LWTL Wins Gold Award for Customer service



1. A precious metal which might be a good thing to have stored under your pillow.
2. The colour of the medal you might win were you to compete at the Olympics* and be better than anyone else.
3. A Spandau Ballet single released in 1983. As in,  “You’ve got the power to know
You’re indestructible, always believe in, ‘cos you are
Gold”  and so on. 
4. The colour of the Trusted Award we have been given for our independently verified, magnificent customer service over the last year.
We are very proud to have been able to offer so many fantastic tours one the years. For much of the time, all the hard work that goes into making these trips such a success goes unseen. Often, on return from one tour the team immediately gets on with preparing the next one for departure. In the case of the winter cricket tours, no sooner had our clients returned from Sri Lanka it was time to prepare for the Windies Cricket Tour.

The Gold Trusted service award from our reviews partner, Feefo, is not only an endorsement of all the work we put into make the tours such a great success but also in support of all the help we receive from our overseas agents who make all these tours go without so much of a hitch – most of the time ;-)… Thank you to you too.   LWTL Wins Gold Award for Customer service feefo-logo-300x59  


Thank You!

Finally, we really could not do it without you, our lovely customers. Some of whom return annually for their overseas sporting fix and some of whom appear every 4 years for the British & Irish Lions. So, whether you are an old touring pro or you are a one time trip of a lifetime kind of a person we thank you for travelling with us and trusting us with your all your touring needs.
Of course, you may not have travelled with us before and therefore not know first hand how great we are at what we do. Now you don’t need to just take our word for it! Once you’ve had a good read of our reviews select your tour , sign up and come join in with the fun. With the England Cricket team touring South Africa this winter and the Guinness Six Nations next February there is a lot to look forward to. Who knows one of the teams you watch could be a World Cup winner….
*other sporting events are available.

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Sri Lanka Fund Raising – Please Help

Weʼre raising £5,000 to donate to Butterfly Vacations for all those who work so hard to help make our tours such a success.

Following the tragic events on Easter Day, LWTL are raising some money for our friends in Sri Lanka.
As a small gesture of kindness to all those who work so hard to help make our tours such a success, we would like to show our support by arranging a donation to Butterfly Vacations (now Tripavi). They will then ensure money reaches those members of their extended team most in need of help. With your help we hope to raise £5000.
To find more information and to donate please go to our Just Giving page https://bit.ly/2DXcxyU and donate whatever you can. Better still if you are within the top 10 donors we’ll enter your name into the draw to win a signed Murali cricket ball! Please share with as many people as you can
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Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help ButterflyTeam

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Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help Tour4

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LWTL Thoughts With Sri Lanka

We are deeply saddened by recent events in Sri Lanka, which have shocked a very happy nation as we knew it before. We have been in touch with our local partners, their families and those who we had the pleasure of meeting on recent tours and we are pleased to say that everyone is safe and well.
Our immediate thoughts are with those affected by this tragic event and we would like to offer our continued support by remaining positive about Sri Lanka and give the communities some time to heal. LWTL look forward to touring to Sri Lanka in the future.


Patrick, Gail, Craig, Lorri, Mike, Caitie

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England preliminary 15-man ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Squad

England National Cricket Selectors have named a 15-man preliminary squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup starting at the end of May and an extended 17-man squad for the five-match Royal London ODI series against Pakistan, which precedes the World Cup.

