Self-Loathing Tendencies

Nobody does heartbreak like the Irish.  We are still SO cut up about Sunday – whatever about BNZ’s ruthlessness at the endgame, this team were brilliant and BNZ were blessed, utterly blessed. And the manner of the defeat – having it snatched from your grasp like that – is the worst bit. Sure, it was a (relatively) meaningless November international, but BNZ desperately wanted to win to preserve their oh-so-perfect year, and we did everything but win.

We aren’t sure we have emerged from the zombie-like PTSD, but we’ve got enough perspective to work out how much it hurts … relative to other heartache Ireland have put us through in recent years.  The list is long, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  1. Argentina, World Cup 2007 This was horrendous. An awful tournament came to a jarring halt – toyed with by a team who hated us, and enjoyed their humiliation of us immensely. A complete non-performance that capped a month of them. The team were whacked and bagged so comprehensively, we felt like a boxer reeling from a barrage of punches. Expectations were high, disappointment even higher. Palla was there, having enjoyed a barmy Peak Of The Celtic Tiger blowout in Paris, drinking champagne from shoes and making our way home most ‘nights’ with the morning commuters.  That night though, barely able to speak, we went back to our mediocre lodgings and had an early night.
  2. BNZ, 2013 Can’t talk about it yet
  3. France, 2007 Palla sat in Croke Park for a good 30 minutes after the game, unable to move. To have come so close against our closest rivals for the championship, but to give it up when so much needed to go France’s way for that try to count – soul-destroying. But Vincent Clerc was a great player, the France team was excellent, and we nearly won despite being shorn of POC and BOD. Sure, it robbed us of a Grand Slam, but only in retrospect. Plus we took out England in spectacular fashion on the back of the pain
  4. Argentina, 1999 It wasn’t so much losing, as the manner of it. A rubbish game, and an utter lack of guile in the final minutes – the world had moved on and we were being left behind. The future looked bleak, coming on the back of a decade of defeats, and one worried about when we would ever see Ireland back at the top table. Simply awful.
  5. Australia, 1991 We weren’t old enough to appreciate the full pain of this one, but that’s not to say it wasn’t painful. There was a weird inevitability about it.  The scenes in Lansdowne Road were hairs on the back of the neck stuff, but this Ireland team couldn’t finish a packet of crisps.  Australia didn’t have long to score, but you just had the feeling they would.
  6. Wales, 2011 Ireland’s performances in the pool stages in New Zealand had blown the tournament wide open.  The team were playing brilliantly and clearly enjoying themselves. A path to the final had opened up with only Northern Hemisphere teams blocking the route. We thought Ireland had changed. But they hadn’t. It was like being stood up at a date with the girl of your dreams.  For Palla it was the most surreal of the lot.  Having been down in New Zealand and watched the pool games amid an ever-increasing feel-good factor, suddenly he was getting up at 8am to watch Ireland lose.  Had the previous four weeks been a weird dream?
  7. England, 2008 Forget the context of Eddie’s regime collapsing. Forget the lesson in game management Ireland got from Danny Cipriani. Forget the English joy at our hubris from 2007 being thrown back in our faces. And remember this – we lost by 23 points … and Lesley Vainikolo was playing for the team that beat us. Shameful.
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  1. montigol

     /  November 27, 2013

    Archives of Pain:
    1. Last Sunday. Not sh*tting you, as someone who doesn’t care about World Cups this is the biggest One That Got Away ever. Even in the French game, we got to kick off again. This infection is deep in the last wound.
    2. Vinny Clarke: couldn’t enjoy the English game as much as I should have. Had never felt *this* feeling before. Sunday was a multiple of it though.
    3. Australia 1991. Cut back to the studio and Mick Doyle was crying. I was 8, but understood.
    4. Paris, RWC 2007. The slowest and most cumbersome of ceremonial drownings. After this the Argentina game didn’t hurt a bit, knowing how badly we were limping at that stage. At least the Argentine fans were great company, and we didn’t have to trudge to St. Denis.
    5. The rest is a blur.

