Lovers of English Sport are resilient if nothing else. Rock bottom only a few months ago, our cricket now rules the world and the players are being compared to rock artists. Same team though! And against a backdrop of earth-shattering incompetence by their administrators.
What a month of sport around the world, where to start? Bairstow’s heroics at Trent Bridge against the world’s No 1 team, New Zealand, was inspired by the legendary Kiwi Brendan McCullum, a delicious irony and so far a visionary choice for England’s new supremo.
La Rochelle is steeped in history, whether back to the days of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 12th century or indeed to the presence of the Huguenots in the 17th. A thriving but small Maritime port was never supposed to carry off the Blue Riband trophy in club rugby, although try telling that to Toulon!
What a week for Champions in two of our major sports – and a prelude for an unprecedented summer of sport after two years of Pandemic-driven abstinence.
I feel compelled to reflect on last weekend’s European action simply because the quality of what was on offer reached a new record in my view and also there were some conclusions reached I feel are premature. I know I am biased but the adage of the European Cup being like International rugby played in club jerseys was never truer.
Apart from the thrill of returning crowds, we have seen a real celebration of rugby skills on show in the first two months of the season. The Premiership, in particular, continued where it left off at the end of last season together with the resurgence of a Leicester team which has embraced its heritage but with a wonderful extra twist of flair, inspired by George Ford.
It used to be that once the Six Nations was over, sell out rugby grounds were at a huge premium and confined to major finals. No longer, as has been proven since England were squeezed out of a Double Grand Slam by a highly disciplined Irish team. Consider the following