Sport on TV View: It’s not the end of the world but it is Renua Ireland time

Our Grand Slam dreams may be dead but all’s not lost if we can beat Scotland

With the Hook man talking about Doomsday back in the studio, Brent Pope, when we visited him in Cardiff after the game, tried his best to reassure us that there was life on our sporting planet yet.

“It’s not the end of the world,” he insisted – but gawd almighty, it felt awful close. And then it literally ended for our cricketers in Adelaide a few hours later. So, all in all, a rubbish weekend (if you exclude the rugby women mullering Italy, which you’ll have to because it wasn’t on the telly box).

Brent, though, reminded us that while our Grand Slam dreams might have been exterminated, it could be, well, Renua Ireland next weekend on points difference, so long as they beat Scotland.

So that was something.



Still, it was a testing day, one that had rugby nations the world over inviting tubs of Flora to apply for their national coaching positions after witnessing a Welsh performance in which its defence proved as impregnable as José Mourinho’s ego.

Our people had, of course, been accused of being arrogant pre-match, among them Keith Wood, but in fairness to him he displayed some humility when Gabby Logan asked him for a prediction over on the BBC:

“Oh, Ireland – by as much as 10 or 12 points.”

Little wonder, then, that we readied our Jeroboam of champagne for slugging, Tom McGurk reminding us that if Ireland won and England lost, Ireland would be Six Nations champions by tea-time.

The Hook man, as he's wont to do, sounded a word of caution, noting that three of our recently-injured best players "might not be back at work if they were accountants, actuaries, plumbers or painters", to which Shane Horgan replied – and he had a point – "but they're not accountants, actuaries, plumbers or painters."

Still, despite George's concerns, he joined Shane and Conor O'Shea in forecasting an Irish victory, but not before sharing his thoughts on Pamela Anderson's "two pectoralis major muscles", which had Shane examining the studio ceiling, then munching on his lip so hard it actually stopped him from asking "when are you retiring again?"

The match? Ah, you know. If our boys scored as many tries as they were on the verge of scoring the Jeroboam would have been drained by the 60th minute.

Post mortem

The gist of Ryle Nugent’s commentary: “OMG.”

The post mortem.

Who was to blame?

George: “What I’d like to tackle is: Ireland has a problem if it plays second rate foreign players in front of Irish qualified players. [Ian] Madigan has been appallingly treated by Irish rugby.”

Even Pamela Anderson’s pectoralis major muscles flinched, while the BBC’s who-will-we-hire-to-replace- Jeremy-Clarkson committee possibly added George’s name to their shortlist.

Shane was a bit outstanding. "He's just not been picked George, that's something very different . . . by people who have decided he's not good enough to be on the field, that's a selection decision . . . Jared Payne has come over, he's become Irish qualified. He's played for Ulster for three years. He's committed himself to Ireland and I think he should be treated with respect like any Irish player."

(In the St Patrick’s week that’s in it – “hug the diaspora” week - it was all doubly amusing, as the planet celebrates our qualified exiles’ contributions to other nations).

Tom was on Georgie’s side: “What does it say about Irish rugby that we’re playing a New Zealand fullback at centre!”

Conor: “Jared Payne has qualified himself, he’s committed himself to it, they are the rules and he deserves the respect to do that.”

It’s, eh, Renua Ireland time.