England beat an awfully depleted Welsh team
and theyíre World Cup champs again. And they
wonder why the rest of the world canít stand
So, three years of English misery is wiped
away by one summer afternoon touch rugby
session against a Welsh team missing 13
first-team regulars and another 12
Funny how when the All Blacks or Springboks
hammer third-rate opposition the English
media, in particular, are quick to write up
the flattering nature of All Blacks and
Springbok wins in these matches.
Then again this is the same patriotic media
who lauded a 21-point defeat against the All
Blacks at Twickenham in 2006 as the start of
the English revival and the end of an All
When those same All Blacks destroyed the
British and Irish Lions the year before the
message in the United Kingdom was for all of
the north to take heart.
The Lions did well to come within 20 points
of the All Blacks in the last Test. Who
dared challenge these beasts?
A fortnight later the Springboks knocked
over the beast in Cape Town. It put the
Lions series into perspective.
Every time the English play the All Blacks
and lose, like when 13 New Zealanders were
still too strong for 15 Englishmen in 2005,
the drum roll starts with a bang of how
vulnerable the All Blacks are but within a
fortnight of the Six Nations it is a whimper
again as England have crashed to one of
Ireland, France, Scotland or a full-strength
Now we have the bleating again after a
training run against 15 Welshmen who lacked
the substance or presence of 15 branded
If you want to know the quality of Welsh
team that played at Twickenham you only have
to make the comparison in team identity to
the side hammered 45-10 by the All Blacks in
Cardiff last year.
That side was the best the Welsh could put
on the field. Thatís the one that has been
wrapped in cotton wool for the World Cup and
thatís the side that beat England in the Six
The Welsh team that lost 31-0 to Australia
in Brisbane earlier this year contained just
two of the cotton-wool club and the side
thrashed at Twickenham on Saturday also had
two (different names) from the first team.
Of the 13 remaining second stringers
hammered in Brisbane, none made it to
It has not deterred the English from ďdaring
to dreamĒ, to quote one of the fans armed
with a laptop and media accreditation.
England, chumps for the last three years,
are again champs in waiting.
The record defeats in South Africa are
history. So too the seventh place world
ranking. Champions, mate. Thatís what Iíve
been told. Swing Low Sweet ChariotÖ
And the singing may even continue against
France at Twickenham this Saturday,
depending on which French team arrives for
this nuisance match.
That match, like the Welsh romp, will reveal
little in relation to the World Cup. It is
how England goes in France a week later that
will calm the Boks or increase their blood
pressure for the September 14 battle in
England, in Marseilles against France, will
make a World Cup statement to the Boks or
theyíll write a note of surrender.
I know which to expect, and itís not the one
that inspires their sycophantic media or
encourages their supporters to Ďdare to
Marseilles is the city the Boks must conquer
in the quarter-finals to get back to Paris
for the play-offs, and itís where the
English dream will be crushed before the
tournament even starts.
MARK KEOHANE |
keo.co.za | Thursday, 9 August 2007 |
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