    My god, imagine we’d ballsed up the Grand Slam too?

    • solidalarry

       /  November 27, 2013

      My god, imagine we’d ballsed up the Grand Slam too?

      Cue years of nightmares screaming “Wallace! Paddy Fucking Wallace!” while asleep.

  2. Cravshee

     /  November 27, 2013

    The Wales defeat in 2011 was a loss that lingered heavily for weeks, but that day itself was horrible. Wandering around slightly tipsy, very depressed and then being asked by herself who was only getting out of bed as it was still only 8 in the morning at the weekend “how did we get on?”. I could barely summon a response.

  3. The 2003 WC QF against France was a truly hideous watching experience. 43-0 down after 47 minutes, despite the fact that we had shown we could mix it with the best against Australia shortly beforehand. The fightback didn’t really make it any better. And the fact that it was the magnificent Keith Wood’s last game… A heartbreaker.

    • Yeah, that was an awful experience in a different sort of way. Freddie Michalak looked set for a decade as a fly-half without peer. It lasted a week…

  4. Are we all the same age? My eight-year-old self did also realise what was going on at the ’91 QF, to some degree, although full appreciation only came later.

    Before moving onto the adult pain: the 2008 game against England was a stinker and, not just Vainikolo, if you look back at the teams it’s hard to fathom. A real non-starter on our part (despite taking a facile lead). And Cipriani wasn’t that good, we got flayed up front. But given the slew of utterly crap performances we’ve seen in recent years, it’s just another knotch on the prison cell wall.

    Argentina 1999 was a massive low, but probably a watershed moment, so at least some good came of it.

    Last Sunday… oooof.

    Wales 2011 is the definitive Kidney game, in my opinion. All the failings laid bare. Don’t want to talk about it, we were second best.

    However, 2007 is, with hindsight, one long year of teasing, pain and misery. The France game in the Six Nations was obviously horrific, but it didn’t end there. Last minute tries for both Italy and France on the final day, anyone? Then, with hope billowing our sails, it was off the World Cup, and a month-long, slow-motion, disaster-at-sea sinking nightmare. Every single match was cruel.

    Why do I love this game, someone tell me?

    • Len

       /  November 27, 2013

      The Italian try being a gift from us due to a pointless pick and go when a shot on goal was the correct call.

      • Nonsense, the Italian try was the culmination of a long series of plays following a turnover when we ran the ball, trying to build up as big a lead when we had already scored numerous tries playing cracking stuff, because we had no idea how big of a lead that the French would be attacking. Nothing to regret about the Italian game. “Don’t die wondering” as Eddie would have put it. “You can’t unring a bell” as he also might have said. The regret was all in the bouncing ball in the French game.

        • If those games were simultaneous we probably would have won the tournament that year. Balls

        • You can’t unring a bell indeed, but the looks on the players faces at the end told a hell of a story. Those sort of moments have a habit of proving significant…

    • Buccaneer

       /  November 27, 2013

      That world cup as a whole was torture. Georgia were camped on our line at the end. I remember watching it through my fingers in the pub. A heap of soccer ball merchants asking me what’s going on. ‘Eh I thought Georgia were crap, should we not be winning by 50 points?’ That defined the misery for me

  5. contraflow

     /  November 27, 2013

    NZ v Ireland 1992 should be added to the list.

    A lot of 3rd string Irish players were called upon for this tour as many of the established players cried off due to such things as “work commitments”, take a bow Franno, the man who labelled Leinster “the Ladyboys”. Truth was Franno and his ilk didn’t fancy touring NZ and being smashed by the Kiwi’s. Ireland did lose by circa 90 points to Auckland on this tour.

