Week two. The difficult second week, for some. The Scots, sent away to think again, regroup and face an Italy living la dolce vita, confident of a second consecutive victory.
For Philippe Saint-André, last week left him with a red face and a serious case of les Bleus. Nothing less than a resounding win will do at the Stade de France. His opposite number, Bridgend’s own Robert Howley, is in an even worse position. Tactically bereft and lacking the necessary nous he possessed whilst chasing skirt at Brynteg Comprehensive, a ninth consecutive loss will leave Howley lonely as the world’s first ghost. And still Lions backs coach.
Whilst Saturday’s matches water the mouth like an ice cold šljivovica, all eyes and livers will be focussed on Dublin. I never used to drink on a Sunday, but given the prospect of England’s bright young things and Ireland’s wise old heads coming together for a potential cracker, I feel it would just be rude not to.
And given the fact that I am going to have to share the studio with John Inverdale, I cannot help but look to my favourite tipples to numb my pain. You may need to do the same, so why not follow my tips for the perfect drinks to accompany your second Six Nations weekend.
Sat 09 Feb Scotland v Italy Murrayfield 14.30
Ah, the match nobody loved, but last week’s results have made this tasty; very tasty indeed. Plus I’m being paid a shedload by Auntie and The Graun to cover this. Best enjoyed by opening with a couple of rounds of Deuchars, chased down by some beautiful Limoncello – a palate killer if ever I tasted one. I’ll round out the second half with Laphroaig on ice, then sit down on a park bench to write up Scotland’s 9 point win with some locally sourced Buckfast.
France v Wales Stade de France 17.00
One we’ve all been looking forward to. Who doesn’t love Paris in the springtime? Well Jiffy, for one. He hates the French he does. I think it’s because they called him a poor man’s Lamaison. This one needs to be tackled head on: a chablis, a Cwrw Haf, a cheeky Bordeaux, a Blodwen’s. Mix and repeat three times. Then I’ll stand back and watch Jiffy cry himself sober as Wales lose by 10.
Sun 10 Feb Ireland v England Aviva Stadium 15.00
A Sunday session, perhaps the Sunday session, in that Mecca of intoxicant, the fair city of Dublin. Guinness and oyster breakfast, follow it up with more Guinness, throw in a dash of Aspall’s Premium Cider for a bit of Black Velvet vim. James Heaslip, reminiscent of myself as an egg-chasing lad, to lead the charge on the fall of the House of Lancaster. I’ll round out the celebratory evening by penning my Observer epistle, mentioning ‘the craic’, the death of an English challenge, a likely Irish Grand Slam, with something to do with Thackeray and Behan shoehorned in along the way. Then crack open the Bushmill’s 1608 and head on in to Temple Bar for reverie with the local spud munchers.
My liver and I thank goodness for the break before round three. This could become a habit.
Passed on to Droptheclaw by Hamish Laphroaig, a disgruntled building contractor