A dimly lit office, smoke pouring from a slight crack in the window. Earling Carothers “Farrell” Garrison sat back in his chair and adjusted his hat.
News that England had conceded a try had naturally brought in the country’s defensive analysis expert to ponder the evidence and settle on a culprit. England do precious little but work on positioning, line-speed. Then a Frenchman thrusts through the thing like a pneumatic drill through some white napkins.
“Let justice be done, though the heavens fall”, Farrell murmered to himself. His motto. Borrowed from Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, the first known rugby defensive analysis expert.
Pushing the game photographs – taken from a dozen angles – around on his desk, Farrell drew out a sheet of paper and, like a good detective, wrote down the theories behind the defensive breach starting with the most likely:
- Quantum diffusion theory. This concept hinges on the possibility that Fofana is not a standard human, made up of the usual clog of hydrocarbons, but instead a superbeing made out of a quasi-material. Atomic Francium held together by a special boson glue. As such, on contact with organic matter, Fofana’s form can diffuse along the covalent pathways of the would-be tackler and reconstruct on the other side.
- Lawes’ fault. It was always a risk throwing a lock in to play blindside flanker and some believe Lawes’ several missed tackles in the first half of the game show that he didn’t settle in the role quickly.
- Ashton. History’s greatest monster. Commonly held responsible for crimes as disparate as World War Two and stuff costing more than it used to. Also a man parodied on rugby blogs in a northerner mock-up so hackneyed this reporter nearly kicked his whippet. Ashton has never been an A1 defender and his body position was wrong. He was half-interested in Fall.
- The third tackler theory. Ben Youngs. Usually a fabulous cover-tackler and yet made a meal of stopping WF in this instance. Did England ‘throw’ the tackle like a cricketer dotting a cold delivery? Is Youngs a gambling syndicate genius, cleverly disguised as an idiot?
- The magic line theory. The last theory suggests that the line Fofana ran was undefendable. The tackle unmakeable. Farrell ran simulations to try to ascertain the amount of randomly positioned tacklers that would be necessary to halt the Frenchman’s progress. The results were shocking: on average 46.2 Englishmen positioned in statistically likely game positions were needed.
Farrell swirled his desk-drawer whiskey. Maybe the case really was unsolvable. Maybe, for the first time ever, failure was climbing the dusty stairs to knock on his door.
Troubled, he drained the whiskey, and brooded. How could it come to this? A career and reputation as the country’s defensive analysis expert threatened by a Frenchman re-named by Eddie Butler.
Farrell sighed. There was nothing else for it. He turned to his laptop.
He had to consult The Real Experts.
©2013 Raymond Killer