    In the first test Ireland surprised everyone and raced into a lead and had it reeled in in the second half, something vaguely familiar out this you might find. Heartbreakingly, Ronnie Carey, one of the 3rd stringers, just fumbled an intercept in the dying minutes which would have been a certain try and assured victory. One more time Ireland let NZ off the hook and ensure our embarrassing record against them is continued… sigh… facepalm…

    Youtube link below, doesn’t have the intercept fumble unfortunately:

  6. Len

     /  November 27, 2013

    2001 – a bovine malady, a six month break and an abject performance against a poor Scottish side we should have hockeyed and we cough up our best chance of a championship in nearly two decades and a grand slam in four. We then destroy Wales and England.

  7. 60-0 not on the list lads? Single most abject, useless, soulless performance I’ve ever seen. Never had I ever believed that an Ireland team could be so poor. It is the only game I can remember where it felt like Ireland had given up, and for that reason it ranks as my absolute worst performance from Ireland.

    I do hope WOC, that you’re going to do a reverse of this blog, make us feel better by giving your top 5 best Ireland wins… 🙂

    • Luckily we never saw any of the tour games from the Development Tour in 1998 – we got our hoops handed to us by NZ club teams.

      Pacific Islands 2006 will always be a highlight

  8. Patrick O'Riordan

     /  November 27, 2013

    2007 France, 2013 NZ and 1991 Australia would be the ones that I’d have on my heartbreaker list. Ireland played well in all these games but lost in the final minutes so the “what ifs” are more acute. For the other games, Ireland generally played rubbish from the outset so a defeat wasn’t that much of a surprise. I’d also have 2001 NZ on my list. Very similar to 2013 as Ireland started magnificently, scored a number of tries, built up a lead, but the NZ fight back started earlier. That was the game that did for Gatland as Ireland didn’t really have a defensive system to keep NZ out… I’d thought we’d advanced but sadly no…

  9. Jimbob

     /  November 27, 2013

    The big difference in the other losses and this one is that the others were all the end of something… a world cup campaign or a coaches tenure. They were so utterly deflating in that we had to start all over again to get back to that same position.
    Losing on Sunday was heartbreaking, but ultimately positive. I woke up on monday morning still heartbroken but eager for more of this Ireland team. I can’t wait for the 6N to roll around, I think Joe Schmidt is smart enough to stand back from this game (and the rest of the AI’s), take the good and the bad and use it to optimise performance – Ireland can get much better than those 79 minutes.

  10. NiOE

     /  November 27, 2013

    I think you would have to have one of the close calls on tour against NZ on there. From the 2nd test: what if Poite hadn’t overruled Owens for that knock on or had that scrum call gone our way at the end? What if Owens had let us take the kick down the line instead of the shot, or had seen McCaw’s knock on in the build up to NZ’s winning drop?

    I remember sitting on my bunk in the middle of the night watching this, being absolutely crushed at the end. The look on BOD’s face afterwards, you could see the realization that all his years of endeavor amounted to nothing. Heartbreaker

  11. Wales 2011 closely followed by France 2007 for me. Dunedin and Lens were heartbreaking too.

    Never have I been son angry after a game than that Welsh game though. A huge chance pissed up against the wall.

  12. 1. Argentina, World Cup 2007 We were bullied and we capitulated. the worst part was we got exactly what we deserved

    2. BNZ, 2013 Had a bit of PTSD driving past the Aviva yesterday. Still haven’t fully processed it. Blessed to have been there but it destroyed me. A gentleman I’m working with who is older and wiser than me told me he had sworn to himself not let sport affect him on this deep level. This was the match that broke that. What chance did I have?

    3. France, 2007 I burst out crying in the middle of Croke Park. My boyfriend of the time was with me and clearly hadn’t a notion how to deal with this reaction. He gingerly patted me on the back and just kept saying “It’s ok” over and over again. No dude, it is not.

