Within the slim context of this specific event, the reply ought to be ‘no’, however with an enormous asterisk hooked up. It might be time to ditch the inflammatory H-word, which more and more jars with fashionable sensitivities.
This has turn into a speaking level once more as a result of current occasions. With out raking up one thing which prompted lots of upset, feedback have been made about Welsh hatred in the direction of the English and it ignited a storm of protest in lots of quarters. There have been even some sinister claims that it amounted to racism.
Let’s be clear, it’s an inescapable issue which simmers all through the Championship yearly. Nonetheless it’s packaged and labelled, it’s there. Name it antipathy and that sounds extra palatable, however it’s a bedrock of this occasion, prefer it or not.
One of many essential causes that followers preserve coming of their tens of hundreds and why rankings stay so excessive is that there’s an infinite urge for food for the annual resumption of historic rivalries and hostility. Take that away and the event loses a part of its valuable soul.
Rivalries between groups within the Six Nations are an enormous a part of the event’s enchantment
Up to now, ‘antipathy’ was a way of creating up for a top quality deficit. The spectacle wasn’t typically nice, however crowds and viewers savoured the volatility of previous enemies colliding.
That’s now not the case because the world’s high two groups — Eire and France — are setting requirements this yr, whereas Scotland and Italy are each bettering and entertaining, after making up the numbers for therefore lengthy.
So the cross-border needle is now not the be-all and end-all, however the plenty nonetheless relish the rivalries and the angst. Netflix are filming the 2023 Championship for a documentary sequence and there’s no doubt that every one the tribal tensions are a part of the box-office attraction of the event.
England are within the cross-hairs for all their neighbours. It was ever thus. These within the eye of the storm discuss it in matter-of-fact phrases — with no sense of grievance.
When Kevin Sinfield was requested what he made from the Six Nations and the anti-England sentiment, he used the H-word freely and with none trace of concern. When Kyle Sinckler spoke about Welsh grannies aiming impolite hand gestures on the England coach in Cardiff, he did so with a jocular tone.
Murrayfield is quiet a sight to behold forward of a conflict with the auld enemy, that antipathy can’t be misplaced
Everybody who’s concerned is aware of that that is all simply a part of the acquainted Championship tapestry. That journey into the center of the Welsh capital is a hostile expertise for England particularly, however it has been the premise for therefore many vivid anecdotes through the years.
Equally, when the ‘auld enemy’ arrive at Murrayfield behind the slow-walking bagpipers, they’re met by noisy, partisan ardour designed to unsettle them. It’s fairly one thing to behold, even for these on the receiving finish.
It will be a pity to attempt to douse these fires within the title of political correctness. If the police or stewards began having to eject anybody responsible of bad-mouthing the English, or some other guests, among the well-known arenas could be near-deserted.
No one must be wildly offended by any of this and begin calling it one thing it isn’t. It’s simply an indisputable fact of the Six Nations that the Celts need to upset the larger neighbours who used to lord it over them and that’s an engrained dimension within the advanced heritage of those islands.
By all means, discourage the H-word which sits so awkwardly with the terminology clean-up which is a pattern in wider society.
However please let’s enable this sporting volcano to maintain rumbling and erupting, or this favoured landmark within the oval-ball panorama will flip right into a bland, sanitised sequence of ‘friendlies’. What an terrible thought.
Loopy calendar robbed us of Ford v Farrell
The encounter between the Premiership’s high two sides in Salford symbolised the calendar-clash nonsense which have to be resolved if rugby is to actually thrive. This could have been a glittering showpiece of the home sport.
There have been two spectacular line-ups on present on Sunday however seven key gamers have been unavailable as they have been in Steve Borthwick’s England camp and watching from afar.
Scheduling insanity robbed the Premiership of an epic showdown between Owen Farrell (left) and George Ford (proper)
Simply think about, it ought to have been George Ford v Owen Farrell in a marquee playmaker match-up. It ought to have been Jonny Hill up towards the person who, not so way back, he partnered in England’s second row — Maro Itoje. It ought to have been one or each Currys — Ben and Tom — locking horns with Ben Earl.
It ought to have been Bevan Rodd striving to outshine Mako Vunipola on the opposite aspect of the entrance row.
There was nonetheless loads of class on each side, however the sport can’t keep on on this manner, with vital fixtures diminished by the totally avoidable absence of match gamers.
England ought to look past Twickenham
France’s fixtures within the Six Nations subsequent yr won’t be on the Stade de France as it is going to be the centrepiece of the Olympics in Paris and must be ready accordingly.
It is a chance for the French federation to take huge video games to the provinces, which is a daily coverage every autumn anyway.
It’s a disgrace it doesn’t occur in England too, however the distinction is that — not like their Gallic counterparts — the RFU personal their stadium and Twickenham is an 82,000-seat money machine.
After all, particularly within the aftermath of Covid, the necessity to maximise income is indeniable and comprehensible, however nonetheless there ought to be a larger dedication to shifting the nationwide workforce out of the capital occasionally.
England ought to contemplate enjoying worldwide video games away from Twickenham at grounds resembling Ashton Gate
Within the southern hemisphere, there’s a rotation system round totally different venues all through Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, which permits the broader inhabitants to be extra linked to their groups.
England are distinctive in having their very own grand dwelling, but in addition have compelling options to stage video games.
They need to have taken a pre-World Cup fixture to Bristol or Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds.
Higher accessibility is significant, within the quest for extra recognition.