Singing the praises of the Six Nations
Isn't Rome the best Six Nations venue? A friend says it has to be Cardiff, where there is a place nicknamed the Parachute Club, but what do you think?
The Six Nations is over. Damn, damn, damn and blast, what the heck do I do for the next eleven months? It is without question the best rugby tournament in the world.
Ever since I was a little boy, ushered through to listen to Bill McLaren with my glass of milk and ham sandwich, the annual northern hemisphere rugby tournament has been the highlight of my calendar.
Even if Pamela Anderson had tried to divert me, I am pretty sure I'd have chosen rugby over anything else.
My wife claims lots of things don't last long enough and the Six Nations is right up there.
And the real beauty of the tournament? Unpredictability, that's what.
The key player? My Lazarus award of the year goes to Dan Parks, who went from outcast to arguably the tournament's most valuable player winning three man of the match awards.
Former Irish second row Neil Francis doesn't like the Scots and said of Parks: "He has been as useful as a one-armed trapeze artist with an itchy arse." That is a line of which I would have been proud but it was way off the mark as Parks sealed a win in Dublin with a kick that defied belief.
The lads from my rugby club, West of Scotland, put their beer money on a Scotland win at 8 to 1. It made for a great evening in the world's most expensive city.
Best trip? Rome. The Italians would make a big mistake if they were to ever change the venue of their home games. The ground is a walk from the city centre. The city centre is beautiful. And rugby is making inroads into Italy.
And that restaurant near the Piazza Navona that just brings out tray upon tray of food, is brilliant, from what I can remember...
Best brand of rugby? When I was a wee boy it was the Welsh, and it still is. I think Shane Williams is worth the entrance fee and I love the ambition of the Welsh team. The Wales v Scotland thriller was a classic.
Saddest moment? I like to think my game is safe. The injury to Thom Evans in Cardiff was terrible, but it was quick thinking by doc James Robson that ensured the outcome was good and I wish Thom well in his recovery.
The in-fighting award? England. If I were England I would give Martin Johnson more time as he will be a success. I have no doubt about that. That man has too much class to fail.
The Six Nations is the greatest. Fans can travel to each venue with a little effort and in rugby we still mix in peace before, during, and after the game which is why I love the sport. And why I don't quite understand football, although I respect the game.
Only two more years to wait for a return to Rome, two more years until the next Dublin trip, and Paris next year. If spared, of course. Thumbs, twiddle, begin.