- 10 Sep 07, 10:31 AM
In the bright light of a Monday morning, you have to think that in the end Wales produced the most impressive performance of the home nations on the opening weekend.
England were horrendous (it’s a long time since I’ve been patronised by an American over Sunday breakfast), Scotland were OK but nothing more and I still have a rumbling feeling that Ireland are hurtling down the other side of the hill. Their final pool match with Argentina is beginning to look like a career-definer for so many of their players and coaches.
And while the headline writers were sharpening their pencils five minutes into the second half against Canada, Wales eventually rediscovered some composure and towards the end there were even echoes of those mesmerising passages of play against New Zealand and England in 2003.
I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a rugby day as much as I enjoyed yesterday in Nantes. The 5live team made an early start from our seaside base at La Baule to avoid the expected jams around the ground.
The 50-mile journey flew by, partly because we tailed some police outriders for a while who were whisking the Welsh mini-bus full of their backroom staff to the match, and partly because our summariser Rob Jones was being texted some of the most disgusting jokes I’d heard all year. I’d love to repeat some of them, but…
I don’t think they were from Dwayne Peel or Stephen Jones, although they may well have been forwarded some of them inadvertently as Rob tried furiously to get a signal on his mobile and send them good luck messages.
In the end, both players were about to have matches they’ll remember for a while. There will have been easier days to captain your country for the first time and Peel had to deliver some pretty brutal words under the posts after Morgan Williams had scored Canada’s third try.
And the introduction of Jones and Gareth Thomas proved to be the catalyst. Wales were transformed and the likes of Tom Shanklin were suddenly released to monster their way through the defence.
Over our pizza the night before I’d argued loudly for James Hook to start at 10 against Australia. I still think he should start, but maybe at 12. How can you leave Jones out now after an impact like that?
Beyond the fact that he’s such an accomplished player, it’s great to see one of the sport’s nice guys have a day like yesterday, when for a while not so long ago it looked like he wouldn’t even be here.
And what about Colin Charvis? His 21st Test try means he’s now scored more than Gareth Edwards and Gerald Davies for Wales. Gerald – looking as dapper as ever in the press conference afterwards – didn’t seem unduly worried. Charvis is another who’s been through the mill and come out smiling the other side.
The day ended in slightly surreal fashion. Our broadcast line at the hotel has been installed in the basement between the old gym and the laundry and next to the women’s loo. So while well-dressed 50-somethings came down from supper to do whatever they had to do, I took part in a podcast where Hugo MacNeil tried to pursuade us England might beat South Africa and Gavin Hastings told him he was talking rubbish.
I reckon this weekend was definitely one of those weekends when it was better to be Welsh than English.
Off to the airport now to ferry our producer Michelle Voiture home for a couple of days. There’s a coffee to be had with Tom Shanklin back at the Welsh hotel before the main media briefing at lunchtime, then there are plans afoot for some beach rugby. Can I be Colin Charvis, please?
Nick Mullins is a BBC Sport commentator on several sports and specialises in rugby union. He is covering Wales at the World Cup for Radio 5 live and you can see the station's full broadcast schedule here.