In an interview in the Christmas issue of Radio Times David Beckham no less boasted that he is a rugby man!
He was quoted thus:” I love rugby – I love watching it and I love the whole thing.” Why? Well, it’s all about the fans. “People sitting together with no nastiness”.
Then the clincher: “I have enjoyed going to Twickenham more than I have enjoyed watching football.”
Ah David…we were doing so well. I like going to Twickenham as well, but alas have never managed an invite to the executive box which seems to be Mr. Beckham’s natural Twickenham habitat judging from when he appears on T.V. waving to the less fortunate.
And I bet he has never stood in the pouring rain watching Ealing Trailfinders play a Greene King Championship match against Yorkshire Carnegie along with 620 other damp souls.
In recent seasons Trailfinders have been the ultimate yo-yo club. They were playing in National Division 3 South as recently as 2009, but by the end of the 2012-13 season they had finished at the summit of National League 1 and were promoted to the Championship. They finished 12th and were relegated but bounced back after just one season (with an impressive haul of 136 points), where they now face another struggle to stay in the division.
Saturday’s opponents, Yorkshire Carnegie ( or Leeds Carnegie as they were then) were a Premiership club as recently as 2011,but while being generally regarded as one of the “big beasts” of the Championship have yet to seriously demonstrate their ability to reclaim their Premiership status. After Saturday’s 45 – 29 victory they lie in third place and are handily placed for the post-season play-off lottery.
They also have a player with 27 England caps in their ranks, albeit for the English rugby league side. At the age of 35 Kevin Sinfield decided he wanted to give rugby union a go after a silverware-stuffed career with Leeds Rhinos (who share a stadium with Carnegie so at least getting used to his surroundings wouldn’t have been a problem). After Sam Burgess’s much trumpeted and controversial switch to the union code Sinfield’s move was a much more low-key affair.
But he is obviously a quick learner and operated at fly-half in a very convincing display. He also operated as his team’s kicker, and I couldn’t help wondering what effect he might have had on English rugby union if he had made the switch 10 years earlier.