On Saturday, the England rugby team will square off against the French in their bid to win a record 13 Grand Slams, but can they overcome their recent poor form at this stage of the campaign?
“How the f**k am I going to get up there?”
My head is leaning out of the window. I keep telling her to be quiet.
“Climb the drainpipe.” I whisper as loudly as I can without waking the landlord.
She hitches up her skirt and manages to get up the drainpipe quicker than a rat. We fall into the bed laughing. My mate is out cold. I land on his head. He doesn’t wake up.
We get down to it.
The door flies open.
I hide her under the sheets.
The landlord walks over and pulls back the cover.
“Do you have any money for a cab?” she asks.
That was Ireland back when Europe’s premier rugby competition was known as the Five Nations. Why the French were in the mix is beyond me. It should have been the Four Nations. It’s got an even stranger feel to it now the Italians are getting stuffed each time the tournament emerges on the calendar.
The Welsh Valleys has been my home for most of my life. They love their rugby in God’s country. I’m English, but I’ve always supported the Welsh when it comes to rugby – apart from that time England won the World Cup. I was an England fan that day.
I got laid at the Five Nations in Ireland.
I nearly got beaten up in the Five Nations in Scotland.
I never watched a match at either event. I didn’t care about rugby. I don’t even know the rules. But I do know the Five Nations is much more than rugby tournament. It’s a part of Valley life.
As we move into the final weekend of Six Nations, it’s all over bar the shouting. The English have already won the RBS Six Nations Title after winning their first four games. A 25th Triple Crown is already in the bag. The Italians have more wooden spoons that Pinocchio.
The only chapter awaiting a final full stop is whether England can win their 13th Grand Slam? No team has ever won it more than England, but to say they have been jittery in previous years is an understatement.
England last won the Grand Slam with a dominating 42-6 victory over Ireland in 2003. It ended an eight-year silence. Ever since the Five Nations became the Six Nations in 2000, England has had five opportunities to win the Grand Slam and only taken it that once. They may start the game against France as favourites, but history frowns upon them. None of those previous four defeats were against the men from Paris.
If you fancy a flutter, England is 1/3 to win the Grand Slam and its’s 12/5 for no winner at all.
RBS 6 Nations Fixtures and Results
France 23 – 21 Italy
Scotland 9 – 15 England
Ireland 16 – 16 Wales
France 10 – 9 Ireland
Wales 27 – 23 Scotland
Italy 9 – 40 England
Wales 19 – 10 France
Italy 20 -36 Scotland
England 21 – 10 Ireland
Ireland 58 – 15 Italy
England 25 – 21 Wales
Scotland 29 – 18 France
Round 5 (Games to be played 19th March)
Wales v Italy
Ireland v Scotland
France v England
Current League Table
1st. England 8 pts
2nd. Wales 5 pts
3rd. Scotland 4 pts
4th. France 4 pts
5th. Ireland 3 pts
6th. Italy 0 pts