That’s not just a metaphor, let me tell you. Many is the England rugby team to have been ground into the mud of Ireland. After a several happy games scampering about in the sunshine of southern England, or Wales, or even in Paris, England then go to Dublin, try to carry on throwing the ball about, drop a few scoring passes, start to worry, drop some more passes, encourage the crowd, who yell at the Irish team, who then score an interception try, or a breakaway, or some such oddity, and suddenly it’s only five more minutes left and Ireland are leading by a handful of points and that’s how it stays.
But not today. The sun is shining, and England are leading by 30-6, three tries to nil. Ireland may get one try, or even two. They won’t get four. The England defence looks impenetrable. Grand Slam England. Ireland have been good for longish periods, but England have been better.
I’ve been taping it, and pacing about chez moi doing displacement activities. How did all that washing up get done?
Yep. There she blows. Greenwood scores an interception try. Ireland 6 England 35. Greenwood actually ran away from the posts, to make the conversion kick for Jonny Wilkinson harder and Wilkinson just missed it. Greenwood is like that. He often thinks about how to celebrate before actually scoring, and I remember England’s Napoleonic little scrum-half Matt Dawson giving the giant Greenwood a severe talking-to for being a bit exuberant when celebrating another try before he’d completed the formality of actually scoring it.
And in the middle of all this, my brother pops by with some books he thought I might like to have, including – wonder of wonders – a copy of Terence Kealey’s The Economic Laws of Scientific Research, which I have been seeking vainly for months, ever since I heard Kealey speak at a conference. I don’t remember telling Pete I wanted this. It’s a beautiful day in London town.
England are pressing and look like scoring again. Yes! Try by Dan Luger. Five tries to nothing. Unbelievable. “Nobody said it would be a stroll like this, but England have strolled.” 40-6. Five-nil. And Wilkinson won’t miss this conversion. No he doesn’t. Final whistle. Ireland 6 England 42. Now I can watch the tape of it, secure in the knowledge of a happy ending, like a Meg Ryan movie. Moral: don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and they’ll hatch. Then count them.
Well, if Jennings can wallow in the Aussies winning the cricket, I can wallow in this.
I wonder if Saddam Hussein is a rugby fan.