The faces said it all.England,20 seconds from a Rugby League World Cup final appearance,crumbled to the floor. Wembley fell silent. New Zealand danced. This was the cruelest of defeats,snatched from the jaws of victory. Leading 18-14 with the match entering its final minute,England conceded a late penalty. As the black wave neared the English line, Shawn Johnson shimmied and breached the barricades with 20 seconds remaining. He converted his own try to send New Zealand to an Old Trafford final and England to ponder what might have been.
Then on Sunday I watched the TV , transfixed, as rugby union’s All Blacks prevented Ireland inflicting their first defeat of 2013, and what would have been Ireland’s first ever victory over New Zealand. It all hung on a last minute New Zealand try emanating from an Irish penalty offense.
Watching the Irish players strewn across the pitch, to say I encountered a tremendous sense of deja vu would be a massive understatement.