Rugby Fantasies #4

Vive la France!

Sunday arrived, and with it some better news and a sunnier prospect for my Six Nations chances. Nothing this week felt better than watching Matthieu Bastareaud hurl all 17 stone of his enormity over the line for France. I shouted, I cheered, I even jumped up and did a little dance (my dad had just left the room). If Saturday was abject failure, Sunday was about as good as it got.No one at home really got why I was so happy that France had beaten Scotland. It was difficult to explain that I really couldn’t care less that France had won; that it was all about Bastareaud and his two lovely tries. They just looked at me funny, and told me to come eat my dinner before it got cold. They’ll never understand me the way the Observer-ites do. Bastareuad was my knight in shining crazy armour, the antidote to my terrible England woes... well, he was, until Harinor("like the soup")doquy won the Man of the Match award. That got a reverse air grab (I’m not sure what those are called, but I enjoyed executing one ever so much).It would appear that France are my new favourite team – only in fantasy terms naturally; Ireland are still top of the reality pile. I chose Bastareaud last week after hearing his bizarre back story: the made up fight with some Kiwis; the trip to the psychiatric facility; the dropping from the team; the hoped-for return to glory... how could anyone not be moved to choose him in their backs? Added to this the fact that he is possibly the biggest back I have ever seen and the thought that he might trample over anyone with ease, and he was most definitely in. In and over the line, twice!My other French signing was less about sympathy, second chances and size, and more about being told to “pick Aaron Orducy”, again, twice. I couldn’t find an Aaron on the French team, but the notion that I may have misheard his name crossed my mind, and so I plumped for the similar-sounding Harinordoquy. That’s practically the same anyway. I was surprised to find he isn’t the French captain; he looked every inch the captain, the way he was slapping his teammates on the arse during the game, but maybe that’s just a nervous tic.On a tighter note, those Italian lads on Saturday may have been hampered by their extremely tight short shorts. Number 22 in particular sticks in my mind as being particularly susceptible to a reduced sperm count if he keeps going the way he is. I think England should be wary on Sunday, just in case that was the issue. Of course their own cause might be furthered by not having to duck to avoid Spider Cam as it swings low (I know, I know).There now follows an empassioned speech:
Dear BBC,Please stop using Spider Cam.Thank you.Yours, etc.
Really though - I don’t want to see the aerial shot of the seven burly types desperately trying to untangle themselves from the ruck when the ball has already moved fifteen metres up the pitch. And as much as I would love for Spider Cam to clatter Jonny across the head as he lines up a penalty (thus making way for you-know-who) I don’t think it’s very fair for the players to have to worry about that as well. Also, we’re the poor saps who have to play in Twickenham next, and I like Ronan’s head attached to his neck thank you.Speaking of you-know-who, I have a very not-difficult decision to make amongst the many tricky ones. The tricky ones being the matter of Gareth Cooper being shocking, but still starting for Wales. And the return of Riki 'No C' Flutey. Do I abandon Mathew Tait for Riki, thus using a precious transfer? What about Lee Byrne? Should I got for James Hook instead? He scored last week, but can he repeat the show? How many of those five transfers can I realistically use in one week without crying next week when three players get injured? I know I’m sticking with my Irish lads, I still think they’re the way to go, but maybe I should change Ryan Jones - he was fairly anonymous on Saturday... How am I supposed to think about all of these things, and make the easiest, most heart-breaking decision of all?As the week goes on, it’s only going to get harder. I should take a leaf out of my esteemed news colleague’s book and just get it over with. So here goes.I’m sorry Toby, but you’re not even starting, and although I’m more sure by the minute that you’ll come on in the second half, I just can’t take the points battering my loyalty to you gave me last time. It’s not you, it’s Martin Johnson. But I will read your Six Nations diary on Friday, I promise. And I will cheer, not cry if you do come on and score… Hmm, maybe you’ll come on and score…