While ITV has employed former players of various nationalities to peddle opinion on their World Cup coverage, any pretence it was going to be anything other than totally chariot-centric was quickly put to bed when John Inverdale, a presenter who could scarcely bawl “Home Counties” more loudly if he was shouting through a megaphone fashioned from a rolled-up copy of the Daily Telegraph, introduced an all-English panel of studio experts comprised of Jonny Wilkinson, Sir Clive Woodward and Lawrence Dallaglio.
Meanwhile down on the touchline, Martin Bayfield towered over Jason Robinson, while Francois Pienaar made some early contributions until, one supposes, a minion checked his passport and realised there had been some terrible mistake. Weirdly, despite an early cameo, we neither saw nor heard from the former South African captain again.Apart from the usual inability to understand the tactics or the strategies, I thought that the commentators might have made a little more effort to identify the Fijian players. But a Bill McLaren does not come along every day.
Nice to see Jonny Wilkinson wearing a tie, while the others on parade in the studio went fashionably open-necked. Inverdale is exempted from this criticism as he has no neck - his head just sits on his shoulders without any apparent attachment.