England for the Grand Slam ?
Tomorrow is going to be the kind of day where it wouldn't matter if double figure bass were swimming all around me for six hours straight and asking me to sight fish to them, because at 5pm England of course play Wales for the Grand Slam and I wouldn't miss it for the world - and it ain't every day a game of rugby as big as that takes place, but then sight fishing to big bass is pretty rare as well come to think of it !! Still, tomorrow is the big one and nothing would drag me away from it..............
Now I actually really like Wales because it's the country I need to drive through to get over to Ireland (sorry !!), but I can't imagine how awesome it would be to actually be at the mighty Millenium Stadium tomorrow afternoon when the Welsh team runs out to what is going to be a level of noise that I am sure will be heard almost around the country. I can't imagine what it would feel like to be the opposition team then running out against all that, but the simple fact is that England are playing for the Grand Slam, and believe it or not we have not won one since that mighty year that was 2003 - when of course we swept all before us like rats fleeing a sinking ship.
As a team England are simply nowhere close to the 2003 side yet. At the moment we are too young as a side to be full of grizzled, battle-hardened leaders who I think must have felt that the 2003 World Cup was almost their destiny, and that if they did not come away with it they would have had to live with themselves for the rest of their lives. But our England rugby team now is winning, and winning breeds more winning. Sure, we have not hit the heights we hit against the All Blacks and then Scotland in the Six Nations opening game, indeed the Italy game last week gave me the jitters most of the way through, but the simple fact is that we are playing for the Grand Slam and Wales are not.
There are various permutations by which Wales could win the Championship etc., but if they had not slept through the opening half of their Six Nations opening game against Ireland then perhaps they might be contesting the Grand Slam as well. But they are not. Is that a ploy to help make myself feel more confident about the game tomorrow ? More than likely yes, because Wales do look a good side again and most of the England side have never even played against Wales at the Millenium Stadium and that has to count for something.
But England have been winning. I don't know what on earth happened against Italy, but I don't think it was anything to do with overconfidence. We just plain didn't fire. Not scoring from a 7-2 overlap was about as poor as it gets, but we played mostly pretty badly yet still came away with a win against an Italian side who were more than up for it. OK, to be fair, if we had lost I might have gone and done something violent towards my lure rods !! Is the Italian Sergio Parisse the best no.8 in world rugby ? Gotta be pretty close.
My wife has taken a couple of pupils from her school over to France for a few days, so I am looking after my girls here at home and of course I can't wait for around three hours of tap/jazz/musical theatre this afternoon - it's going to be truly epic !! (Kindle). I gave my two girls a choice - either I can put them to bed at 4.30pm in the afternoon when the build up to the game starts on the BBC (Sky do this stuff so, so much better), or else they can watch the rugby with their dad. Guess what they went for ??!! What more is left to say than come on England, let's do the Grand Slam and give ourselves about the biggest boost to a young team possible. Let's beat Wales in their mighty fortress and head back across the border with the Grand Slam safely in our clutches.