Wednesday 18 January 2017

Some of us were not made to sit on horses high up over the battlefield

Tranquil pleasure the nation's reward after heart-stopping Paris end-game

Published 22/03/2014 | 02:30

Fergus McFadden celebrates with Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland after winning the Six Nations Championship
Fergus McFadden celebrates with Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland after winning the Six Nations Championship
Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland celebrates with Fergus McFadden as the final whistle is blown and Ireland win the Six Nations Championship

The watching of the match is a pure pleasure now. Like sinking into a hot bath after a hard day. Then you rewind the TV to watch the best bits again. It's the very same as turning on the hot tap for a refill, with your curled-in toes. The ease and the stress-free surge renews and restores. Wordsworth describes the experience 'as emotion recollected in tranquillity.'

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We've already written about the game, but like the Christmas turkey, there's enough meat left to knock the second day out of it. The most common remark from the Irish we met after the Six Nations grand finale was that "you couldn't enjoy it." Strange that. But true. The tension was gnawing away at nerve endings like the off-piste Japanese rat that plunged the infamous Fukushima nuclear plant near Tokyo into darkness around this time last year.

The mayor of Paris gave us free train rides to make up for the high levels of air pollution in the city. Just to breathe was impossible in that last, few minutes, but the gasoline fumed air wasn't the cause of our discomfort. It was the match that never rested. The match that stole our breath away.

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