TV View: Royal purple befits Prince Sexton as tries rain down at the Aviva

Translator needed for Heaslip; Roy gives up on his beloved United

Purple is, of course, the colour of royalty, so it was highly appropriate that our very own Prince Johnny should be bedecked in said hue on the occasion of his 100th cap.

It could even be said that his purple patch playing for Ireland has lasted an entire 12 years, the duration of his senior international career, but before we could carry on, seamlessly and impressively, in this vein, Tommy Bowe, on punditry duty with Channel 4, ruined everything by pointing out that "the jersey today is actually aubergine."

And talking about Johnny’s ‘Aubergine Reign’ for Ireland just doesn’t work.

No matter, it was a very lovely day for the fella, capped by the try that had the stadium rockin’.

Mind you, we had to head to Google Translate when Jamie Heaslip analysed the score for RTÉ's viewers.

“Johnny IDs the overlap …. it’s a simple hand situation… he’s in the booth there directly behind the maul …. and then all the boys jump in and they’re hot-doggin’ with him.”

Even Jerry Flannery and Stephen Ferris looked a bit confused, especially by the hot-doggin' bit, although that was nothing next to Jamie's take on James Lowe's try.

“He got engaged during the week, it looks like he’s running there from an engagement shop with the ring, he thought someone was going to catch him,” he explained.

“A completely mythical shoplifting analogy there,” said Daire O’Brien, hellbent on heading off at the pass-a-day in the High Court.

By then, Daire had tried to provoke Jerry and Stephen by suggesting that this Spunky Shamrocks v Brave Blossoms Autumn international was actually a contest between Leinster and Japan, what with only two Munster, one Connacht and zero Ulster players making the starting line-up.

Stephen fought back the tears, noting that Wales (Bradley Roberts) and South Africa (Duane Vermeulen) had more Ulster men starting for them than Ireland at the weekend. He had no complaints, though, reckoning the 12 Leinster lads were picked on merit.

Jerry agreed, ish, but his pain was palpable, possibly feeling as emotional about it as he did when the anthem struck up on that February 2007 day in Croke Park.

He regained his composure, though, in time to analyse Bernard Jackman’s pre-match analysis of Japan. “That is a brilliant, brilliant piece of analysis delivered in probably the most boring manner ever - my God, BJ is so boring ….. you can’t have looks and personality.”

That tribute over, it was match time, and the tries kept on flowin’, Ireland so excited by playing in front of actual spectators they were evidently intent on entertaining them.

For once, the blasting of U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ over the speakers at the Aviva come full-time was justified, sometimes it seems a little inappropriate, like, say, when you draw 0-0 at home with the 1,976th ranked football nation on earth.

“Japan’s defence was poor,” Fiona Coghlan reminded us, lest we lose the run of ourselves and start booking October 2023 flights to Paris for the World Cup final, but still, it was, at least, a performance worthy of our Prince’s 100th.

“He’s our best player ever - certainly in the professional era,” said Jamie, a declaration that prompted meltdowns from the Bod, Poc and Rog fan clubs, but none of them, to our knowledge, was ever presented with a samurai sword after they hit their centuries.

Johnny didn’t know quite where to look when Japan captain Lappies Labuschagne presented him with the gift, which was the very sweetest of gestures, then having to carry it through his team-mates’ guard of honour, them extracting the mick out of the fella while he handled it like it was the hottest of potatoes.

And look here, if you didn’t approach tear-shedding levels when he got emotional as the crowd roared during his post-match chat, and then when he hugged his family in the stands, you’ve a heart of granite.

Next up, just New Zealand. “Pressure makes diamonds,” said Jamie. Perhaps, although it might help if all 15 of our lads brought samurai swords to the fight.

United could have done with bringing the same to the Manchester derby. Although they’d probably have left them in the tunnel. No more needs to be said, really, than our Roy’s half-time verdict. “I give up.”

Eleven aubergines would have got the better of that shower on Saturday.

READ MORE