Much to my surprise the Rugby World Cup has been voted a huge success by the members of the public I bump into who have been watching many of the games on ITV who once again have stolen a march on the BBC.
The tournament has already been a massive commercial bonanza, even if the prices charged to get into a game are well out of range of grassroots supporters, especially if you wanted to take in one of Scotland’s group games on their way to qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Trips to Gloucester, Leeds, Newcastle and Brighton are not exactly cheap, particularly if you want to make it a family occasion.
Of course rugby as supported at international level has always been a middle class sport, unless you come from the valleys of Wales, or in my case the Scottish Borders where I’m told very few, even want to watch the national team in action in Edinburgh, far less in deepest Englandshire, such is the Border folks’ disenchantment with those who run the game from BT Murrayfield, but that’s another story best left for another day.
It therefore amazes me in terms of the class element at games to hear the most sung supporters’ songs include a spiritual and, even more bizarrely, an effort in which a jilted man stabs his unfaithful lover to death.
What possible connection can “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” have with the generally toffee-nosed people who flocked to Twickenham before their team was so unceremoniously put out of the competition by Wales and Australia?
As for the usually tuneful Welsh, what drives them to belt out “Deliah”? Mind you the Scottish dirge of “Flower of Scotland” takes a bit of beating as a national anthem, reflecting all that is dreich in our miserable lives north of the border. Time for a change there.
Luckily, there is more to the tournament than singing, and for my money the rugby has been out of the top drawer, not least from the so- called minnows of the game who have stoutly attempted to stem the flow against the giants of the sport who not surprisingly come from the southern hemisphere.
For whether we like or not Scotland, Ireland and Wales are not going to feature in the final on October 31 when I confidently predict the contestants will be Australia and New Zealand with only Ireland likely to remotely challenge the supremacy of the big two. At least their respective anthems will be acceptable.
I would dearly love to be wrong, but the ruthless, but imaginative approach of my selections is sadly lacking in the Six Nations sides who are just making up the numbers.