Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Did England v Ireland on Saturday really go down like that, or am I still dreaming?

I would ask forgiveness for not yapping about fishing on a gloomy Monday morning in early February, but to be honest all fishing related thoughts can go jump for the moment with what happened on Saturday afternoon over in Dublin - or did I fall asleep and dream of such an epic result in the 2019 Six Nations? Ninety seconds in and I held my breath for England’s first try, and I don’t think I dared breathe again until the final whistle and a result that always seemed possible with that much talent in the English squad, but as is the lot of being an English rugby supporter, one if often left wondering if and when it all might click into place…………….

Which holy frigging cow did it do so on Saturday. I have read a hell of a lot now about the match and the buildup, and I do also listen to three different rugby podcasts and I am really looking forward to their analysis this week, but what the hell has that Ozzie windup merchant Eddie Jones done to finally get his squad to come together like that and produce eighty minutes of rugby which looked like it essentially terrified the number two side in the world into moments of panic the like of which we just don’t expect to see from such a quality outfit as Ireland. I think Johnny Sexton is almost beyond special as a fly half, but I can’t remember seeing so little influence from him over a game, and to me that is a huge credit especially to the English back row which let’s remember was being flogged as a serious problem a year or so ago.

Did it really happen? Did we really play an almost perfect storm for eighty minutes at such a level of intensity that as per a link to a newspaper article down in New Zealand that my brother sent me: “England's Six Nations win turns the world upside down”. Damn right this win does just that, but as ever as an English rugby supporter I must temper my growing excitement with that nagging worry that it could be a flash in the pan and next weekend we go back to a gnawing worry that all the talent in the world might truly come together only once every few years. I choose to dream though, to hope that England rugby really has found its style and substance and grizzliness, that we do now have a few proper leaders who can find a coherent way through those periods of pressure when the lungs are fit to burst and the opposition is going through the phases and controlling the ball, and that this World Cup year is really going to be as exciting as Saturdays’ immense result is promising. Wow. Roll on Sunday afternoon and the French at Twickenham……….

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