The Six Nations Advanceth: not Eddie Butler’s guide to surviving Week Four drink by drink


“Pay attention, Mini-Me. Moby Dick was Herman Melville. Mebe Dick is Rob Howley’s autobiography.”

Resident BTL Weshtie Droptheclaw returns for an historic first-ever ATL Blog Steal with this channelling of everyone’s favourite rugby literary wunderkind:

In 1860, Herman Melville, still despairing at the critical failure of Moby Dick on its release, flirting with the onset of alcohol-induced insanity, published a collection of poems, Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War. The Anthony Allen of its day, its attributes went ignored.

But Melville was prescient for he penned these words:

At the height of their madness
The night winds pause,
Recollecting themselves;
But no lull in these wars.

Thus Melville, that clinking, clanking collection of collagenous booze and madness summed up round four of this year’s Six Nations.

Mr Melville oft declared himself a nailed-on BTLer

Mr Melville, nailed-on BTLer if ever there were one

The wearying bones and bruised muscles of six proud rugbyfaring nations go at it yet again, the end in sight, tantalisingly, yet still as achingly out of reach as Moby Dick was to Ahab, if you will.

For three of these nations, the word penultimate is one which more than aptly sums up their campaign thus far. For two, penultimate  offers hope of progress which had not seemed within reach after week one. For the remaining team, penultimate is the word feared most when swords are soon to be laid to rest at the end of the tournament; the harbinger of wound-licking, internal inquiries, and, most humiliating of all, BTL derision.


Proudly accepting my award for Most Uses Of The Word Penultimate In A Single Paragraph

The Great White Whale that is Stuart Lancaster’s England go into the weekend in rude health, injury to Owen Farrell notwithstanding. A brutal and ultimately clinical dispatching of the French at HQ proved they have the fifteen – and ultimately the twenty three – to deal with all septentrionali hemisphaerio has to offer. Gli Azzurri, they who could translate septentrionali hemisphaerio in their sleep, may find, however, that they will be forever playing Ahab, killed by their own limited gameplan, and dragged to oblivion by an England confident in all facets of their game.

The Italian pack pictured (right)

The Italian pack pictured at Twickers (right)

Les Bleus, fresh from a battering and wearying defeat in London, turn their focus now to Dublin, and a trip to face a foe in an only marginally less perilous position with two consecutive faux pas. Ronan O’Gara’s swansong in Edinburgh – if it indeed it was, for Irish outhalf injuries threaten to render his effort Melba-esque – was an unfortunate comedy of errors, the sinking of the Pequod writ large on the green turf of Murrayfield.


ROG’s pre-Murrayfield preparations have been called into question

La cinquième République française, despite three straight losses, will be eyeing this match, hoping Phillipe Saint-André will manage to steer them through what have been calm waters in Dublin these past 10 years – only two losses testimony that La vie est belle in the Emerald Isle. Or will the French entraîneur’s selection-table insanity return to sink them?

Wales – or Whales as Melville was heard to giggle into his umpteenth glass one day while idly Atlas-poring – and Scotland, both having turned their previously listing vessels around, will be looking to sail into serene waters by notching a third straight win. But will it be Grand Slam pedigree or defensive doughtiness with a back-three dash that wins through on the day? The Murrayfield clash is a mouth-watering prospect, and who would have predicted that at the start of the tournament?


“You predict Scotland -v- Wales at Murrayfield to be ‘mouth-watering’? Have twenty of these, dolt.”

Melville eventually finished indulging in the devil’s drink and sanity duly returned. On weekend four, with three cracking matches in store, this course of action is not recommended. No lull for us; madness, mirth and malt liquor: Usque ad Mortem Bibendum.

These are my top tipple tips for the weekend:

Saturday 9th March 2013

Scotland v Wales  14:30  Murrayfield

Another two-week break means the liver has had to time to recuperate. This is a good thing, so why not raise a glass or two of Lagavulin to wake it up? Once you’ve stirred the heart and put fire in the belly, move on to several Deuchars, rounding out the second half with a strong Welsh finish: three pints of Otley 08 and four fingers of Brecon Gin. Jiffy swears by it. In fact, Jiffy just swears. Wales to stagger home by 5 points.


“When you’re screaming ‘Go wide! Go wide! Go wide!’, how exactly wide do you envisage wide to be? This wide?”

Ireland v France  17:00  Dublin

A lovely mixture of grain and grape, this one. They say not to mix them, but once you’ve seen John Inverdale drink seven pints of Black Velvet in 15 minutes, you’ll realise it can be a truly pleasurable experience. Particularly as, this week, it will stop him blathering on about England as he colours the streets of Dublin a funky shade of black.


“Ach, mein arsch! Where the feck am I?”

A couple of bottles of Bordeaux to warm up, five pints of Galway Hooker – a rugby pint if ever there were one – and several pints of the atypically Irish Black and Tan should help the Irish deal with the pain of a third straight loss.

Sunday, March 10th

England v Italy  15:00  Twickenham

There’s only one way to get through what is going to be a painful day for Gli Azzurri. Even with Capitano Fantastico Sergio Parisse returning to the bridge early after his battibecco with Laurent Cardona, i figli di Garibaldi may find that the only way to dull the pain is to imbibe grape, grain and anything else that will allow the pain of removing one’s head from one’s fundament in the scrum to disappear. A prescription of Conti de Roero, Palladino and Nuova Cappoletta for the first half, followed by copious amounts of Jacopo Boli Grappa in the second half should see a pleasing haze come down as England rain in the tries.

