Took older son along to Twickenham today for his first England international. It was against the mighty All Blacks (that’s the New Zealand team for the benefit of those who don’t follow sport at all, in which case this may not prove to be your favourite ever blog post of mine), so I was expecting to see England beaten, probably soundly. After defeats to South Africa and Australia in recent weeks, no one expected England to get anything out of this game.
But England hadn’t read the script. They played well in the first half, and went off leading 12-0 thanks to three penalties and a drop goal. It would have been a bit closer had Dan Carter not missed two very kickable penalties for New Zealand.
12 points is, however, a small lead against a New Zealand side who can score tries quickly. England pushed the score up to 15-0 after another penalty, but then New Zealand scored two converted tries in quick succession to bring the difference down to just one point. The game was beautifully poised, but I think at this stage the Kiwis were once again hot favourites, and England looked destined to finish up plucky losers. The All Blacks were looking dangerous, moving the ball around with amazing speed and accuracy.
But, again, England hadn’t read the script, and scored two tries of their own in quick succession, followed by a remarkable third. We couldn’t believe it. Another penalty led to a score of 38-14. That is a 24 point lead. Against the All Blacks! To their credit, they fought back to score another try, and could have had a fourth at the death, but England held out to win 38-21, their record victory against New Zealand.
It was a truly great game of rugby, and I will at some point have to break the bad news to Dan that this is, alas, as good as it gets, and his future internationals will probably be disappointing in comparison.
Now thawed out back home, and having watched the highlights, it’s wine time.
Tonight’s tipple is a brilliant, natural-tasting Pinot Noir from Australia. It’s made by Yarra producer Jamsheed, and for an Aussie retail price of A$21, it’s incredible value for money. It’s just the sort of wine I love to drink.
Jamsheed Pepé le Pinot 2011 Yarra Valley, Australia
13% alcohol. Singled vineyard Yarra Pinot with 45% whole bunch and the rest whole berries in the natural yeast fermentation. Matured in older French oak. Pale cherry red in colour and ever so slightly cloudy. Lovely fresh, aromatic red cherry fruit nose with subtle herbiness and some sappy notes. The palate is fresh and elegant with some nice savoury peppery notes as well as sweet cherry fruit. Light and drinkable, but also possessing a serious side. Not for cellaring: enjoy this now. 93/100 (UK agent Indigo Wine)
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