Eoin Morgan (CPT)
Moeen Ali
Jonny Bairstow
Jos Buttler (WKT)
Tom Curran
Joe Denly
Alex Hales
Liam Plunkett
Adil Rashid
Joe Root
Jason Roy
Ben Stokes
David Willey
Chris Woakes
Mark Wood

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2020 Guinness Six Nations


Wales v Italy (2.15pm)
Ireland v Scotland (4.45pm)


France v England (3.00pm)


Ireland v Wales (2.15pm)
Scotland v England (4.45pm)


France v Italy (3.00pm)


Italy v Scotland (2.15pm)
Wales v France (4.45pm)


England v Ireland (3.00pm)

MARCH 7th:

Ireland v Italy (2.15pm)
England v Wales (4.45pm)

MARCH 8th:

Scotland v France (3.00pm)

MARCH 14th:

Wales v Scotland (2.15pm)
Italy v England (4.45pm)
France v Ireland (8.00pm)

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A 2019 Six Nations Wrap

The Six Nations always throws up some surprises and some great games. There had been witterings that this year’s version hadn’t quite lived up to expectations. These expectations were perhaps overly high following such a successful Autumn series for the home nations but the fans, as we always do, expected. We entered the final weekend of the tournament with Wales on the brink of another Slam, England waiting in the wings for a slip up and the Scots and the Irish in damage limitation mode. There was also a game in Rome, and whilst unfair to the protagonists, did anyone actually care?
Italy 14 – 25 France
Wales 25 – 7 Ireland
England 38 – 38 Scotland

The Grand Slam

In real terms this meant the Warren Gatland’s prophecy came true and Wales achieved a remarkable 3rd Grand Slam in his 11 year tenure. He and his coaching team are amazing and deserve all the plaudits they get. They say a dog owner starts to look like his dog. The same, it seems, goes for a national rugby team and their defensive coach. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine popping your shorts on and getting ready to run into 23 Shaun Edwards. No thank you very much. Doubtless Mr Edwards would’ve been furrowing his brow when Ireland crossed for a consolation score in the final moments. All that remains to be said is that Alun Wyn-Jones is now amongst the game’s all time greats. 

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AWJ and team soak up the glory after a great tournament


Calcutta Cup Overfloweth

The game at Twickenham started off just as many had expected. Even after the result in Cardiff England roared into the Scots, did the usual and scored within a couple of minutes. They continued in the same vain for the next 25 minutes and into a 31 point lead. Some folks around the place were whispering 100 points. It was all tongue in cheek but what it really meant was that Twickenham was crying out for a bit of a contest. The previous games against Italy and France had not really produced any drama. Well, we got what we wanted.

After a score just before the half-time whistle, Scotland emerged from their giant sporans, squeezed some extra juice out of the pipes before finally starting to play. Finn Russell and Ali Price started to run the show, while England did their level best to hand the game over on a plate. However, Scotland and Russell in particular, must take all the credit. Even from the most one eyed Englishman we could only watch on and marvel (and mutter, ‘we’ll not win the World Cup playing like that’.) Before, you could whisper pass the hip flask Scotland had scored their 6th try to lead 38-31. England’s answer throughout was the same old really: keep kicking the ball back and wait for the opposition to run at you. And run they did. England spend so much time in training practicing the close up tackling and line speed they seem to have forgotten how to tackle one on one. There was also the whiff of ‘we’ve been here before’.

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Eddie let’s one slip / gets away with it.


If we are to take – as an English fan – a positive from this England were able to summon some substitutes from the bench and score the final try of the game to take a very unlikely draw. It would have been easy to just shrivel up, lose and trot out the familiar clichés about not wanting to peak too early but England went from their own 22 and secured a converted try to draw.

Mike’s View

After years of travelling the globe coaching and now supporting national teams our very own Mike Pyrgos sums up the game as this:
“In a fascinating final 6 Nations day at Twickenham it became clear that trying to predict the Home Nations World Cup chances is about as sure as trying to predict the weather. England played with skill, panache and real quality for 35 minutes and even when Stuart McInally scored for Scotland just before half time nobody expected the turn around that followed in the second half. Scotland played with gay abandon and looked as if the shackles had been released and Finn Russell was the ring master, calling the shots and sparking Scotland which allowed them to cause the greatest comeback in 6 Nations history. Only England’s determination not to lose allowed them to salvage a draw but even the most partisan supporter could not disagree that that is what makes the 6 Nations the greatest International Rugby Tournament in the World.”

