Turn the lights off, let’s all go home. Forget the final; it holds no interest for us. We have edged out bets, played our cards, and lost. I speak not as an Englishman who side was unceremoniously dumped out of the competition at the first hurdle, but as someone who spread their bets thin and wide, and prayed one would come up trumps. We all recognise the familiar traits: the glory hunters. Those who change allegiance at lightening pace with the vain hope of claiming some tenuous link to the final glory.
With the English boys already back playing for club as opposed to country, a Scottish father held great appeal until Joubert dashed our hopes in the dying seconds, and provided a lifeline to our antipodean friends. Still, we clung to the fragile and feeble link of grandparents who retired to live the French dream. Again, unfortunately, this door slammed shut in our apologetic faces. Without remorse or sorrow, the black machine simply trampled Les Bleus to an unruly beating.
We may grasped at straws since England’s premature departure, but remembering our family make- up is predominantly South African; the worry of an early exit by the men in white was not an issue. Hope remained, a Southern-Hemisphere giant, and twice-previous winner would see us through to the end of October. The English rose failed to ride on the wave of hometown support that led our Olympians to their greatest ever hoard, but we prayed the Afrikaners would carry the burden. Then along came the All Blacks, again. For a second time in a matter of weeks, they dented the hopes of this shameless glory hound.
Alas, semi-final weekend has been and gone, and no matter how hard I try, there is apparently no obvious, nor remote family connection I am able to conjure up that will link this native English, rugby follower to either Australia or New Zealand. Family records checked, and genealogy experts exhausted, no link lay beautiful undiscovered to fuel seven more days of brazen cup hunting.
Split family loyalties, passport stamps that proved valid travel to USA and Canada had occurred sometime previously, and at least a vague idea where Nambia actually was, were not enough to see this glory hunter through to the final. The best we now hope for is the first lick of the wooden spoon for third place. I did dress in a black T-Shirt and sweater this morning however…