It is another landmark weekend in the sporting calendar, as the Six Nations kicks off on this side of the Atlantic and the Super Bowl takes place tomorrow on the other.
The first match of the Six Nations took place last night and saw England win at the Millennium Stadium for the first time since 2003. The 26-19 victory gave the favourites the start they needed in this year’s tournament, but was a major setback for their hosts. Wales have now gone 8 games without a win and will face a trip up to Scotland next week in a game they have to be looking to win to prevent their season from spiralling out of control already. Elsewhere this weekend, Ireland travel to Italy and France will be looking to start their campaign with a victory over the Scots. I don’t pretend to be a rugby union expert, but if recent past seasons are anything of a guide then expect a French or English victory lap come March 19th.
The major sporting occasion of the weekend is, of course, Super Bowl XLV taking place in Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas. Now, I know even less about the NFL than I do of rugby matters, but I will be sitting down tomorrow evening to watch the Green Bay Packers take on Pittsburgh Steelers – or the start of it at least. Due to the time difference the game is likely to go on to something like 4:00 a.m. on Monday morning, so I may have to bail out at half-time – or rather after watching the half-time show by the Black Eyed Peas. Even as a non-follower of the sport, the Super Bowl is still clearly a great occasion and a wonderful spectacle. I know that the English FA, not to mention UEFA and FIFA, could learn a thing or two about putting on a show from the NFL.
Back in the domain of the round ball the main interest may be the contest between Chelsea and Liverpool in the EPL – not, for once, because of any realistic title challenges but because the fixture computer has thrown up this match in the very same week that Fernando Torres moves from Merseyside to the Blues. I suspect things may get a little tasty at the Bridge tomorrow!
All of this, of course, pales in comparison to events down at the County Ground, Swindon where the Town are taking on Rochdale as I write these notes. Firmly ensconced in the bottom 4 at the start of the day, Swindon will be hoping to get something out of this game in an effort to revitalize what has been a very disappointing season to date. Elliot Benyon is making his Swindon debut after his deadline day signing from Torquay United, and goals are most certainly needed at the CG. Come on You Reds!
Whatever sport you follow, I hope you have a winning weekend!