Saturday, February 25, 2006

Six Nations Thrown Wide Open

Scotland Beat England, 18-12, at Murrayfield, to win Calcutta Cup

As someone of mixed genealogical heritage, I can never decide who to support in many of the Rugby six nations clashes. I generally know in about the 70th minute of each close game, as my unconscious mind tells me which kicks and which tackles to cheer. My unconscious mind got this one right, too. Because it decided to go for the winners, Scotland, ye ken.

As one who wore a losing Scotland shirt to an English bar once, surrounded by about 200 victorious English shirts and triumpant flags of St George, it was a sweet victory indeed. Being a solo Scotland supporter surrounded by such a horde of Saxonic Huns was a bitter experience, though the Hun did keep me propped up with free drinks all night to drown my Celtic sorrows.

England under Andy Robinson lack intelligent guidance, and are going to come a cropper in the World Cup unless they replace him. Harry Ellis is too slow to the breakdown and the panicky reliance on old hands like Dawson and D'Allaglio, who will both be too slow and too old next year, proves the lack of invention in the current coach's mind; he should be trying out much younger replacements to give them the necessary experience.

So who will win the next World Cup? No problem. New Zealand, a land of Scottish heritage, or ... Scotland. Och aye the noo, as we mixed-up Englishmen say here in rural Oxfordshire.

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