As an English rugby supporter I was of course willing France to beat Ireland on Saturday afternoon (however strange that might have felt), but on the final whistle I must admit to actually feeling pretty happy that Ireland won the game, and as a result, the Six Nations title. Ireland winning of course meant that we were denied the title, but when you've got a true legend of the game playing his last ever international match, how could any rugby supporter possible begrudge such a fitting send off?
Words such as hero, icon and legend are in my opinion thrown around far too liberally these days, but Brian O'Driscoll is a legend of the game. Truly world class, and for many of his playing years he would have walked into any World XV, he just always struck one as a decent person who by virtue of his incredible natural talent had the heavy load of Ireland's expectations thrust upon his shoulders - which he seemed to carry off with aplomb. Some people I guess are born with a unique talent, but surely it is what they do with that talent that can qualify them for iconic status. The world of rugby will miss BOD.
Ireland won the title but we beat Ireland along the way. We won an equal number of games but Ireland shaded it on points difference - was it simply meant to end that way? A great way for BOD to stand down from international rugby and a pretty awesome Six Nations tournament with some fantastic matches. And for the first time in how many years I am excited about English rugby again. I have always loved how rugby players are for the most part so different to football players, but during the last World Cup it was quite frankly embarrassing how the English team played and behaved. Where was the pride in putting on the white shirt and playing for your country?
What a turnaround. We are without doubt onto something pretty special here and I have stopped worrying that it might be yet another false dawn that ends up shattering our hopes and dreams. Stuart Lancaster, what a person. It was an exciting game against Italy and I guess that all out charge for the required points difference produced a number of errors, but what awesome intent we are showing. We are nowhere near the finished article, but wow is English rugby exciting again - Ireland may have won the title, but England should never have been in that position anyway if they had not thrown that first French game away. But we did, Ireland are Six Nations champions, a legend of the game steps down, and I have a feeling that England have learnt more in the past couple of months than in the ten plus years since 2003. Roll on 2015? Well first we have a little matter of a summer tour to New Zealand...........
I hope you all got a bit of that stunning weather over the weekend. I barbecue all year because we love it and I just won't let a bit of winter stop us, but Sunday was the first time we had a barbecue lunch outside in the garden this year. All day outside in some glorious sunshine after a stunning barefoot walk on Whitsand in the morning, I know I'm not getting any younger because I'm as stiff as you like after a few hours axing up some particularly knotted wood, time with my family, and I tried something a bit different on the fishing front as a kind of investment for later in the year. Life is great when it's simple.