The LWTL Awards

It is customary at the end of the tournament to award some prizes. Without further ado see below for some prizes. The winners may never know but it is important to give credit where credit is due. Or in some cases where it isn’t.
The ‘Our Man in Belfast’ award for most over-confident fans at the start of the tournament – Irish fans
Comic Villain – Close one this but Johnny Sexton for his petulance at being replaced and shouting at his teammates when he chucked the ball into touch towards the end of the game. 
Silly Decision by a Coach – Joe Schmidt for asking for the roof to be kept open in truly awful conditions.
Eddie Jones Award for Silly Stats – Eddie Jones has to give this to himself. He was very incorrect when suggesting that Wales were tired after putting in the most tackles in the Six Nations before the final round. England had.
Pass of the Tournament – Tempting to give this to Finn Russell for every pass he threw in the second half in the England game but Jamie George nicks it for the left handed beauty he threw the previous week. Extra points for being a hooker.

Six Nations 2020

Although we have the small matter of the Rugby World Cup later this year we are now also ready to start thinking about the 2020 Six Nations. There are many known unknowns and unknown knowns to consider. Firstly will the tournament involve a World Champion? I think so. There’ll be a new coaching team at Wales with Wayne Pivac facing the tough task of filling Warren Gatland’s jock strap. Will France have a new coach? Will they even have a coach? Eddie Jones may not even be there either. Andy Farrell will be at the helm in Ireland for his first international head coach job. So much intrigue and therefore even more reason to start thinking about going to the games next year. Pre-register now for an opportunity to book your spot in Rome or Paris next year. 

The Six Nations 2020 Fixtures

Round 1

Feb 1: Wales v Italy (2.15pm), Ireland v Scotland (4.45pm);
Feb 2: France v England (3.0pm);

Round 2

Feb 8: Ireland v Wales (2.15pm), Scotland v England (4.45pm);
Feb 9: France v Italy (3.0pm);

Round 3

Feb 22: Italy v Scotland (2.15pm), Wales v France (4.45pm);
Feb 23: England v Ireland (3.0pm);

Round 4

Mar 7: Ireland v Italy (2.15pm), England v Wales (4.45pm);
Mar 8: Scotland v France (3.0pm);

Round 5

Mar 14: Wales v Scotland (2.15pm), Italy v England (4.45pm), France v Ireland (8.0pm)
SO what are you waiting for? To pre-register for our packages and to get first look when they become available click here.

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Another happy customer


A Cricket Tour Thank You

We love happy customers! At Living With The Lions we enjoy the work that goes into setting up these tours: fixing the flights, arranging the hotel rooms, ensuring match tickets are available, amongst many other components that make a successful tour. Additionally adding some great excursions to make sure our clients can see a bit more of their destination rather than the inside of the transfer bus, the beach bar, a cricket ground and an air conditioned room. It goes without saying we absolutely love the tours themselves and the friends we make along the way. However, what we find the most rewarding is the happy faces and the positive feedback we get from our clients at the end of the tour.


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English Harbour – Antigua

Official reviews v DIY feedback

There is no question we are living in the time of the review. A review for the coffee (bitter and non-fair trade), a review for the service at the bank (slow, dated and insecure), council services (potholey, expensive and invisible), gym (sweaty, bad attitude to recycling, unidentified object in the shower) and so on. Here at LWTL we have slowly been building up a healthy repository of very positive reviews. All of which count towards making us feel warm inside. However, every so often you get something a bit different and from a different channel which ticks many more boxes and makes us all feel even better.

A Windies Cricket Tour thank you

To the team at LWTL,
Please excuse this old fashioned e-mail review of my trip to Barbados and Antigua for the cricket tour 2019. (I think you may have sent an official message/text about reviewing which I have no doubt ‘mislaid’ !)
This was my first experience of LWTL and the best compliment I can start with is to say I will be back again.


Polite and efficient service following my initial enquiry. Also, a good quality merchandise pack.


