Jim Lyon - Anniversary of England’s finest moment is being overshadowed

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Share this article

Exactly a decade ago English rugby was celebrating its finest moment – they were champions of the world.

Jonny, Johnno, Daws, Backy and their chums edged out Australia and gave the nation a treasured moment at the top of the tree that, like its football counterpart, has yet to be repeated.

It was a wonderful achievement.

The ‘Dad’s Army’ that showed such unity, spirit and skill got the better of all-comers from the rest of the planet.

A glorious time to be enjoyed and remembered fondly.

Ironic then that the anniversary has almost been overshadowed by yet more political infighting.

There is no other sport that can find ways of self-combusting quite as easily as rugby.

Football has its issues on and off the pitch but still maintains a reasonably steady product at domestic, European and international level.

Cricket tinkers and has its disagreements but, since the days of rebel tours and unofficial circuses, has not come close to destroying itself.

Golf has squabbles, cycling has drugs and athletics has funding. Every sport encounters troubles.

But none seem to consistently find ways to argue with itself in the way rugby does.

Now European rugby is set to be ripped apart with various parties again unable to find common ground.

Over the years there has almost been a constant fracas somewhere between a combination of unions, nations, clubs and players.

And with the interested parties coming from such polar positions in the Heineken Cup debate – and displaying their usual stubbornness – it is hard to see anyone sorting the problems out too quickly.

Which will mean a sub-standard product for spectators and a devalued competition for the players.

It is a shame, 10 years on from that great day in Sydney, that the same will to succeed in a common goal as displayed by 15 blokes on a field cannot be matched by the suits sitting around tables in different meeting rooms.