Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Billy on the Box: Forget Carter, dirty rotten English scoundrels will win

‘England v Scotland. The rivalry is immense and the issues are reasonably clear,” was Steve Rider’s opening gambit as the Calcutta Cup moved further south.

Indeed they are Steve, an England win would see them meet a French side that is getting so farcical I expect to see a man in a waiter’s apron joined by Vicki Michelle standing on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, a Scottish win would clinch independence, the enforced wearing of tartan, free bagpipe lessons for everyone and an upsurge in shortbread sales.

I’m not saying the coverage was pro-English, well, I am actually, as Steve and Lawrence Dallaglio were joined by ‘Scotsman’ Thom Evans (all not pictured). That’s Thom who was born in Zimbabwe, went to school in Berkshire and played for England to under-21 level. He’s not exactly Rob Roy, is he?

“News from Auckland, the weather is with Scotland at the moment, it’s rainy, it’s blustery as well, just your conditions,” added Rider, just back from a tropical break in Skegness.

Even the Scottish coach is English, Andy Robinson saying that the key was to ‘create some chaos’ and I waited for John Jeffrey, Doddie Weir and Andy Irvine to lead the Scots out carrying a dwarf, a female hotel worker and a burning effigy of Zara Phillips, but to no avail.

It was a monstrously marvellous encounter, rugby breaking out briefly but quickly stamped out, as commentator Nick Mullins pointed out ‘it’s not pretty, this is good old-fashioned northern hemisphere rugby, stodgy, compelling, I bet you’re not going anywhere.’

That’s not strictly true, like poor Dan Carter, the Scots have gone, as is their national trait they grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory and were sent homeward to think again.

“You can only feel sympathy for Scotland, but that is so England,” said Mullins, not really meaning it, as Chris Ashton let his feet and not his alleged potty mouth do the talking with the winning try.

“You’d think England had won the World Cup,” added Phil Vickery.

And they’re so bad, they just might.

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