Thankfully even those of us who survived the 90s have only witnessed a few games where we’ve quietly confided in friends that by the 60 minute mark we’re not entirely sure we can be bothered watching the rest of it, and leaking further tries results in gazing up from the paper and tutting in mild irritation. August 4th 2007 was one of those days.
With the 2007 world cup just round the corner, what would have been really nice was some sort of morale boosting solid performance; show some parity where it counts and maybe put together some moments where we could all look at each other and go “hmmm, the boys have clearly practiced that one”.
Instead, Gareth Jenkins took the Welsh 3rd XV to Twickenham to face pretty much England’s first choice line-up. The first choice Welsh side wasn’t exactly firing with confidence, and their replacements were not exactly kicking down the door demanding to be instated. So mustering the thirds, introducing them to each other the day before and sending them out into an amphitheatre sporting loincloths and penknives against professional gladiators replete with industrial scythes and AK47s, could only be kept in the archives in a box marked ‘Really Bad Idea’.
It was perhaps best summed up by everyone who watched it with the pertinent question “What was the point in that then?” The only conceivable answer to this question that stood up to any scrutiny being “A pay-day and confidence-boosting training session for the RFU”.
4 tries for Nick Easter is a heinous crime. Subbing him for Dallaglio who then scores a try is like finding your house has been burgled and the gits have shat on the lounge carpet for good measure. And then poor Tom James gets called off the bench for his first cap – and his only chance to stake a claim for a world cup spot – with 50-5 on the scoreboard and 78 minutes on the clock. Thanks for that.
This sorry episode should be removed from human memory by whatever means necessary. Alternatively, a win of any sort for Wales on Saturday will go a long way to allowing the ghosts of the little bits of us that died that day to cross over to a better place and be at rest.