When Ireland won at Twickenham in their first match following England’s Rugby World Cup triumph in 2003, we joked that only Ireland could peak the best side in the world after the World Cup had ended!
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.
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.
The Double-Header weekends of the Heineken Champions Cup have been one of the season’s highlights so far. The last 16 format created supreme drama and stunning quality between Europe’s top clubs. These formats and dates have been moved around partly through Covid driven necessity and partly in a constant search to improve the competition. I know that personally, having spent many months at that particular negotiating table. You cannot stand still, and with both the domestic leagues and International tournaments rightly seeking to generate more relevance and interest, the world’s premier club competition is doing the same- and to great effect.
Happy New Year! When the Pandemic hit the world in 2020 and impacted the sporting landscape as well as our whole way of life, I observed that it was a chance for rugby to reset and go back to the future, ie embrace some traditional values and I believe I was right.
It’s World Cup Year (almost), and rugby seemingly makes headlines on a daily basis. Journos are back to their editors with begging bowls for more space – they will get it too.
You know something is afoot when Sir Ian McGeechan featured some of the greatest Calcutta Cup clashes in his weekly article in the Sunday Telegraph. I happened to have played in six of those games back in the 80’s and 90’s and they were all titanic struggles.
The Six Nations got off to a mixed start last weekend as two cracking openers sandwiched a real stodge of a match in France, where neither side deserved to win or lose in all honesty.
As the Autumn Internationals played out, followed by two tumultuous European weekends, there has been much to admire as well as ponder as we approach a seasonal period of rest and reflection – unless you are a professional rugby player who isn’t banned or injured in which case not much of either.