The trip was well organised from arriving at Gatwick to leaving the hotel at Antigua. Inclusive food was fine, crickets tickets good and coach/taxi transfers during the tour were timely. Also the Q&A sessions arranged with Joel Garner and Darren Gough were an excellent bonus.

ALL-ROUNDER – Mike Pyrgos

Particularly impressed with Mike. He organised everything exceptionally well, always with good humour and was never stumped by the challenges thrown at him. Generally a fantastic character to have around the group.


So, many thanks to the whole LWTL team for helping make the tour enjoyable. I don’t suppose next time LWTL can go that extra mile and arrange for me to finally see England win a game overseas ?!! I am 5-0 down at the moment.
With thanks to Barry Dodge who travelled with us to the Caribbean for the Test Series against the Windies. We’ll see what we can do about the result next time!

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Tour Managers Andy & Mike enjoying the fruits of their hard work!

Where to next?

As more happy customers make their way home after a great cricket tour to the Windies, we need to start thinking about where to go next. Towards the end of this year is the South African cricket tour which will take place over Christmas and New Year. We are taking pre-registrations now and we’ll launch the tour as soon as we get the dates are released. Beyond that England will be travelling to Sri Lanka and India in March 2020 and September 2020 respectively. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up, join us and be a happy customer on one of the forthcoming tours. And make our day!

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Happy Customers at the final ODI – St Lucia


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A Preview of Wales V England – 2019 Guinness Six Nations


Editor’s Note

We interrupt these proceedings with a piece of breaking news. We have a guest poster for the this year’s 2019 Guinness Six Nations. David – or our man in Belfast – has taken out his monocle and delivered the ultimate compliment by previewing the game in Cardiff this weekend. Would he have been so generous with his time had Ireland beaten England in the opening round? We’ll never know. However, we thank him for his neutral view. Though like you will be we are increasingly confused as to why he has written about himself in the 3rd person. A fine line between genius and madness. Anyway, take it away David and good luck Wales. You’ll need it.

The Greatest Team Ever

The 3rd round of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations see what some have somewhat prematurely dubbed a ‘Grand Slam Showdown’**. England come into Saturday with the momentum firmly in their corner, after a thorough beat-down of the French that made old timers harken back to the Battle of Waterloo, and a conclusive victory in Dublin over the ‘unofficial best in the world’ Irish team – (cut to David in our Belfast office shaking his head for approximately the 4,273rd time since the fateful day). Wales on the other hand have started the Six Nations nations with two uneven performances, albeit resulting in wins vs France and Italy. They will need to improve if they are to record their 12th straight win and set a new Welsh record. They too are ‘the greatest ever’ if you ask Eddie Jones. Or Warren Gatland.
The teams bring no surprises, with only injuries changing a formidable England side. The loss of Mako Vunipola will be felt, as he had rediscovered his best form and his work around the park will be sorely missed. The line-out will as always be key and the battle between the imperious Alun Wyn Jones and George Kruis will be a feast for the purists. At the breakdown the battle between young Tom Curry and Justin Tipuric will be one to watch. For the casual viewer there’s always the immense Courtney Lawes, who seems to be having a competition with Mr Farrell to see who can put in the biggest late hit (again comments from a bitter David in Belfast). The unsung heroes of both packs will play a large role, Welsh front row Tom Francis has a knack for getting over the ball and is almost immovable when positioned, and Mark Wilson has been the answer to England’s recent back row woes, with two excellent performances on the flank to open the tournament.
The backlines mix heavy hitters and speedsters out wide. Manu Tuilagi has been a revelation since his return to the white shirt, and his battle with the physical Hadleigh Parkes will be tremendous fun. Johnny May and George North* have both got their campaigns off to multiple tries and both seem at their electric best, with May in particular receiving the plaudits, after a hat trick within half an hour against the French. I can’t confirm but I do believe his opposite number asked for his shirt to wave in surrender at the half time whistle.
Then of course we have the consistently excellent Jonathan Davies, perhaps the best 13 in world rugby, who will be a handful for the England defence. As always games tend to come down to the men in the 10 jersey. Owen Farrell has been in fine form, controlling the proceedings with his right boot and marshalling the gain line with his hard nose defence (David his now been muzzled), on the other hand Gareth Anscombe brings an exciting unpredictability to the Welsh attack and if he can release Wales pacey outside backs we could be in for a feast of try scoring rugby.

