What a weekend of sporting action we’ve got ahead of us! The Rugby World Cup final between England and South Africa on Saturday night and then Lewis Hamilton guuning for the Formula One world chamionship on Sunday. Cracking stuff – I can’t remember when a weekend last held the prospect of English victories in two such high profile global events.
So, who’s got the better chance? I guess you’d have to say Hamilton. He’s leading the championship – albeit only by four points – and has been on cracking form all season. He also seems fairly unaffected by any amount of pressure (though his off into the gravel in the Chinese pitlane might suggest otherwise). Still, ‘all’ he’s got to do is finish first or second and it doesn’t matter what the moaning Spaniard Alonso does or the death-warmed-up Finn Raikkonen.
I’ve become so quickly used to Hamilton’s stellar performances that I think it’s very easy to forget what an astonishing season the lad’s had. Within a few points of winning the world chamionship in his first year of Formula One! Amazing. OK, so we know that the car you’re in plays a huge part in your chances of success, and he’s been dricing since he could crawl, but even so, he’s been lining up next to the two time world champion and generally blowing him off the track (possibly a little hyberbole from me there). Win or lose, though, he’s not going to be wondering where the next paycheck’s coming from for a long, long time.
Now, the rugby. Slightly different position for the English representatives. They haven’t shown great form for…well, for four years and didn’t for the first few games of the World Cup. But the team spirit has delivered a couple of fantastic performances and landed them in the final. The South African’s have gone about their business quietly and pretty effectively (though not without one or two close calls in the group stage) and they’ve got to go into the final as favourites. It’s silly to say that England have nothing to lose because of course they have…the World Cup (and their reign as World Champions). Heart says England, head South Africa. If it’s close then I’m going England…if South Africa win it’ll be by at least 15 points.
My French neighbours have invited me round to watch the game with them (he’s got a home cinema system and is having a bunch of friends round). I’ve declined for a number of reasons. Firstly, I want to watch the game with English commentary; secondly I generally don’t like watching big sporting fixtures on TV in large groups of people…it’s very distracting…and finally, I tend to get quite, umm, ‘agitated’ during games and I’m not sure my neighbours need the particular English vocabulary I’ll no doubt be using!
Obviously two English World Champions by Sunday evening would be perfect. I’d take one…none at all would mean a hugely depressing start to next week.
There’s one clear winner in all of this though. ITV Sport.