively end to a week that had started abysmally with news of Tiger Woods’ car crash and the knot in your tummy as you waited for news of his condition. CNN, of course, had wall-to-wall coverage of the accident, stopping just short of enlisting John King and his Magic Wall to estimate how many bones in Tiger’s body had been broken.
Wolf Blitzer wondered out loud, way too often, if Tiger would win a major again, when, at that point, most of us just worried that he’d never walk again. Wolf used the past tense quite a bit too, like if Tiger can’t win a major again, he may as well not exist.
BREAKING! Tiger couldn’t stand up when the police arrived at his car! Wolf announced this somewhat breathlessly, like it was super sinister. This just moments after he’d relayed the news that Tiger had suffered a fractured leg and shattered ankle. That the two might have been connected floated right over his omni-shambles of a head.