Saturday, November 22, 2003

Obligatory sports commentary
A nation celebrates!

…Though I can’t see too many celebrations out of my window, which must be because I’m one of the 90 odd per cent of British people with no interest in Rugby Union. Truth be told, it’s just as much a regional game as League, mainly combined to the home counties and East Midlands with some suburban inroads. Unlike Rugby League, it has support in outer London, which wins it status as a national game. That, and the sponsor fodder of its loyal following of middle management meatballs. But it makes no real claim on national awareness. However, I’m sure that Tony Blair has now discovered that he has supported the game all his life and that it provides a stirring occasion around which we can all rally in these dark times.

Having proclaimed my indifference, I have to say that I’m saddened by today’s result. One of the minor pleasures of the last decade was seeing English rugby teams casually swatted aside by the Aussies. England would grub up a team widely acknowledged to be barely adequate but puffed up to bursting with motivational jargon. They would develop mental toughness and have a positive attitude at all times. And they would be ground into the dirt by teams who could actually throw a ball to each other while running. Afterwards they would nod grimly and pledge to “learn” from the experience.

Apparently, England had a good team this time. I can’t tell. It all looks like an experimental theatre workshop staging a mass toddler tantrum in a mud pit.