Wales v England Home Thoughts From Abroad

Situated 438 miles away from Cardiff in a bar down the road from Gare du Nord station, it felt very strange watching Wales face England on the multi screens of a Parisian watering-hole, rather than from the press box of the Principality Stadium.

In many ways it was quite a relief to take some distance from the depressing events that occupied the recent weeks news in my homeland.

Yet I felt the Hiraeth, the longing to be with my rugby brothers and sisters in the cauldron of Cardiff, but hey Paris is a pretty good alternative.

The million dollar question was how would the players respond to the overwhelming distractions that must surely have disrupted preparations for this massive game.

Owen Williams finally got the rugby underway after a week of turmoil that put the match in doubt until as late as Thursday evening.

A collective oo la la greeted a Tomos Williams tapped penalty but the very best was reserved for referee Mathieu Raynal, the man from Perpignan, who got a very loud “Merde” and a massive Gallic shoulder shrug at regular whistle blowing intervals.

The bar fell silent as half time approached and thoughts turned to vital rehydration. Trays of beer, bottles of claret and the odd Kir raced passed the television screens in a frantic effort to get everyone prepared for the second half.

Clearing out slower than the Welsh forwards at the rucks the bar staff managed to just about be back on side as Louis Rees-Zammit streaked away for a try that gave Wales hope.

Sadly hope turned into blind faith as Wales toothless attack failed to trouble the English defence, and we were reminded just exactly where Wales are in the pecking order of world rugby.

79 minutes on the clock and an exhausted waiter dropped a profiterole with the table at his mercy it was that kind of day.


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