My new Welsh friend Paul emails me before the Ireland match to say that he is rooting for Italy as part of some diabolical calculation allowing his beloved sheep-shaggers to win the Six nations Championship. Hmmmmm.
Despite a catalogue of errors Ireland utterly routed Italy yesterday. It was an emotional Dublin send off for Brian O’Driscoll, the greatest ever Ireland player. My father and I watched and as BOD was interviewed post match, the emotion poured over in Shipston-on-Stour as I am sure it did in every outpost of the diaspora. The way the points stack up, barring some utter freak, if Ireland can manage to defeat the hit or miss Froggies in Paris, the Championship is ours. Surely God wishes to reward his loyal servant BOD thus?
And now to Wales vs. England. For me there are no diabolical calculations. Indeed shame on you Paul for thinking that way. Paul says that he is so excited about today’s game that he cannot sleep. I would suggest that he tries counting sheep. But I guess that might make him even more excited. I digress.
I can put aside the fact that the mother of my daughter (Big Nose) will be sitting at home munching nuts nervously as she roots for Wales. I am beyond that for I also know that my daughter will be dressed in a Welsh jersey or National dress, belting out the National Anthem, passionately roaring on the men in red.
This is a simple matter. The Old Enemy are playing. Thus naturally my mind is wired to support the other side. I do not feel this way about soccer – in Ireland’s absence I will cheer for England in the World Cup for as long as its campaign lasts which will not be very long. I gather that England are 33-1 to win the World Cup. For those who do not understand betting that means that if you wager £10 on England you will lose £10.
No, this is just a rugby thing. I think of the swagger and arrogance of England sides before. I think of bloody Will Carling or Jeremy Guscott. I think of England fans singing “Swing Lo” as they assume they will always win. I think of a match at Lansdowne Road many years ago during the troubles when some pompous oaf behind my father and I brayed in a drunken slur “Oh I do wish the Irish would make a match of it.” I think of Sir Clive Woodward. My blood is boiling already. If the England Rugby Team was playing the Hamas XV I would naturally be rooting for the islamofascist nutters.
And Wales are our Celtic Cousins as well as the team supported by my daughter. Paul is starting to think like Sir Clive Woodward and should be ashamed. For him and for me the teams you support are:
2. Anyone playing against England
3. Your Celtic Cousins (with Scotland ranked marginally below Wales & Ireland in the Celticness stakes).
4. The underdog (to assist with France vs Italy) - small nations should back the underdogs.
Follow that simple matrix and you know exactly who you will be cheering for in any six nations match. On that basis “C’mon Wales.”