The Italian anthem passes without a single tear shed. Weird. If rugby payers aren’t crying during the Italian national anthem, is it really the Italian national anthem at all?
As England warble their way through the national anthem, let’s talk conditions: looks warm, dry, with a bit of wind, but not too much. Cloud cover, but not thick. Just about perfect.
The players are on their way out in Dublin. They are lining up for the anthems.
“It constitutes a decent shift from her,” says David Flatman of Portia Woodman’s eight tries for New Zealand against Hong Kong. Correct.
We are about 10 minutes away from then action.
ITV are rather cruelly showing highlights of New Zealand’s 121-0 dismantling of Hong Kong today. 19 tries. Nineteen.
Coverage has begun on ITV1, and magnificent Maggie Alphonsi and David Flatman, the best rugby pundit on’t circuit, are picking holes in England’s performance against Spain. Seven missed conversions represents a major work-on, eh.
Before the coverage of the game kicks off in earnest, I feel it’s my duty – given its inextricably linked to Guardian rugby MBMs – to inform you of a rather magnificent thing that’s happening in south London today.
As many of you will know, our MBMer-in-chief, Dan Lucas, died tragically and suddenly in March this year, aged 31. He was a wonderful, unique fella and is much missed in this office and far beyond.
Anyway, his brilliant girlfriend Liz has organised a charity cricket match at Alleyn’s Cricket Club in Dulwich. It’s Guerilla Cricket against an all-sorts XI (pictured below), which includes Guardian Sport’s own John Ashdown and Rich Flower, as well as Dan’s dad, Gary. That’s the team you should be supporting!
Dan had diabetes, and they will be raising money for Juvenile Diabetes Research (JDRF). Please dig deep for a wonderful cause. You can donate here.
Ouchy. New Zealand have been playing against Hong Kong. I say playing against, but what I really mean is playing with.
It’s just finished, and the Kiwis won 121-0. If my calculations are correct, they scored 19 [nineteen] tries, and the wing Portia Woodman scored eight on her blooming own. That is one proper mauling. The magnificently named scrum-half Kendra Cocksledge nudged over 13 conversions.
Hello and welcome! This here is the Guardian’s minute-by-minute coverage of England’s second fixture of this year’s Women’s World Cup, against Italy. I’m Will Macpherson and I’m here to guide you through all the action. Every last drop of it.
England went very nicely in their opener, crossing the whitewash 10 times against Spain. But England have a deep squad, and they seem determined to show it off, and have duly made 10 changes. Emily Scarratt is back as skipper, and Amy Wilson Hardy, the zippy winger, is in too, which I’m excited about. Kay Wilson scored four of those 10 tries against Spain, but there’s no place for her today. The only player in the 28-strong squad not to feature in either game is the hooker Vicky Fleetwood, who arrived late to the party because of injury. Simon Middleton’s mob seem confident and in good nick. Encouraging.
When these two sides met in the Six Nations back in February, Fleetwood bagged herself a hat-trick, and Katy McLean (who is on the bench today), was sent off. You sense England will hope life is a touch comfier today. The Italians lost their opening game, to the USA.
This game is on ITV1 if you’re in the UK! In the meantime, to keep you busy, here’s Gerard Meagher’s latest dispatch on England’s team, and here’s a rather nice piece he wrote after the opening game to get you in the swing of things.
Please contact me! I am contactable. There are two main ways you can do this. Here they are:
I greatly look forward to hearing from you. More as I get it …