Belfast Telegraph

Nice to see a boy named Stu ready to walk the line

By Billy Weir

It was to be a black night on Saturday for the men in white as all that is golden did not glitter for England as they made an ignominious exit from the Rugby World Cup.

The good news is that with their departure the chances are that X Factor will return although just how many Johnny Cash songs will figure is debatable so it was nice that a boy named Stu walked the line one last time at Twickenham.

The hits came right from the start, Lawrence Dallaglio in yet another dramatic opening montage, which thankfully will now be at an end, revealing that 'true champions thrive under pressure' and it was a kind of magic as a big Australian hammer fell shortly afterwards.

John Inverdale was at it too, waffling on about how 'it has been the most perfect English Autumn day' while a man called Jonny, who is getting a lot of cash to be ITV's pin-up pundit for the event, put things in perspective.

"It's not about whether I fail, it's about what I can do for these guys," said Mr Wilkinson, putting himself in the boots of the England team.

Or in other words, there's no 'I' in 'team', although there is a 'U' in 'stuffed'.

He was back on track moments later, talking of the hurt of losing, and revealing that it burns, it burns and it burns' but before a ring of fire could be mentioned, we were off and by the break things looked bleak, England 16-3 in arrears and Inverdale admitting that they had 'the proverbial mountain to climb'.

"Well, yes and no," began Wilkinson.

"This game is far from over," blatantly refusing to deal with the facts at hand. We really did think it was all over not long after and by the end the Wallabies had bounded to a 33-13 victory and as commentator Nick Mullins concluded 'it felt awful to be English a week ago, how does it feel now?'

"I'm pretty deflated," said Jonny, admitting that the game was now over. "There's that emptiness when you know that a chance has gone begging" and we all wondered just what chance he was on about while ITV wondered just how they were going to justify making a game with Uruguay edging out the X Factor.

Sir Clive Woodward (not pictured) tried to make the best of a bad lot imploring that England fans 'have to find our own team to support now' but while they need somebody to love Inverdale pointed out that 'the best rugby party in the world will continue for the next four weeks but the hosts have sent their apologies".

Let's just hope ITV continue to play the game because the show must go on.

Belfast Telegraph


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