    4. Argentina, 1999 – I was only about 13 and was literally baffled by this. It’s hard to comprehend the team you support being crap at that age. You think cos you support them they’ll automatically win or at least play well cos you’re a bit of a self-absorbed gobshite. Well I was. Seriously how can you crash out of the world cup when I have deigned to watch you? Cos you weren’t very good

    5. Australia, 1991 – I’m too young for a personal reaction of this one. However Daddy Mc was there, on one of the very rare occasions he attended an international without Mammy Mc, who had just given birth to Mini Mc. He said for that three minutes it was sheer magic. I’d say this is the one that haunts him in a way Sunday will haunt me. He’s older now and was pretty philosophical about Sunday, even in the direct aftermath.

    6. Wales, 2011 I think it was the fact that there was no plan B on show that killed me. I was screaming “just do something!” at the TV. The Welsh were good of course and excellently coached. You just felt that if we switched it up instead of trying to do the same thing over and over again it could have been very different. a huge comedown, especially for all mates who had returned for the RWC. I was working and couldn’t go but I’d say they felt worse than I did having been a part of it all.

    7. England, 2008 We were pretty smug really, thinking we could just waltz into Twickenham and automatically repeat a performance that was on our own patch with so much history and effort behind it. We were quite arrogant. It’s symptomatic of the issue we have with being favourites, which actually is a bit of a pattern here. It needs to die. Immediately.

    • Really surprised at the reaction to the Argentina game in that World Cup. Everyone I remember at the game knew the jig was up. Sure we’d just about puked past Georgia and didn’t we have to win by 3 tries to none or something? I remember the event as blackly comedic.

      • I hear you montigol, and yet, and yet… I count the deflation after that game among the worst on record.

        I guess maybe we dared to dream? The team was surely talented enough to turn it around? I didn’t think we’d go out and score the four tries agaist Argentina, but I had a vision of us going down swinging. I was left with the emptiest of feelings. We simply had not fired a shot.

      • curates_egg

         /  November 28, 2013

        Exactly Montigol. After having spent weeks and lots of money following the 2007 gong-show, the Argentina game was a massive relief. Euthanasia. It was also our best performance of the 4 games. But, by then, anyone who still thought we were in with a shot was utterly delusional. They should have instead enjoyed the finale. We were playing in a lovely stadium, with steak-frites on its doorstep (unlike fecking St Denis)…and Hernandez was utter class: at the peak of his powers.

  13. @Completebore

     /  November 27, 2013

    These comments are making me feel very, very old. I was 15 in 1991, watching the match in school of all places, putting the school magazine together (oh, I was quite the tearaway in my youth!). Still makes me hate the Wobblies and delight in every (rare) defeat we inflict on them. Thing about that game and the one on Sunday is that, to deploy an old cliche, its the hope that kills you. Most of the rest on the list (save France in Croker) were just rotten performances that never got going and its like watching a car-crash in slow-motion (there’s another cliche, wine at lunch was not a good idea). But the worst ones are where you think they might get home and then..and then…

  14. El Greco

     /  November 27, 2013

    I agree with adding the ’92 loss to NZ. The loss to NZ in 2001 when we were 21-7 up in the second half was nowhere near as traumatic; there was never a sense that we would hold out. I was at the game in RWC game in ’91. I was at the diametrically opposite side of Lansdowne when Hamilton scored in the corner. The silence was such after Noddy scored to win the game that you could hear the players cheering and whooping. That Ireland were beaten by a team that went on to beat NZ in a cracking semi-final (again attended by your truly) and then win the final was of little consolation to this callow 19 y/o student.

    As a side note I see that a few players are out of contract at the end of this season and the usual gambit of “I’ll play in France” is being mooted already. I’d love to know, given Sexton’s workload, what the earning per minute value is. I reckon he is getting paid less per minute of rugby in France than he was in Ireland as a centrally contracted player. I wonder will this factor into the equations of some of the agents?

    • Xyz

       /  November 27, 2013

      While a lazy git likes me sympathises with your earnings/minute metric the more relevant statistic is probably earnings/career, which might lean more towards making hay while the sun shines.

