The Six Nations rugby championships is back and they’re dancing in the streets of Dublin as the local team see off Les Bleus with a fine performance.

My allegiance remains with England however. They also opened with a win but by a scoreline that was no reflection of the general play. The Azzurri of Italia self-destructed by selecting career-flanker Mauro Bergamasco in the crucial and specialist role of scrum half, with inevitable consequences. The only reason coach Mallett didn’t haul him off before half time was, he said, out of respect for his man.

Ben Dirs has put up the perfect metaphor for this extraordinary selection on the BBC website (click on title for the full text). He relates how, in 1962, two American scientists injected an elephant with a huge amount of LSD to ‘see what would happen’. The results were just as predictable as at Twickers 47 years later.

But at least England won, which is more than can be said for their cricket team. Bowled out for 51 in Jamaica by the basket cases of world cricket (if one ignores Zimbabwe). The trouble is that the eleven that played are pretty much the best that we’ve got, which is scary.

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