Friday 20 September 2019

all blacks beaten by the mightiest men that ever wore green

Fergal Keane

I'm proud. Not a fool's pride in dreams that fail. The pride of knowing what is within grasp come next summer in Japan. It was not all a thing of classical beauty. Not poetry. Much of the time a shift in a Polish steelworks circa 1972 rather than a soirée at Lissadell in the last years of the Celtic Revival.

Oh Jacob, Jacob Stockdale! You have the spirit of youth, the recklessness and the genius, the sacred abandon of the gifted. You made me sweat and soar. You brought us home. And Peter O'Mahony and Rob Kearney. The mightiest men that ever wore green. And Jonathan Sexton with your feet in Listowel from way, way back. You'll forgive if we claim you now.

You will find the opinions, analysis and statistics elsewhere in these pages. I'm writing from the vantage point of hope. And full - as never before - of love for the game of rugby. A night like that will do that to you.

Whenever I watch rugby on the television my body suffers. I twist and turn with every swerve by a winger or centre. I take the strain as the front row engages. My children laugh at this. But they cannot comprehend the inner tensions. Last night was especially bruising. I needed an ice bath.

Continued on page 5

Sunday Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice