Sports Letters: False assumptions

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The Independent Online
Sir: I wonder how your rugby correspondent, Steve Bale, felt after Saturday's match at Twickenham. I have had to bear with a thousand conversations in which English condescension, with perhaps the faintest touch of racism, about the Irish has prevailed; but for some reason rugby journalism has always been the worst.

In the catalogue of disparagement of the Irish team which made up Bale's Saturday article, I pick out just two sentences for their arrogance: 'You cannot help feeling that today is one of those occasions when a side (the Irish) know that the worst is in store'; and 'What is certain is that England's . . . back row will find it unusually comfortable to defend against this sort of hesitant, low-skill midfield attack'. It was a delicious irony that the three players picked out by name for their 'slow hands' should have handled in the movement (too swift for England's 'supremely fit' back row) that brought Geoghegan's try ('the threat posed by . . . Simon Geoghegan . . . has been practically nil').

Yours faithfully,



21 February