Nick Purewal Six Nations Comment: Lancaster's rare error helps hype up the Welsh
An innocuous answer to a straightforward question handed Wales a psychological boost ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations decider.
England were outclassed and outgunned in their record 30-3 defeat at the Millennium Stadium – but the lessons from the loss extend beyond the playing arena.
A NATION disgusted, a squad hyped up on hubris.
Sometimes all it takes is one false move.
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Stuart Lancaster has transformed England in fantastic fashion after their shambolic 2011 World Cup.
But the savvy and down-to-earth head coach was always going to make mistakes.
It was a typically-honest answer to a straightforward question – but across the Severn Bridge, the hackles shot to the sky.
Would a Grand Slam in 2013 boost England’s chances at World Cup 2015?
Well, yes, conceded the former Leeds coach.
Cue an even deeper cut into the chip that is the Welsh rugby psyche.
When it comes to rugby, Wales love to hate England. Hats off to them: all’s fair in good-humoured sporting rivalry.
Fuelling the fire never ends well.
Obviously a Grand Slam win now would be a long-term boost towards 2015, shrugged Lancaster.
Never mind the World Cup, barked Wales as one, you think you can take a Grand Slam for granted in our back yard?
Now, England’s homespun, humble management team did nothing of the sort.
But the ‘arrogant English’ tag is the easiest shtick of all – and pumps up the principality every time.
In an era when every word is scrutinised, sometimes a smart piece of politicking goes a long way.
Let’s be clear – Lancaster’s comment did not cause England to lose. Wales were superior in every department.
But it certainly proved a hindrance. Add it to the scrum and the midfield on the list of problems England can start chalking up to experience.