Well it seems the Celtic tiger has lost some of its roar, with Ireland whimpering to their 4th straight defeat in a row… AND to add insult to injury (literally in the case of flanker David Wallace who sustained a blow to the knee) it was by losing to England for the first time since 2003.
Ireland coach Declan Kidney looked like he was about to pass a stone as he watched his teams ineffectual performance. While Wilkinson kept the scoreboard ticking over with his usual clockwork-like precision, the highlight of the match for the home crowd was watching full-back Murphy’s try saving tackle on Manu Tuilagi, after the Anglo-Samoan made a 70m run from his own twenty-two. It was like watching a greyhound tracking down a rampaging rhino.
The Irish seemed genuinely lost at sea without General Maximus O’Driscoll to call the shots and rally the team spirit with one of his rousing ‘I have a dream’ speeches. From an English fan’s point of view, things are looking promising leading up to the World Cup. In fact, at one point something resembling a smile (though it’s hard to tell when someone’s had that much reconstructive surgery) appeared to cross Martin Johnson’s face. And yes…it was a faintly disturbing sight.