Rugby Failure Caps Off Miserable Year For English Sport

Posted: October 14, 2015 in Cricket, Rugby
Tags: , , , ,

England Rugby

Deary me. If, like me, you happen to be an Englishman and a major sporting fan, 2015 has not been a year to celebrate.

It has been a year that has brought only disappointment, with people scurrying around to check their family tree and find out whether they can join the bandwagon of any of the other home nations, with more to celebrate as a Welshman or Northern Irish. Hell, even Scotland has had more to cheers this year.

The end of the year is fast approaching and therefore BBC will soon be announcing their candidates for their Sports Personality of the Year, and the depressing realisation is that very few Englishman will be remotely worthy of such an accolade, given the failure that has followed them around during the past 10 months.

This will come as something quite amusing to those born outside of that patch of land between Berwick and Land’s End, and one can understand their amusement at the failings of the English.

We are frequently a nation that smugly lauds our involvement in the humble beginnings of any major sport on the planet, claiming to have invented the game and stomping our feet wildly when other nations actually bother to practice and become better at it than us.

We are a nation of poor winners who can’t enjoy a victory without having to remind our opposition that they therefore suffered defeat. In defeat we are even worse, searching for excuses for our shortcomings and unfortunately seeming to resort to xenophobia on a large scale, given the cheek of that nasty nation for being better at controlling the ball, vehicle or just running in a straight line.

Eoin Morgan

Morgan endured a torrid start to life as England’s one-day Captain

This year has been even seen those excuses wane away due to the utter despair that has come from some truly rotten performances in tournaments that England were largely expected to challenge in.

England has three major team sports that really capture the imagination of the general public, and with football having already proven a major disappointment after their group stage exit at the World Cup the previous year, it was time for cricket and rugby to take centre stage and show those overpaid, over-privileged nancy boys how to truly represent their country.

Cricket was first up in February as the ICC Cricket World Cup came around in Australia and New Zealand, with a favourable draw seeing England looking at a nice coast through to the quarter-finals before really needing to dig in and see what they could achieve.

However, with Eoin Morgan captaining the side in controversial circumstances after Test captain Alistair Cook was axed from the side, England had an embarrassing campaign, with their only victories proving to be against minnows Scotland and Afghanistan.

This saw them absolutely thumped by Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, while they contrived to lose to Bangladesh as well to ensure they were unable to sneak through in the generous four qualification places available in a group of seven.

They may have had some form of redemption in the eyes of some by reclaiming The Ashes back from Australia in the summer, but it was a humiliation that very few could swallow. Or sulked and claimed limited-overs cricket doesn’t matter, despite England’s test form being somewhat average of late as well.

Webb Ellis Trophy

The Rugby World Cup was supposed to be a monumental occasion for England

With two down now, surely rugby was the way forward for England. Hosting the tournament we won in 2003 and reached the final of in 2007, Stuart Lancaster’s side were sure to bring pride back to this formerly proud nation, despite not necessarily being the strongest side on paper.

The daft notion of the tournament organisers saw host nations England and Wales both put into the same group to practically ensure one of them would be leaving proceedings early, given they were shoehorned in alongside tournament favourites Australia as well.

With Wales having been shorn of a number of key squad players in the build up to the tournament, it quite frankly should have been in little doubt that England went through to the quarter-finals, with their only issues proving to be disciplinary, with players being axed for proving it is not only footballers that are over-privileged idiots away from the pitch and getting in late night scraps with police officers.

But of course we know that is not the way things panned out, with England surrendering their advantage to lose late on against the Welsh, before being humbled by a superior Australia side, ensuring they became the first ever host nation to fail to make it out of the group stages at the Rugby World Cup.

England v Wales

Defeat to Wales proved a blow that England were unable to recover from

So what now for English sports fans, with our two back-up bastions of sporting decency proving so pitiful? Everything else any Englishman has excelled at appears to be an individual pursuit, namely in the case of Chris Froome and his Tour de France triumph, or our athletes who continue to exceed expectations.

Great Britain has done incredibly well to reach the final of the Davis Cup this year, but that would never have been possible without the genius of the Scottish Andy Murray. Or his brother Jamie for that matter. If you pick and choose when he is Scottish, you just lose out on this bandwagon.

Lewis Hamilton is achieving well in Formula One, but he comes across as a thoroughly dislikeable person to most still. Plus, again it is an individual sport. In which he drives a German car, with Mercedes having proven they are streets ahead of anyone else currently, having already sewn up the Constructors Championship.

With Wales and Northern Ireland being able to celebrate success in football by actually qualifying for a major tournament for the first time in donkeys’ years and the former being able to join Scotland in having a side in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup, there are reasons to be cheerful elsewhere throughout the United Kingdom.

Yet as the biggest and most populous nation in this little collective, England is struggling to find success in any of the sports they attach the most pride to their accomplishments.

The football team however have just qualified for the European Championships with a 100% record. Maybe it’s time to put all our hopes and dreams back on them? Deary me.

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