A Prediction

We’re very excited for what will no doubt be an incredible contest in Cardiff. It is certainly the fixture of round 3 of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations. Sadly for both sides Yohan Huget isn’t around this week to kindly gift tries so all points will be hard earned. Even David in Belfast finds it hard to see past a narrow England win. We managed to get a scoreline prediction on one of his breaks from banging his head on his desk. 28-22 to England. See you at 16.45 Saturday. If you are lucky enough to be going enjoy the yourself. It shouldn’t be hard.
By David McLaughlin in Belfast.
* we think this is a generous appraisal of Mr North’s performance in spite of the tries he ran in against France.
** – well nobody else can win the Grand Slam can they David?! Remember earlier this month?!

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Round 2 of the Six Nations 2019


Ding Ding Round 2

The long awaited (ahem) review of round 2 of the 2019 Guinness 6 Nations is here. Other matters, believe it or not, have taken over. At LWTL HQ we have been in the process of developing an app and an online itinerary facility for all our clients. It’s now more or less ready and will be rolled out for Hong Kong 7s clients once we have had feedback from our testers, who currently flit between Barbados, Grenada and St Lucia.
What does this mean? In short, we hope to say a welcome & long overdue farewell to thumbing your way through paper and looking for telephone numbers of your next destination. All important details will be in the palm of your hand; a day by day itinerary will be easily accessible on your smart phone as will flight times, transfers, excursions and destination information. We’ll even stick an abridged version of your tour in there too – should you wish to print it! Naturally, all our personal and fantastic customer service will continue. In fact, it may just get better as we’ll have a bit of extra time.
If you needed an extra reason to travel with us then you now have it. There is lots to get excited about in the future so quickly sign up to either a cricket tour to South Africa this winter or even next year’s Guinness Six Nations.

What of round two?

Scotland 13 – 22 Ireland 
Italy 15 – 26 
England 44 – 8 France


The Headlines

Despite this particular amateur commentator predicting a victory for Scotland everything went pretty much to plan. In fact, it was all a bit obvious. Ireland would ultimately have too much for Scotland; Scotland would ultimately make too many mistakes and, in the eyes of some, bottle another opportunity to win when they should have done. Our man David was sanguine when asked for his view. “Didn’t play well at all. More Scotland mistakes than Ireland good play.” Correct.
Meanwhile, in Rome Wales’ ‘B string’ would be too good for Italy. Mind you what were we expecting. Alun Wyn- Jones was on the bench along with a few other regulars so if things had slipped I think we can be sure they would have entered the fray earlier than hoped and taken the game further away from their hosts. Didn’t do much for the competition as a whole and we could feel a bit sorry for the fans who had travelled out to Rome hoping to see a full strength side. However, it’s a World Cup year and Warren and his men are up to something.
In conclusion, a rather boring couple of games. The real headlines were about to made in London the following day. Not because I am English, not because once again England roared out of the traps like a ferret (Johnny May) escaping from a ferret legger’s trousers but because the demise of the French is really something to be worried about.

Quel grand sac de mer…

No longer can journalists trot out the familiar, word count easy-wins refrain about not knowing ‘which French team will turn up’. We do know and have really known for a long time. They will be unfit, poorly coached, devoid of team spirit and just a mite hopeless. Since their Grand Slam in 2010 they have had one 2nd spot, a third but have otherwise battled out for 4th, 5th or even last spot. This is not the sign of an especially unpredictable side. 
This year they are 2 defeats from 2 and showing few – ok maybe 40 minutes – signs of much to frighten their next opponents. Even if they are Scotland who find winning away almost as tricky as France find selecting players in their rightful position. Take last week’s back 3 for example. A winger at Full back (who’d shown himself up when called on to perform the basic task of sweeping up the week before), a centre on the right wing and, just for good measure, another even more inexperienced centre on the left.