England, the Moby Dick to Italy’s Ahab; Guscott, the Dick to Butler’s Ishmael, it was ever thus.


Jiffy agreed to substitute for me on the sofa beside the jumped-up scarf salesman without realising it meant actual water in the water glasses

Join me next week for the final, liver-busting round five as we stagger happily to the climactic dénouement of the Six Nations.

Received from Droptheclaw carved on a Great White Whale jaw-bone

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681 Responses to The Six Nations Advanceth: not Eddie Butler’s guide to surviving Week Four drink by drink

  1. Wolfie says:

    You got about a bit!
    Can’t believe it’s changed much really – vines are starting to bud, snow still on the mountains, 22C today so spent lots of time outside. The chasse season is just finished so local villages are hosting their fetes de chasse – yummy – usually 8 courses (soup, 5 different presentations of sanglier or deer, cheese, apple tart, coffee armagnac and wines – all for less than 18 euros) – it’s tough, but….

  2. elsnoopio says:

    The worst part for me is that after it all happened and Welsh finally sorted out the visa… they then played him in a match without bothering to get him correctly registered.
    Scott got them into a real hole but that call was nothing to do with him and says nothing good to me about the rest of the people in positions of authority at the club – either huge arrogance or incompetence by them.

  3. Bioface says:

    Thanks for a Bowie hour! Blissful..
    Now I’ll be listening to him carefully looking for some lyrics that explain a crooked feed and the rush defence.
    Night all.

  4. boomkingish says:

    Unrepeatable magic.
    Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
    Shall we talk about the cricket again?

  5. yesiamclutz says:


    Actually the more I read that judgement the more I think what the hell are LW thinking.

    Like why was the internal investigation not documented! It could have been key to getting a reduced suspension, but they didn’t bother to collate the evidence and write it up?! Do they not want to learn the lessons of this incident? Do they just not care?

    Feel for the clubs supporters in a big way. Not how you want your season to end.

  6. Wolfie says:

    late again, just been watching first two installments of The Hour on TV
    Mmmm! …..Alain Brumont – controversialvisionary, self-promoter and great wine maker.
    Madiran’s not for everyday – my next door neighbour makes that – we get Chateau Montus for 1 euro per litre – nice!
    Have you read “The New France” – Andrew Jefford “a complete guide to contempory French Wine”
    calls AB ‘the Citizen Kane’ of Madiran!

  7. thaumaturge says:

    Right … five hours of work to get through tomorrow (although they will be pretty intense ones) … and then I’m off for a week.

    If anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be in Cornwall.

    Well, okay, am not leaving until Sunday so might well be around before then. Probably to mourn Ireland’s woeful defeat.

  8. Onlyonet says:

    A cynic might suggest that letting one fall guy taking the rap is an easier defence than corporate negligence.

  9. Underdog says:

    I thought the player was mis-registered, rather than unregistered?

    No advantage gained, and the punishment probably reflects that.

  10. yesiamclutz says:


    That’s not how the judgement calls it. Given the circumstances they could have been far far harsher based on the released document.

  11. Onlyonet says:


    Lies, fraud, cover ups reading the judgement it’s the kind of thing that could have seen them demoted and investigated by both imigration services and the police. The lone wolf acting alone has seen them deducted 10pts with 5pts suspended, which is about right. If it came to light others were aware at the time the punishment would have been far more harsh.

    I’m v surprised to see them even attempt to appeal the decision

  12. yesiamclutz says:


    I’ve was somewhat surprised that Mike Scott got away with as little as a caution for fraud as well. I don’t know a great deal about legal matters but I would have thought fraud is serious enough that it warranted a full prosecution.

  13. Onlyonet says:


    Totally agree forging a passport for financial gain (for the club) seems a serious offence for me.

  14. elsnoopio says:

    Probably the case that the cost of a full prosecution outweighed the likely punishment at the end of it.
    It was fraud but it only involved one instance with no signs that it went further – the time and money on prosecuting him is probably better spent on other more serious cases.

  15. yesiamclutz says:


    Also agree that the appeal is a bit silly. Right now LW hold their destiny in their own hands. If the appeal goes south and the punishment is increased that will change.

  16. flair99 says:

    Hamna and Wolfie,
    Am a big fan of Bouscassé and Montus myself. Got some in the cellar. Wonderful wines, as long as you’re ready to wait 10 years for them…
    Some great and little known wines in the area, sometimes real bargains: Pacherenc, Jurançon, even Tariquet or Plaimont…
    Wolfie, how can you get Montus for such a low price?

  17. avsfan says:


  18. markrobotarm says:

    He’s reverted to his birth name, which is indeed Duncan Jones. Looks like he’s going to be a good film director too, he’s done Moon and Source Code so far which are excellent and good respectively.

    He’s been taking a break from film-making recently, to support his young wife in her battle against breast cancer. She just finished chemo this week.

    Sorry to start the day on a downer, but it’s a reminder that cancer doesn’t discriminate. Ladies, check your boobs. Blokes – not like you need the reminder – check your balls. Catch it early, kick its arse.

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