And another great goes …
It’s Man Saturday as far as I’m concerned. Before the Champions League Final this evening, Saracens take on Toulon in rugby’s equivalent. The beers are already chilling. Jonny Wilkinson makes his last appearance in these lands, captaining Toulon, before finishing his astonishing career for good next week in France. What a player, and what a thoroughly decent Englishman. I’d normally want Saracens to win, but Jonny W lifting the trophy (which he did a year ago) would be truly fitting. Not only did he define the Fly Half role in his prime, I reckon that with his unbelievable kicking ability he might still be the world record points scorer if it wasnt for the chronic injuries his tackling often resulted in.
Now I could mention that World Cup winning drop goal, which will always send tingles down my spine (and why not, since I was in bits by that late, late stage of the 2003 final), but I’m going to reminisce for a moment and go back to a day when I did a bit of corporate troughing at Twickenham, where England took on the mighty All Blacks.
November 2002 it was, and the All Blacks had Lomu, Doug Howlett, Tana Umaga, King Carlos Spencer and Andrew Mehrtens on the pitch. What a great team they were. But they were beaten that day by an England team which went to New Zealand six months later and beat them there, and which won the World Cup a few months later (manfully chokes back a tear at the memory). And what a great minute of rugby this was that day at Twickers, sparked off by England robbing the ball deep and Jonny W sending a wide pass to Tindall, who looks strange with hair now. It ended with 80,000 expecting Jonny W to slot over a drop goal, but he had other ideas. Come on, who can watch this and not think, what a great game this is – ? Absolute magic from a top man.