    • A lot expiring at once, with many Mr 15%’s undoubtedly facing a big few weeks. We’ll be posting on it this week

    • Stevo

       /  November 28, 2013

      While earnings per time worked probably matters to the majority of us in our 9-to-5s, that’s hardly the case for professional rugby players who are getting paid to do what they love doing.

  15. Well, this is an interesting remedy for pain and hurt: simply salve with the balm of earlier, equally cruel and bitter memories. Hey WoC, thanks guys.
    I could have stopped reading of course but, as you see, didn’t. Was strangely compelling, picking at the ancient scabs. Maybe it is somehow cathartic after all, though dammed if I know how exactly. (Must be the “burden shared” principal).

    Anyway, for my own tuppence worth, v France & Vincent Clerc was the worst of the very bad lot. Still wince when i think of it, (which is more often than i should) Still rankles deeply down there.
    I’m well old enough to have grown-up memories of Hamiliton, Lynagh & ’91 too. Remember the howls of rage and pain then too. Watched it with my dad.
    When I expressed my sense of deep injustice he said it was anything but unjust: reckoned Australia had simply glanced at clock, believed in & backed themselves and gone up another gear when they needed it.

    That remind us of anyone?
    That Australia team was a brilliant side, full of hardworking, natural winners. Bit like this current BNZ lot.
    We have to learn to think like them, (really think like them) or we’ll be singing this What-if tune for another 109 years. Or rather our grandchildren will, probably by some weird form of electronic digital-assisted telepathy we can’t even fathom right now.

    Oddly enough though, feeling quite optimistic, about the “leaning and mentality” bit (and the future results that would accrue from it) Partly because i think Irish culture itself is getting better that way. Mostly because i rate these players (and the coach) in terms of both ability, mentality and brains. But of course, that might be the hope bits that kills us, again, 4 months or 21 months from now. Let’s wait and see.

    • Yes indeed – a nation matures! Easter Sunday in 2016 is 27th March, the earliest week available and the weekend after the last round of the Six Nations. This has to be set up for Ireland’s greatest Grand Slam and an absolute nutjob fortnight!!

      • If we win a Grand Slam in our centenary 2016 year, I personally will explode with pride. -then drink for a month obviously (the only call each day will be Guinness or champagne) The only thing we’ll have to watch out for is all the madja buzz along those lines in the weeks leading up. You know what i mean, don’t want our Ulster Irish players feeling not a part of it all.
        Speaking of which, wasn’t Rory Best immense on Sunday. Getting up with a broken arm, then running over to help clear out a ruck? That’s pretty much Wayne Shelford stuff.

  16. osheaf01

     /  November 27, 2013

    Was at the game on Sunday; still disgusted over it.
    3 recent disappointments that have gone unmentioned:
    Australia 2003 WC, and Humphreys’ drop goal missing by a whisker. Had it gone over, Scotland rather than France in the QF.
    England 2003 Grand Slam match. We got well beaten in the end, but massively disappointing.
    France 2005 6 Nations, penultimate round. We had to win to set up a Grand Slam decider vs Wales in Cardiff. We didn’t turn up and lost by 7 points.

    • Buccaneer

       /  November 27, 2013

      All the non showings against France in general in the last decade. 4 triple crowns (a whisker away from a fifth) and only one grand slam. 2 horrid beatings in the world cup as well. That little ba5t@rd Vincent Clerc! He loved scoring tries against Ireland. Even the last 2 draws we gave up winning positions. There is definitely a mental thing almost on a par with BNZ when it comes to France.

  17. Bowe Gathers

     /  November 27, 2013

    Still have memories of the silence in Croke Park when Clerc went over. My abiding memory is the french brass band that started up the minute he crossed the whitewash. It was like the opening scene from Saving Private 6N with sound effects from the Salvation Army. Deeply scarring.

  18. SMH

     /  November 27, 2013

    I was in the West Stand for Irl v Aus in 1991 and it is still the most electric match atmosphere I have ever experienced at Lansdowne Road or anywhere else.

