Rugby Fantasies #3


I must have IBS.

That has to be it, it’s the only logical explanation for my gut being so comprehensively, inescapably wrong.


In reality of course, it’s all my own fault. What has my gut ever done for me besides force me into buying new jeans? Well nothing – nothing good anyway. My head has always been the good one in his relationship, it’s marginally sharper, more finely tuned, and quite frankly smarter. And yesterday I chose to ignore it completely – today it has cost me dearly.

In fantasy terms today was nothing short of abject failure. As I languish at the very bottom of the Observer mini-league, a sense of profound sadness has enveloped me. One that not even my leapfrog into second (!) place in the Fantasy Premier League can sufficiently dissipate. In reality, it was a good enough day for Ireland, though not a grand day.

In possibly the dullest game ever played, my awesome Irish backs were to be seen nowhere near a tryline. I still don’t know

Lovely Tommy Bowe in better ball-holding mode

enough to say how O’Driscoll played, all I know is that I didn’t hear his name mentioned much, so I think that’s a bad thing. And Tommy Bowe, lovely Tommy Bowe, who forgot how to catch the ball today. At least Jamie Heaslip scored, the one bright light of my first foray into fantasy rugby. On the other side Castrogiovanni went off, then came back on – I have no idea what that entitles me to, but I’d wager ‘not a lot’.

Things didn’t seem that bad really until I started watching England soundly beat Wales. I had toyed with the idea of James Haskell last week, but went for Moody instead because Haskell hadn’t scored any tries for England. Deep cleansing breath. Bugger.

But that obviously isn’t the worst part. Anyone reading the first two installments will know the worst part. All the way through I thought, really truly thought that the next kick would be Wilko’s last. He’d hobble off the pitch and that would be the end of him. Sorry Jonny, it was nothing personal. There was a glimmer of hope near the end there when Toby the Tiger scamped down the outside for a cheeky one-two with Matthew Tait (are you allowed to call them that in rugby?), or so I’d thought. But no JamesHaskell was the target and all Flood could manage was an escort over the line. Insult to injury, he went off a few minutes later so I don’t even get the full appearance points. I know what has to be done, I knew it yesterday, and the day before that and every day really, but I think it might just break my heart a bit. Sadface.

I can’t even take consolation of Scotland and France tomorrow, because I fear all my players will be last minute injuries. (Though I did dodge the Euan Murray trap.) Of course, Ireland won and that’s the most important part about today’s game and next week will undoubtedly be a much more exciting affair. Or so I’m told by the professionals on the television. It’s a shame that England won, but it might make our trip to Twickenham a bit more exciting.

It won’t make me feel better when I have to face the Observerites on Monday, I’ll have to hang my head in shame and maybe admit I know a hell of a lot less than I ever thought I did. In a fit of rage, and on the back of that bottle of wine drank during the game, I want to make all five changes right now, cull the dead weight and trim the Big Gay Beards. I’m not going to obviously…not ‘til Monday, or maybe Tuesday if I’m busy.

I feel it’s important I take something positive from today however so after thinking fairly short and not at all hard I’ve figured out a few points of interest.

Today has taught me several important life lessons: 1. You can’t cram a thorough understanding of rugby union into six weeks of internet surfing. 2. Not picking Jonny was unbelievably stupid. 3. Forwards can score tries, just not my forwards 4. Never underestimate the importance of the scrum-half, especially the two who scored tries 5. Seeing that BBC Six Nations promo now angers me instead of making me bop along. 6. There can be no loyalty in professional sport, or something. 7. You really can’t depend on the Welsh.