Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Billy on the Box: Beware of honey badgers, cobras and Pete Waterman

Aussie wing wizard Nick Cummins makes the Poms winge with this meat pie at Twickers
Aussie wing wizard Nick Cummins makes the Poms winge with this meat pie at Twickers

I wasn't in a hopeful frame of mind tuning in to BBC Three for the highlights of England’s rugby battle with Australia for the Cook Cup on Saturday night.

The Wallabies chances looked about as promising as being cornered in the jungle by a hunger-crazed Eric Bristow and subliminally perhaps this was what made me watch as Helen Flanagan seems to be hoarding two Gilberts in a series of ill-fitting tops.

There were other reasons for trepidation, other things that make your skin crawl and leave you with an uneasy feeling, but I suppose Brian Moore and Lawrence Dallaglio have to make a living.

English stallion Dallaglio insisted there was ‘never a better time to play Australia’ as he spoke to presenter Jason Mohammad of Wales before the game in the BBC’s new policy of hiring people whose surnames give you no clue to their actual nationality.

Commentator Conor McNamara, not actually Irish but ninth generation Inuit who washed up on an ice floe in Connemara many years ago, was present and to show his mastery of the English language told us all about a new word ‘omnishambles’.

This will be well known to fans of The Thick Of It, and has been short-listed by the Oxford English Dictionary for inclusion this year and means ‘a situation which is shambolic from every possible angle’.

This could apply to Dallaglio, Moore or English rugby as McNamara’s hope that ‘the new regal purple jerseys will lead to a new purple patch’ fell on deaf ears and left us thinking the only way there would be a purple patch was if Barney spilled his Ribena. That’s the dinosaur not the darting legend.

The Aussies have made the most of their proximity to the Pacific islands to bring a few stragglers on board and thankfully England haven’t followed suit as try scorer Manu Tuilagi, one of the Buckinghamshire Tuilagis, scored their try.

But he was overshadowed by my new sporting hero — Nick Cummins.

A cross between Henry Ramsay and an irked honey badger, he bounded into action to gallop and leap home for the match-turning try.

Why honey badger?

Well, big Nick, all curly hair and bulging biceps, revealed his admiration for the beast ahead of his debut for the Aussies last month saying he’d watched one treat a lion very badly on telly — ‘He clawed the canastas off the big fella. The big one-two. To me, that is outstanding.’

The OED have already been in touch to see if they can use ‘canastas’ in next year’s edition.

It may be one of the few words that they can use from the big fella, as his post-match interview can be best summed up with ‘strewth’ and ‘mate’ as, discussing his heroics, he explained ‘it was a bit of meat as we call it — a meat pie’.

What Eric and co would give for that at the minute down in Australia, as the Crafty Cockney’s legendary status is growing by the hour, with the pick of his wisdom this week coming when getting a tad miffed with bush tucker trial failure Flanagan.

Eric asked her if she’d ever seen the programme and what had she expected to be eating — ‘milkshakes?’

Brilliant — get Nick in there as soon as possible — comedy gold awaits or, at the very least, an omnishambles.

But there are dangerous animals everywhere, with a cobra on the loose in Nottingham later on Saturday evening.

It was Fight Night on Sky and Carl Froch (pictured) defending his IBF Super Middleweight title against Yusaf Mack, although as it turned out Lee Mack would have put up more of a fight.

“When the Cobra strikes, his victims always feel the pain, this is his lair, the Nottingham Arena,” bellowed presenter Dave Clark.

But this was Sky, there was much more hyping to be done and they’d spent lots of cash on a spitting Cobra graphic that came on to the screen when things were getting really exciting.

This worries me.

Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton returns to our screens this weekend, although on Primetime so no-one will see it, and will this mean an accompanying graphic of Peter Waterman and Michaela Strachan marching round the ring holding the round number board?

Strewth, that would be a |really wild show.

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