I’M finding it hard to remember a more dispiriting post-match experience than being in Edinburgh on Saturday night, following England’s dismembering of an abject Scotland rugby team, who you suspect would still have 0 on the board if the game was going on now.
Hapless. Hopeless. There is no pleasure in saying that the Tartan Army ran out of words to describe their side’s performance. To spend just three per cent of the 80 minutes in the opposition 22 would almost be an achievement if it wasn’t so lamentable. The gulf between the sides was such a chasm even Alex Salmond kept his Saltire to himself.
Scotland’s descent could be exacerbated this week with confirmation that an Anglo-Welsh league will be established next season to replace the Premiership.
No-one seems to have any idea where that scenario will leave the club sides from Scotland, Ireland and Italy, but what it will surely mean is that, in the absence of meaningful competition, all those nations’ best players will be forced to leave their home unions to play in the big-money leagues of England and France. The long-term result of that will be a two-tier Six Nations with more and more one-sided matches of the type we endured on Saturday evening. Looking further ahead, with the inevitable surge in popularity of Rugby Sevens after its Olympic debut in 2016, will those second-tier nations decide the 15-man game doesn’t work for them economically and channel resources into the shorter form of the game?
It all means we could be heading for a watershed few years in the history of rugby union, because the day when England against Scotland is barely more than a training exercise for the men in white, the future is black indeed.