That time of year again, the rebirth of nature’s beauty, the longer days and the slightly warmer temperatures. Oh yeah, and the Six Nations.
The time when fans dig out their green jersey from the bottom of the wardrobe and march down to the local to watch their beloved rugby team compete for the title they have won two years in a row.
A fantastic 7 weeks of thrills and spills, it is held in high regard and many people look forward to an action-packed 7 weeks of rugby.
But like anything (excluding Dan Carter) , it has its flaws and shortcomings. Here are 5 factors that definitely contribute to this problem.
While many enjoy watching rugby matches over a few pints, it can come at a larger cost than €50 and a sick head the next morning.
This is largely due to a unique species known as ‘Irish rugby fans’ that inhabit the pub. They can come in all different forms. There are the ones who will tell you that they personally know Ian Madigan because their second cousin’s best friend knows a guy who played alongside him in secondary school.
The ones who will shout “Ah ref!” at the TV when they aren’t 100% sure what’s going on.
Who could forget the guy who will tell everyone how ‘Joe’ has got everything wrong and Ireland should go by this new-found hero’s game plan.
Occasionally, the guy whose promising career was cut short after a devastating foot injury might pop around for a visit and tell you about how he was on the edge of glory. Bringing you back in time to the day the injury happened at a Leinster trial that he was supposedly selected for.
Rugby fans are a special breed, so special that they can be the deciding factor between going to the pub to cheer Ireland on and watching the match minus the sound of incessant bullshit in the haven of your own sitting room.
England had to come into the equation somehow. This time represented by the self-proclaimed ‘King of Banter’ James Haskell.
While the England forward had a good game against Scotland, it is his actions off the field that have irked fans and pundits alike.
The Wasps’ captain- never short on confidence- was recently voted the Six Nations sexiest player by Paddy Power. Following this revelation, he then decided to make a video highlighting just how good looking he is.
While it is a tongue-in-cheek video, it is very annoying nonetheless because. well, you know it’s James Haskell.
Check out the video. I’m sure you could burst his ego with a blunt pencil; it’s that over-inflated.
On top of this, his Valentine’s message to former team mate Sergio Parisse was both bizarre and cringe-inducing in equal measure. Bin the selfie stick and focus on the rugby, James.
The World Cup hangover
The last World Cup was electrifying and seemed to have everything. Towards the business end of the tournament, it was all about the other side of the equator as all Rugby Championship sides occupied the semi-final spots.
We grew accustomed to seeing the likes of Argentina and Australia play with pace and panache but it was cruelly ripped from us faster than you can say ‘ Richie McCaw’. It was then replaced with the scrum-fest that is the 2016 Six Nations.
The intensity and urgency of the World Cup is stark in contrast to the stop-start nature of Northern Hemisphere egg-chasing. Less weights, more soft hands please.
The shadow in the Stadio Olimpico
As Irish people, we aren’t used to the sunshine and when we watch Italy on TV, it can be very very annoying.
Not because Italy usually come so close to beating teams and then shoot themselves in the foot, but because of that cursed side of the pitch that always seems to be eclipsed by the shadow that the stadium casts.
Without fail, it rears its ugly head every year and is the bugbear of many armchair pundits.
“TMO, try yes or no?” asks the referee. “I don’t have a clue, I can’t see anything with that f**king shadow,” replies the official.
France V Ireland
Jesus, what was going on there? A truly awful game that had nothing but scrums, errors and more scrums.
Had Ireland won, they would have left Paris slightly dejected given the performances of the two teams.
In fairness to France, in a scrum heavy game they took Ireland apart in the second half to claim their first victory against them in 5 years.
It was just a god awful game that no spectator deserved to be subjected to. Again, World Cup hangover.