Looks like we’ve been looking in the wrong place for coaching excellence in rugby union.
Move over loudmouth Eddie Jones and let Ireland’s coach take centre stage. Schmidt has overseen a thoroughly deserved Grand Slam which included away wins in France and at Jones’ England. And all done without arrogance or media bullying.
PLEASE BRING SIR CLIVE BACK
Far better though for England’s rugby union team to have a slump now than in a World Cup year.
Hopefully embarrassing defeats will lead to a bit of soul searching and Eddie Jones will realise he’s not the supercoach he and many England rugby fans originally believed. He just has a supercoach’s salary which he needs to earn next year.
England’s player pool is so vast they will come again and given good fortune with injuries and referees they will have as good a chance as Ireland of toppling the All Blacks in the most important competition of them all.
If Jones wants to win the World Cup he could do worse than ditch the majority of his bloated backroom staff and make Sir Clive Woodward his assistant. After all Woodward knows how to win a World Cup.
SALAH IS NOT THE NEXT MESSI
I may have been hasty in writing off a new Liverpool signing called Mo Salah in August. It’s turned out to be my greatest prediction since dismissing Kevin Pietersen as a ‘slogger’ early in his Test career. But comparing Salah to Lionel Messi is bonkers. One good season set against a dozen.
GOOD RIDDANCE TO KP
South African Kevin Pietersen has retired and I hope he regrets how such a good player remains so reviled by many English cricket fans. He won’t. His ego has always been too vast to allow any admissions of fault.
THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR
Rory McIlroy is back and so is Tiger. The Masters could be the sporting highlight of the year.