Rob Bagchi talks you through what to expect from an afternoon on the sofa in the company of Inverdale, Wilko, Woodward and co
First up, Sean Fitzpatrick and Michael Lynagh gazing at each other like fathers of bride and groom eager for a snifter.
On comes the tee as the All Blacks get a penalty and Richie McCaw tells Dan Carter to kick for the sticks. “Money in the bank,” says Dallaglio. John Inverdale asks Sir Clive Woodward, Jonny Wilkinson and Lawrence Dallaglio what “all this means for England”. Smug man in crowd telling his friend when the pre-flame-throwers spurt out their first flares: “I told you not to have the vindaloo.”
David Pocock and Richie McCaw battle at a breakdown. Commentator Nick Mullins crowns the winner “the ultimate jackal of the tackle”. Nigel Owens stops the prematch pyrotechnics to ask the TMO if he has seen anything illegal. Players run out dressed in the strange combination of long tracksuit trousers and short-sleeved shirts, resembling nothing more than a troop of misshapen male gymnasts.
A drone camera swoops over the peaks of Hellellyn, Skiddaw, Grassmoor and Scafell Pike as Inverdale says: “A penny for Stuart Lancaster’s thoughts.”
Not one player bursts into tears during their national anthem and looks so overcome that they are in danger of committing murder by the time the last note fades. A bad omen for the match?
Each side link arms for the anthems but find harmonising with the soprano impossible. The players finish first, singer second, crowd third.
Pre-haka discussion time, and the consensus is that, like the Incredible Hulk, it is better to shy away from confrontation as, Woodward admits: “I learnt to my cost.”
Former prop David Flatman finally fights past his commentary box colleagues and makes the most tactically astute observation of the match. The All Blacks’ Sam Whitelock and the Wallabies’ Scott Fardy go nose-to-nose in a fight for the ball at the first breakdown and find that their beards stick together like Velcro. Prince Harry with bushman’s beard hands the medals to the winners and the trophy to the victorious captain then melts away, avoiding the temptation to do a Sepp Blatter and cling on to the handles for dear life to photobomb the moment. Your windows rattle to a minor earthquake, which is later discovered to have been the population jumping up and down in the knowledge that they will never again have to endure Paloma Faith.