ANYONE else just about recovered from another outstanding weekend of rugby?
Saturday’s clash between Ireland and France was personally one of the best games of rugby I’ve ever had the joy to watch.
Scotland kept the ball rolling with an impressive win over Wales, but by Sunday the cherry never quite made it to the top of the rugby cake with an angry England dashing hopes of Italy becoming winners in Twickers.
Alas, the inevitable ups and downs of the 6 Nations will continue to be delivered after the break in play this weekend. Until then we have some great moments to reflect on from an epic Ireland win.
There was no shortage of drama throughout the 80 minutes in the Aviva and fans certainly got their money’s worth for entertainment.
Big moments in the game left us speechless at times. None more so than James Lowe with a slightly guilty look on his face when his try was awarded. We’ll say no more.
A probably less speechless moment was when we all performed, in unison, the one-line poem “How is that a yellow?”
Watching back the slow-mo clips of the tackle by Atonio on Herring I felt disappointed that the game would now be tarnished with one team left to fight on with 14 men, given the similarity to other recent incidents leading to red cards.
However, the man in the middle thought otherwise in the moment and the game flowed incredibly quickly other than that.
Limited time loafing through clips on the big screen, no calling back play for a potential something, so much going on that Barnes just let it roll. Like a hungover parent being handed the whistle on a Sunday morning at the minis rugby, not able to decide on what the outcome of the chaotic melee should be, he throws his hands in the air and shouts “play on!”
With 47 minutes of ball in play, I have to say I enjoyed it.
Irish fans were treated to more stunning moments in the game with Hugo Keenan scoring off a beautifully creative move from a midfield ruck which left the French defense in disarray.
Murray with the dummy loop, Bealham with the inside pop, Van der Flier with the blocking line from the ruck.
An excellent training ground try that’s the best feeling in the world when you pull it off. Punching my hand in the air I get a nervous twinge.
Should we not keep that one a secret? Are we showing all our cards too soon? This is a team that we will potentially meet in the quarter final, or (dare I even speak the words) the World Cup Final later this year.
However, I have to say, I trust that this team has learned from previous RWC journeys.
When Ireland have previously been top of the world, we had no experience of being there. We didn’t realise that once you reach the top, the same formula can’t keep you there.
I’m so excited for this team showing us new moves and even rehashing some old ones.
The familiar Johnny Sexton loop which had to be put away for a while was back, and the French had forgotten about it too.
I trust that we have the players and management to keep this a creative process where next time, any of the other options will work because the defense is fixed on the one that worked the last time.
However, it’s not just the battle-hardened heads of previous world cups that I think will lead us to bigger success.
It’s the exciting youth that are growing into their jerseys in green. With half an hour to go, in a game that is not certainly won nor lost, the youth were unleashed. It’s not just an exercise to build experience in a very close, high-pressure game, where players like Dupont and Penaud can change the flow of the game in seconds, it’s a message from the coach.
A message from Farrell to his young troops saying, “I trust you."
So often subs are used in dying moments of games where their addition is such a low risk to the result that all they can really do is just is to play for themselves.
Plenty to admire, plenty to look forward to, plenty of reasons for Irish fans to smile.
Now, what is everyone up to this weekend?