The Past

Why so annoyed? Because some of us really did grow up with a French team that played the game in a manner we wanted it played in. They represented all that was crazy about the infuriating, beautiful country. They ran from behind the posts, they smoked a cigarette at half-time and they had the scrum-half throwing the ball into the line out. They shrugged their shoulders at marauding Kiwis and dished out displays of attacking rugby from the gods. They produced great players. Now? Not so much. They try. Sort of. But they have a coach who looks older than Asterix and has lost his players.
Morgan Parra has had enough. He said he felt France could play like England but they never practiced. Anything. He must have wanted to be dropped. He has been. As has his half back partner. However, there is clearly something a bit more rotten in La République. Only 60,000 turned up to watch them be beaten by Wales. It was a Friday kick off which makes it hard to get up to Paris from the heartlands of France but it isn’t just that. Amongst a wider, countrywide malaise (which we mustn’t get into on a tongue in cheek blog post) their club game is too big. Big like Mathieu Basteraud and their 24 stone prop. TWENTY FOUR STONE!
If one was a rugby fan and one was looking for a little sign which shows how little French Club owners care about their National game then one would have had one a day or two ago. That sign? The re-signing of Dan Carter by Racing 92 to replace the retiring Patrick Lambie. Dites rien, Rodney, dites rien!!
What about the English performance. Well, mon brave it was magnifique. In every way. A couple of injuries but sad as we are to see Mako out for the remainder of the tournament it does mean he can rest. A bigger plus is we get to see Ellis Genge play alongside Kyle Sinckler. Now there’s fun. I wonder how Jamie George feels about it. I used to not have time for the props but along came the new(ish) English front row and I am now gripped. More please. 

Guinness Six Nations, 2019 – Round 3

Anyway, the important stuff resumes this weekend. What do we think. Let’s be bold. And go for three away wins. Why three when Scotland are in Paris and find it so hard to win? Bof, you just never know which French team will turn up…  

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A review of the 1st Round of the Guinness Six Nations

Six Nations Round 1 – The Results

France 19 – 24 France
Scotland 33-20 Italy
Ireland 20 – 32 England


Game of two halves in Paris

Depending on who you ask there was only one upset over the three games. It ought to be have been two but Wales managed to pull the cockerel out of the flower bed and emerge triumphant. Most players and coaches talk about requiring a bit of luck and the bounce of the ball going your way so if this is the case then expect Wales to get no more good fortune until 2020. Or, in short France produced a rugby journalist’s cliché delight and just gave it away. Following a first half of sustained excellence from Les Bleus and one of misplaced direction from the Welsh the tables turned and whatever France touched turned to 7 points for the opposition.
We might suspect that Messrs Gatland and Edwards made some ferocious animal noises at half time. Meanwhile next door Jacques Brunel passed around the carbohydrates and the pastis. From the start of the second half whistle Wales upped their game. As, Paul O’Connell remarked half-way through the first half, all the Welsh had to do was to remain patient and France would do what they always do. As sure as Jiffy Davies would be biased in the commentary box the mistakes began and the comeback was underway before a wild pass from Vahaamahina gift wrapped what looked like an unlikely Welsh victory 40 minutes earlier.
Warren Gatland proclaimed at the start of the tournament that if Wales win their first game they will win the tournament. I suppose he would but after that performance I am not sure the opposition will see much to fear. However, Wales do improve with time and are unbeaten in 10 so anything is possible. A big round 3 game in Cardiff looms.

Creative Scotland & Improving Italy

Italy visiting Murrayfield was sadly only ever likely to produce one result. You can only play what is put in front of you and Scotland were good for the victory. A hat-trick for a winger always shows a team playing with confidence. Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg were both superb. However, Italy scored 3 tries in 8 minutes to bring the game back to a slightly more respectable score line. This shouldn’t really happen to a side with designs on a tournament decider in Twickenham in Round 5. Ireland visit this weekend in what is certainly the game of round 2.
Shorn of 3 of their top performers it was always going to be tough. Conor O’Shea has been talking of how much improvement there is throughout Italian rugby. From age group rugby to the Pro 14 sides being more competitive. A cynic would point out that things had to get better soon as it was very hard to get any worse. A romantic yearns for them to win a game. Just one. Perhaps a victory in Rome over Wales this weekend is on the cards? Bit patronising I agree but what else is there to say?

Predictions – a Fool’s game

To Dublin for the game of the round. Both in anticipation and in reality. England arrived a distant 3-1 to win and Ireland were given an eight-point head start by the bookies. In a two horse race this is as good as being told not to turn up. This is a silly thing to say at the best of times but to a written off bunch of Englishman coached by a couple of Australians and a kiwi? Very silly indeed.
Everyone in Ireland seemed to get the complacency bug with such luminaries as Brian O’Driscoll stating he wouldn’t swap anyone in the Irish side for an Englishman, Joe Schmidt only wanted Andy Farrell and Eddie O’Sullivan might take two players if he was put in a half-Nelson. Every paper had Ireland winning comfortably. Except Sir Clive who suggested England would win by a point using his favourite method: the drop goal and only then if they played as he said.
Well, that egg landed on a lot of faces. England were better in every single facet of the game. Right from the national anthems Rory Best looked like a beaten man, his brow furrowed at the mere thought of having to get stuck in against a terrifying English pack who were more intent on ruining everything the men in green tried. And tried they did – albeit the same game plan time and time again. Perhaps that is the problem when you have a coach so focussed on a playbook for all outcomes? If a team plays by numbers and encounters a side that just counts that bit faster then catch up will be the order of a long day.
However, as our man David in Belfast says, it is better that this happens now than in a quarter final in Japan. Ditto the disappearance of half back pairing Sexton and Murray. Missing without trace. Perhaps it might be time to rethink the Irish reliance on a box kick? Also, an early delivery of the age old lesson of ‘Don’t believe the hype’.

Ireland Beaten, battered and bruised

None of which should really be an excuse for how slowly Ireland recognised that England would start fast. They have made a habit of it recently. A very early try for Chris Ashton against the All Blacks in the autumn; an avalanche of early points during the Summer tour to South Africa, albeit in losing matches. However, it was coming and Ireland had no answer to the deep kick off followed by a few phases and a try in the corner on 93 seconds.
Nor ironically, was there any apparent plan to combat a far superior kicking game. Ben Youngs outdid his opposite man time and time again. Eliot Daly was more than a match for an out of position Robbie ‘I once played full-back on debut’ Henshaw; Jonny May was faster and more furious that Jacob Stockdale and Jack Nowell was everywhere all the time. Tom Curry was an nuisance at the breakdown as the game progressed. Henry Slade against Garry Ringrose? Only one winner on the day. Let’s not get started on the Vunipolas effect. We could go on.
In fact, if you were to choose a XV based on the two sides on display you would be hard pushed to find a green shirt in it. Not even Andy Farrell would get the job.
The only downside for England was a nasty looking knee injury for Maro Itoje. Even that could be a blessing in World Cup year. Give the man an enforced rest and let Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes take over. Hardly bad replacements.

Favourite moment

A favourite moment from round 1? Aside from the great rugby a personal favourite had to be when Jérome Garces was heard lecturing Kyle Sinckler. Young Kyle’s response? ‘I am sorry Sir, I am just so excited’. A remark to perfectly encapsulate a great weekend at the rugby.
Ding, ding Round Two of the Six Nations is nearly here…. Predictions? A victory for Scotland, Wales and England. Go Italy! See you next week to relive the action and ponder over the results.

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