    There was something spookily similar about how Rob Kearney raced up the touchline on Sunday, and Gordon Hamilton’s try in ’91. I had the exact same feeling of nervous hope after both of them. 1991 was more gutting though. There was a world cup semi-final at stake.

    Can’t wait to see which version of Ireland shows up for the Six Nations.

  19. Leinsterlion

     /  November 27, 2013

    07 WC, everything about it, all was going right, team was in top nick physically, coming off a good (nearly great) 6 nations, almost like a sprinter warming up through the heats, not peaking. Playing some good stuff, talk of going there to do some serious damage in the later rounds, semi was a given in my mind.
    We all know what happened, ROGs time as an international ten was over, EOS hasnt been employed since. I was in Bordeaux for Nambibia and Georgia and back home for the Paris capitulation(and what should have been the end of EOS tenure). Every single game was like the NZ game, painful to watch until the Pumas had the decency to deliver the coup de grace, eliminating my unrealistic optimism that we could turn it on for one game and win.
    The fact we had an external review(that scapegoated McGurn) amidst much media wailing and gnashing of teeth, shows how much this loss hurt, it was utterly unexpected and everyone was thrown for six, has to be the biggest shock.
    I was 12 for 03, but that sense of optimism wasn’t there like in 07, so it hurt, but not entirely unexpected.

  20. Thanks for the comments guys. Safe to say the well of despair is deep, so we can all have a drink. We expected you all to come up with more guttural disappointments and you have not disappointed.

    Anyone remember the bizarre sporting day that was the day we lost the 2007 Championship to France’s last minute try against Scotland? Later that night we beat Pakistan in cricket. Bizarro! I was at ahouse party around the corner from my parents house and my cricket-loving dad was texting me excitedly. I ran home to catch the action!

    • Buccaneer

       /  November 27, 2013

      It was Paddy’s day. Watched it in my sisters house. Everyone was hammered after the Italy match singing we are the champions. There were tears come 6 o’clock!

  21. Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh

     /  November 27, 2013

    My earliest memory of my life as an Irish team supporter is running onto the pitch at Lansdowne Rd, to pat Tom Kiernan on the back and tell him well done, ‘cos we’d just beat England. He must have been amused, as I was only about ten and my hand probably only reached the small of his back. Much as I am still bullin to this day about the horror that was Hamilton, I have to agree with Shane O’Leary. We totally unnecessarily threw away the quarter-final against Wales 2011. The expectation before the match, that we’d win, filled me with foreboding. And then to play a running game with ROG instead of having him kick for field position. If that was the plan, why didn’t DK play Sexton. To this day I don’t understand it!!!!!

    • osheaf01

       /  November 29, 2013

      And to turn down kickable penalties, just because we were 0-7 down, with ROG on the pitch instead of Sexton.(Even LeinsterLion will concede ROG is/was a better, more reliable goalkicker than Sexton?). In NFL, the motto is to “kick the field goal” in a playoff game, and the same applied here. Same applied on Sunday too – posters have said we should have kicked to the corner for the penalty at the end of the first half, or with 5 minutes to go. No. You take the points.

  22. Ciano

     /  November 27, 2013

    Oh jeyasus I was still up on the ghostie from the night before that time in 2007…got arrested that night scantilly clad with a green mowhawk in Ringsend.

    I disagree with the claim that NZ were ‘blessed’ though; unless of course you claim that their luck is based entirely on our own capitulation.

    On 50 mins I text a mate saying “we’re going to lose this game”, it all looked so familiar as we kept spilling the egg every time we got in their 22. We were ‘as innocent’ as we say in the North East and I’d seen it so many times before. I can’t remember a late Irish try.

  23. Paddy o

     /  November 27, 2013

    Ah lads, I’m totally with Jimbob on this one. Hard as this defeat is to stomach, it is different. I was one of a minority who fancied us to win this game before the match and although it just, just didn’t happen it feels much more like a step on the way to something rather than the serfs being put into place by their landlords ((c) Nigel wray). (!?)

