Belfast Telegraph

Billy Weir on the box: Something in the air for Robbo in Dublin

By Billy Weir

Picture the scene on Saturday afternoon. Gerry Arconada-Armstrong is sitting in his string vest in his favourite Spanish tasca enjoying a cerveza when the dulcet tones of Mark Robson filter through from the Aviva Stadium.

Tears well up in Gerry's wee eyes as he remembers all the good times he and Robbo had together in the Sky commentary box before he was given a new Mann, Daniel, but Mark's over it, he's moved on, there's a new man in his life too.

And that man is Alan Quinlan, former Ireland battering ram and partnering Robbo as the Aussies came to town to take on the boys in green in the final Test of the Autumn series on Saturday.

First up though before the two wise men was one Wyse woman as Rachel - Sky's resident lovely Irish girl - was sent to interview Ireland coach Joe Schmidt about his side.

Given that his side was going to give him a little bit of a problem later on it was a good call and no doubt his acting-up appendix was confiscated by the Aussies and will be taken back Down Under where it will be part of Jimmy Bullard's next Bushtucker Challenge.

And we were ready, and it was off to Robbo for his opening soliloquy, which, it turned out, was to be rather prophetic.

"We all know that the Wallabies can be scalpel sharp when opening up the tightest of defences," he said, as Schmidt winced a little, before things kicked off - literally.

"In comes that boa constrictor choke tackle from Ireland," said Robbo as I looked to see if Ant and Dec were standing by.

"That's a little box ticked for Ireland," he added and one meal for camp later, appendix suppers all round.

And then 40 minutes of rugby madness ensued, Ireland racing into the lead with the Aussies reeling before they were given a lifeline by the TMO, the only man in the world not to see a forward pass and in the blink of a closed eye, the pesky visitors were in the lead.

"I think we need a massage at half-time. I think I've reached my lactic acid threshold," said an exhausted Robbo, but there were no creepy crawlies or tasty morsels from the nether regions of assorted beasts served up as we braced ourselves for the second-half.

"Alan Quinlan is now sustained with a plateful of Ginger Nuts and Jaffa Cakes to get his sugar levels up," while there were tray bakes too with some of the visitors having Super 15 experience.

And on it went as a chance came and went with the flirting continuing in the commentary box.

"Oh, it was sweet alright, but not quite sweet enough - a bit like you. Alan Quinlan, the old pantomime villain at many a breakdown," teased Robbo.

"I wouldn't mind getting you at the bottom of a ruck," came the retort as bromance blossomed, which was just as well because the second-half had turned into a schools'match, although there weren't many like Will Skelton at my alma mater.

"On comes a true beast, Will Skelton, six foot eight and 21 stone three. I wouldn't like to be sharing my dinner with that guy," added Robbo, as something that you would expect Nick Skelton to be riding at Hickstead ambled onto the pitch.

But he couldn't help, soon it was over, Ireland completing a clean sweep.

"Take that the Southern Hemisphere," finished Robbo, as he and Quinlan set off for a night in Dublin and tears trickled into a San Miguel many miles away.

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