A Bloody Marvelous Day

I may be accused of being myopic, but the realization that we annihilated England by 30-3 is unfathomable to those who are not Welsh. Well I guess the Scots and the Irish completely understand our emotions but then Celts are of a singular mind.

It was not just the result; it was the occasion. England were undefeated in the Six Nations. entering the final game, and according to BBC pundits they merely had to show up at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and claim their first Grand Slam in 10 years, the mythical Triple Crown and the Championship.

After all who were they playing? They were playing a nation living in the past; a past when they reigned supreme in the seventies with Gareth, Barry, Phil, Gerald, JPR, and Merve the Swerve. We mustn’t forget Dai Morris, Basil Brush or Ripper Wheel.

I must admit that the modern game bears little resemblance to the panache of the seventies. The only similarities appear to be the shape of the ball and the dimensions of the pitch. Nevertheless the rugby on display particularly the second half was breathtaking.

What made it more compelling was the prospect of selection for the Lions tour to Australia in the summer. Prior to the game the media, had penciled in more than 10 Englishmen to make the Lions team, and based on their performances this season they had made England as one of the favorites for the World Cup in 2015.

From the kick-off the tackling and hits were ferocious from both sides, but Wales had a distinctive edge in the scrums where Adam Jones was a colossus at tight head closely followed by Captain Gethin Jenkins and the marauding blond Viking Richard Hibberd at hooker.

Even so Wales only led 9-3 at half-time despite having most of the possession, and quite rightly the English pundits (the three stooges) on the BBC panel predicted that we would see a different England in the second half and they would finish the stronger.

We did witness a “different” England in the second half. Wales began turning possession and pressure into points and on the hour mark England replaced their front row which sent a message to the Welsh crowd and the team that England were beaten and bowed into submission.

Alex Cuthbert scored two tries created by the awesome Welsh back row. Wales gambled by selecting two open side flankers who many thought could not play together. Warburton and man of the match Jason Tuperic were the difference makers. Tuperic played like an” All Black “and there couldn’t be higher praise. Wearing his distinctive blue skull cap he ran and distributed like a three quarter and tackled like a man possessed.

When handing out the laurels we must not forget the contribution made by Leigh Halfpenny at fullback. His courage and tenacity under the high ball reminded me of the legendary JPR while his goal kicking was supreme.

At the end of the day (I’m running out of clichés) this was a magnificent team performance and Wales did not have a weakness. The Lions selectors could not be criticized if they penciled in the names of the fifteen Welsh players for the first test against Australia in the summer.


Leave a Reply