    For the players involved – it sucks and perhaps it ain’t much of a consolation that their efforts will help provide a platform for someone else to get all the glory some day, but still – who knows what positives might come from this. Might bod decide to again have one last crack? I certainly haven’t yet heard Schmidt accept his letter of resignation. Might it make us make us that bit better and bitter?

    I know this much – prior to the grand slam winning game jack Kyle was interviewed and he was brilliant. He said something like “go and win. We’ve dined out on our victory for far too long and I’m fed up with it.” So for the players involved they should know that the eternal adulation of being “legends” or liginds or whatever….it’s not really all it is cracked up to be. Perhaps I’m over optimistic, but I’d take my leave from Gordon Darcy who was first out, first thing at training the other morning (and then later appeared to have a speeding fine wiped for services to mother Ireland!) to just get back on the horse. There is something exciting about having goals which you know are enormously difficult to achieve, whilst also knowing that they ARE achievable.

  24. Paddy o

     /  November 27, 2013

    Agh….Take a lead from darce, not leave.

  25. Cardiff 1969 was my worst viewing. We set the bar low in those days but we were going for a triple crown having beaten Scotland and England. Just a few minutes into the match, home town thug Brian Price KO’d Noel Murphy right
    in front of the ref who did nothing. Down to 14 we went on to lose of course.
    From that point on, I have always wanted the Welsh to lose every match – even if they were playing the a Taliban 15.
    The next year in Dublin we beat up a terrified Wales – 14-0 was the final sore with the late Ken Goodall rampant but it did not really compensate.

    Another horrible beating happened in March 1988 at Twickenham.
    It was the final match and England had not scored a try that season until then.
    The half time score was 3-3 but in the second half they ran the ball – shock horror ! .
    Six tries later the the score was 38-3 in the day when a try was worth 4 points.
    Rory Underwood end Chris Oti ran amok and the new lumbering Dean Richards- faster than Owen Farrell – bossed the Irish pack.
    Worst of all It marked the first renditions of “Swing Low” by a group of schoolboys
    from a Benedictine School, later excommunicated I hope.
    Ever since,I have had a dread that at any given moment England will turn on the
    style and give us a thumping. I do not mind losing by 9 penalties from robot “Nigel”
    at No 10 but to be beaten by a Pom side showing flair against us but not against anybody else is humiliating.
    Your list, WOC, listed the most recent terrible losses but France 2007 had me muttering
    ” the Ineptitude the ineptitude” for days afterwards like the chap who muttered “the
    horror” at the end of Apocalypse Now”

    • This is my favourite comment ever – thanks Hansie!

    • Stevo

       /  November 28, 2013

      That 1988 championship is one of the earliest I can recall, and I remember watching in horror as England suddenly morphed from a side who were considered no-hopers (having finished 4th or 5th for the previous 5 years) into apparent world beaters. In the following years as England became the dominant team in Europe it always felt to me as if that game was a catalyst for their transformation.

      • Wasn’t there a massive punch-up in a game with Wales around then that ended up in a bit of squad upheavel and ushered in the likes of Bum Chin, Guscott, Richards, Moore etc? All of whom backboned the early 1990s vintage

        • osheaf01

           /  November 29, 2013

          Geoff Cooke took over in late 1987 and ushered out the amateurs who were in the England team for Social Rugby. People like Maurice Colclough. He basically applied a professional setup to what had been a very amateurish setup. That was more than enough to give them a huge edge over Ireland, who were the most amateurish team, with Wales, well into the 1990s.
          We beat England 17-0 at home in the 1987 Five Nations, and I remember nobody was particularly surprised. That’s how bad they were.

  26. curates_egg

     /  November 28, 2013

    Sorry but Argentina in 2007 was not heartbreaking, it was a massive bloody relief. Having followed the team around that disastrous world cup, the Argentina game was welcome euthanasia. It was actually the best performance the side put in as well.

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