It is not necessary to have an over-active, tossing-in-bed imagination to conclude that conditions, and the atmosphere, aboard the cruise liner off Japan where at least 61 of the 3,700 people on board have contacted coronavirus is grim and is likely to become even more so.
Andy Farrell insisted continuity in Ireland team selection would not come at the expense of creativity as he kept changes to a minimum for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations second-round visit of Wales to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
Don’t mention the war? It would be nice not to have to but Ireland’s Six Nations opener takes place in the engorging shadow of last autumn’s ill-starred Asian campaign. Yes, we won’t be forgetting the debacle in Vietnam – sorry, I mean Japan – any time soon. The horror, the horror remains fresh in the memory.
As shakedown games go, this one ended up being a little more shaky than Ireland might have expected. The final score said 19-12 to Ireland but that didn’t really tell the story of the game so much as gesture vaguely in the direction of the side that took their chances with more efficiency, writes
Ireland will have to wait another four years for a crack at a first World Cup semi-final appearance after Joe Schmidt’s tenure as head coach came to an end with a comprehensive defeat to the world champions on Saturday.
And that includes World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, which has been stunned by the huge numbers being racked up in terms of television viewers and social media engagements as well as the good old-fashioned barometer of jersey sales.