Both Welsh and Irish camps issued statements today raising the pre-game threat level to “Steady Now” – up one notch from “Quietly confident” and below “Expecting to lose narrowly”.
An IRB spokesman confirmed that the upgrading of the threat level meant that both teams are officially ‘wary’ of each other and is likely to guarantee that any further press coverage between now and kick-off will be exceptionally banal; advising supporters of both nations to just hibernate for 48 hours if at all possible.
Although the public threat level had been raised, the private threat level could actually be anything on the scale. This is known as the McLaughlan effect, in that no-one wants to be making public shows of confidence only to lose and then have media harpie Sonja McLaughlin crush their genitals over the matter on live television. The result is pre-match press coverage that is like listening to a Colin Charvis lecture on the all the numbers between one and 240 million to two decimal places.
Hopes of Warren Gatland emerging from his self-imposed ‘Yip’-ban and having a pop at an unsuspecting Irish player’s ability, intelligence or even personal hygiene are slim, as the Welsh coach’s wariness of his own threat level has been at “Steady now” for four weeks.