You could be forgiven for thinking this weekend’s Six Nations action was some sort of shared acid trip hallucination. In fact, we’re still not entirely sure it wasn’t.
After the delightful shock of Italy beating France, the insanity was released full force with France Coach Marc Lievremont’s Tirade on the team. In his tirade he accused his ever-changing side as ‘Cowards’, their performance as a ‘hallucination’ and claimed they ‘invented things’ on the pitch. Oh, Marc, if they’d have been inventing things, Italy would not have been able to do that.
For their part, Italy have been gracious, proud and understandably emotional and I don’t think there’s one non-French rugby fan out there that doesn’t break out into a smile when their win was mentioned. However, as the non-rugby-loving father of one of the Manpilez Ladies pointed out, we won’t be so pleased to see them win when they’re beating all and sundry.
Closer to home, there has been no such graciousness with Irish supporters across the land calling the Wales team cheats after Mike Phillips allowed-but-illegal try. The IRB have offered an apology and for a change, Warren Gatland has said something that didn’t make us want to bang our heads against our desks in ‘We’ve had plenty of decisions go against us so we’re going to take this one’ With that one muck up the whole of Ireland seems to have become blind to the fact that not only was it all going wrong for Ireland long before that but also that they had a good half an hour to fight back with some points of their own and completely failed.
Based on Ireland’s performance, we all went into the England v Scotland game feeling like it was the true last hurdle before England go and dominate Dublin next week… and then the most entertaining thing in the first 45 mins was the fox running around the pitch during the anthems. Seriously the BBC have even given him his own video. Thankfully, Mr Foxy remembered how to get back to The Shard eventually so he didn’t have to see England limp past Scotland with a storming but questionable try from fresh off the bench Tom Croft and another appearance for the rising star of this year’s tournament, rule 19.2(b).
England were as lacklustre as the weather in Twickenham against a Scotland that had a fight in them but not nescessarily all the tools to break through. Next week’s Grand Slam decider rests on both England and Ireland puling their socks up if it’s going to be as exciting as it sounds on paper.
Meanwhile, in more domestic matters, Young Mr Olly Barkley found himself unjustifiably in hot water this week after some journalists proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt that a sense of humour is actively discouraged when working for a national. After his horrible run in with team mate Butch James against Gloucester, Olly sent a series of tweets praising the staff of the local hospital where he had been taken to have some frightening sounding contraptions installed to repair a double leg break in which he poked fun at his wardmates and critiqued the porridge skills of the staff. All over twitter people were commending the fact that he had kept his sense of humour through the haze of drugs, pain, and the vast expanse of downtime stretching before him but the Daily Mail decided to edit out all the good natured elements and make young Mr B. Look like a massive douche.
Given it’s the Daily Mail, we could hardly be surprised, to be fair, but is this a terrible omen for the future? Is no Rugby player safe? We’ve had Jonathan Thomas, Brian Moore and briefly, Ian Evans scared off Twitter for such things but where does this end? Will players, coaches and pundits alike have to be careful what they say in any situations to avoid being sold down the river? Granted, some need to be more careful (Hi Mr. Lievremont!) but is Eddie Butler going to have to be careful having arguments with his wife about who’s turn it is to do the dishes? Does Johno need to check his downstairs bathroom for bugs?
In these overly media-savvy times, we are already getting to a point where the cliché is king and this feels like it could be the final nail on the coffin for individuality off the pitch, and from a club that is fast becoming one of the more ‘in touch with the people’ clubs? We really hope not.
Either way, we hope it doesn’t scare Olly away, and that he has a full, speedy and amusing recovery.
Ranting by Lauren