As the Rugby World Cup hots up and the intensity grows, Wales pull off an historic win against old rivals Australia. Continuing our series of vignettes on the action as it unfolds, Peter Florence gives a snapshot response to a game that will live long in the memory.
That really did happen. A nigh-on flawless Welsh game of sustained pressure and prosecution. Has there ever been a game where every single player maxxxed their game? That is “be your best self”; that is coaching perfection; that is peak Gatland. And in that team, alongside the big guys standing up (Yes, you Josh Adams, in the air and over the ground; and you, Gareth bach, you daring, darting, diehard little devil; and you, dearest Taulupe, thank you, as always – really – always) there’s the quiet joy of seeing the perennially dissed Adam Beard achieve total control of the set piece, and the comically underrated Nick Tompkins inject an artfulness into centre play that makes you smile, and wonder, and think – you know who he reminds me of, with his sweet hands and his positioning and timing and rugby wit? John Dawes. And there’s a moment to recognise that somehow the front row that has always been a cause for concern, anxiety and penalties for Wales, that same Trinity is now a cause for concern, anxiety and penalties for our opponents. And Jac! O Jac. You make me laugh. Is there anything you can’t do on the field? Let’s just say that the nation now knows, that you could jump at 2 or 4 if called upon, and we’d get the ball back; though God knows we are blessed with goalkickers, that you could if needed knock ‘em over from the touchlines; and that watching you play makes us happy. You know why they introduced the 20mph speed limit throughout Wales? Because Jac Morgan might be walking through your town, and if you run into him at 30 you’ll wreck your car.
Reality check, just for a moment. Every single player at full throttle. Hmm. Almost. When we’ve done everything right, made ourselves a bloody hard team to beat, then there’s the other thing that Wales wants. Jarrett, Gerald, Shane.. THAT thing. You know it when you see it because it’s impossible, and yet there it is. The hour cometh, Louis. We might get Ireland in the semis. You want to be a legend? Show us.
Click here to read Peter Florence’s take on the favourites for the World Cup.
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