Gatland barbs lighten mood
Often the cosy parochialism so beloved of Irish rugby -- shame on foreign gougers, unconditional support to domestic offenders -- really gets under our skin here at 'Touchlines'.
And the race for the ivory tower is so regularly a colourlessly dull affair. For our money, Warren Gatland is one of the most entertaining and colourful characters to have camped in this part of the hemisphere.
Yet one can't throw a stone in this country without some pious middle-aged crank haranguing the Kiwi after his latest episode of foot-in-mouth.
So what? The Six Nations can be dull enough on the field -- take note of counter-attacks this spring, people -- so anything that lightens the mood is fair enough in our book. Beats a week of pious platitudes about Italy.
"Ultra physical." Check. "That Parisse is some talent." Check. "Take nothing for granted." Check. Hand us a shotgun. Or better still, give it to Gatland!