Hey Cobbers All.
I hope you’ve all had a cracker early start to the week and whatever god you bend a knee or bang a head towards is serving you a continuous stream of good weather, German pork knuckles, bottomless beers and good health.
Welcome to The Chewsday Chew. The purpose herein is not to write something overly complicated, no Pythagorean concoction of indecipherable hyperbole, but rather to pose a simple observation, question or proposition and let the good readers of this esteemed site share their opinions thereafter.
Call it the lazy man’s attempt to fill a void by poking our collective bear of rugby knowledge to share their reflections and lift the average beyond the humdrum.
To that end, the grenade to be so-hurled for this week is… (drumroll)
The weekend just gone saw Italy play Wales at Principality Stadium. Alun Wyn Jones was playing his 150th test and Danny ‘Bhoyo’ Biggar was playing his 100th. And while having a far from stellar 6 Nations to-date, the Bhoyos coach Wayne ‘Kiwi’ Pivac was surely anticipating a thorough victory to generate hearty congratulations for the two exemplars, and enough general good-natured, back-slapping bonhomie to give positive media and squad momentum leading into the upcoming June Test window versus the Jaapie Catholics. All eyes pointing forward to the future.
And fair enough too. They were playing the brave but hapless Dagoes. By the world rankings, No14 was playing No7. These poor schmucks hadn’t won a 6 Nations match since beating Scotland in 2015 and had lost their last 36 6 Nations matches straight. They did beat Uruguay 17-10 in November last year, but other than that, pickings had been slim. To be frank, the Azzuri didn’t look to have the fair-dinkum form to beat the Bungendore Mudchooks in a preseason scrap let alone challenge the might of Y Ddraig Goch.
Well if life has taught me anything, it has been to not poke the gods too hard. Those bastards in their bedsheets, Jaysus sandals and mountain retreats have a wry sense of humour. And it has been a millennia of poets, sagas, warriors and not a few Hollywood bovine excremental history ‘lessons’ that prompted a few of us about what was potentially on the horizon when the tad-over-confident met the tad-over-due.
And so the stage was set for an upset for the ages. And the Italians did not disappoint.
After doggedly keeping up with the Joneses all game, including surviving what I thought was the Wyn-ing Jones of a try at about the 75th minute (so ruled by Belgian-Irish referee Andrew Brace as held-up by the thoroughly Italian Braam Styn), the diminutive Ange Capuozzo seared down the right touchline with 2 min to go, leaving 6 or 7 defenders in his wake and delivering Edoardo Padavani a relatively easy 10 metre canter to score under the sticks and so gift Paolo Garbisi his opportunity at insta-immortality in snapping through the game-winning conversion as the clock ticked past 80min and into the red. Risultato finale 22-21 and a famous victory to Azzuri (and their U20s won as well!).
Dr Google the highlights and the post-game celebrazione so I don’t create Intellectual property issues for Sully…
And so the question I ask is this – name me another game where the victory was so unexpected and the celebration so sweet? There are some more obvious, so the more obscure, the more cred…