Robin Scott-Elliot: Poetry? check. Cliché? check. Must be a big game on the Beeb

View From The Sofa: Six Nations, BBC1

Whether this is a golden age of sport is probably best left to the more venerable to establish but over the past few months it has seemed like one if you have been watching events through the small screen, or 104in wall-mounted flat screen if you're a Premier League footballer. TV sport at the moment is a succession of lofty peaks, like a Crouch family wedding, with English teams playing a laudable role, although it mostly ends with them getting beaten. By Ireland.

Fabio Capello must be relieved to be stopping this side of the Irish Sea, although the longer journey would allow some valuable extra thinking time over who should, or shouldn't, or should be his captain.

The Six Nations has done its bit to entertain, although Saturday's elongated finale meant sitting through more crouch, touch, engage than is natural, unless you are Abbey Clancy. The strength of the tournament is that the rules can remain a mystery – it is comforting that the players don't really seem to know either – yet the rousing atmosphere that accompanies any England trip to be roundly abused by Celts or Gauls make it an event. To BBC Sport it is a Big Event so on Saturday they did what they always do to mark these occasions; poetry and cliché. Because it was a Really Big Event they combined the two. With Des Lynan having never returned the BBC library copy of Kipling, they came up with The Victor by CW Longenecker, who may not actually exist according to extensive research, or 10 minutes on Google. It consists of lines like "If you think you are beaten, you are", and was portentously delivered by a succession of Beeb pundits with serious faces and current players. Then it was into the build-up proper. "Now is the hour," said someone. "Big day for big men," suggested someone else. "Treat it like any other game," warned another.

Brian O'Driscoll had delivered his line with a barely disguised smirk, as if he knew what was afoot. Ireland's approach come kick off, or when the talking stopped to fit in with the mood of the day, brought to mind a rather more cerebral saying, attributed to a Scot, who instructed his men as they attacked against England to "kick ahead, kick ahead, kick any effing head." It was, remarked Eddie Butler, like the old days at the old Lansdowne Road with Ireland romping rumbustiously forward at every opportunity. The new Lansdowne Road provides a rather plusher backdrop, although its lack of an end makes it look as if the builders had run out of seats but found a job lot of glass panels out the back of the warehouse.

Alongside Butler, Brian Moore was unusually muted, but he did register the first recorded use of "hitherto" in a sporting commentary. Moore has had a downbeat tournament by his angry standards and there was a lack of fury at what was unfolding down below him. As the referee whistled up another offence, Moore remarked "Umm, can't explain that." Which is probably rather how Martin Johnson felt come Saturday evening.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat