I thought my days of accumulating caps finished a long time ago, but not so. Thirty-three years after featuring for the British and Irish Lions as part of the IRB’s centenary celebrations in Cardiff, test recognition yielded just that.
The chief executives of the Six Nations renewed talks in London yesterday aimed at finalising an offer designed to change the face of the game. Having already forked out some €400m to buy stakes in the English Premiership and PRO14, the private equity firm CVC Partners are willing to pay the Six Nations almost as much again for a share of the tournament’s commercial rights.
Whatever your taste in sports, odds are it has been soured at times by a decision from a referee or an official of some other hue. Bill White, a former baseball player and commentator, got it just right when he said that umpiring is tough because, no matter what the decision, you’re always half-wrong.
Picture the young James McClean when he first wore a Sunderland jersey. Memories stir of a fearless winger slaloming down the touchline. It seemed, even then, to be almost old-fashioned in a league that was no longer so in thrall to the hustle and bustle of years gone by.