In the run up to the Rugby World Cup, I'd like to know what's in store for the future of rugby union. Is it going to be dominated by strong defences? Is the path of a game going to be dictated by the number of penalties awarded, by packs of rolling malls and choke tackles? Personally, I hope not, because it will destroy the very heart and soul of the game, a sport which will become used and worn out and shelved into the annals of history like boxing.
Hearts across the country predicted an English win by 3, based on the character they showed on the road in Cardiff and the flair showcased in both of the opening fixtures it delivered high hopes of a fourth consecutive victory over Ireland. However after eighty minutes of rugby, those hopes were dashed, England were beaten and they were beaten well by an steely Irish side.
This morning, as the sun rises, there will be many rugby fans across the country that are thinking about the events that unfolded over the past two days. It was quite the day in the history of the game in indeed in the history of Wasps Rugby Club. It has never been a secret that High Wycombe and Adams Park wasn't the forever home of the Club so the confirmation of the move yesterday didn't come from nowhere.
Yesterday it was announced that Stuart Lancaster and his core team, Andy Farrell, Mike Catt and Graham Rowntree have all had their contracts extended until the 2019/2020 season. When he made this announcement, the Chairman of the RFU, Ian Richie, used the following words; "we believe this is entirely the right decision for the future of England Rugby" and I have to say I totally agree with him and here is why.
England Champions of the World, England Women World Cup Champions, England Women World Cup Winners, however you choose to phrase it, we will never tire of hearing it... this Women's Rugby World Cup catapults the sport forward in the UK and across the world and leaves a legacy that changes the Women's Rugby, for the better, forever.
England's depth of talent has deepened to a point where in every position there are at least two or even three truly viable options... if England make the same amount of progression that they have done since this time last year then there is no reason why they won't head into the World Cup confident and fully ready.
England will face Ireland in the Women's Rugby World Cup semi-final on Wednesday 13 August. Some might brush off Ireland and predict an easy English victory, however with the unpredictable twists and turns the tournament has taken so far, it won't be so black and white with who proceeds to the final on Sunday 17 August.
There are rarely any dull moments; huge collisions, eye-watering feat, fierce rivalries and deft skills means that if you switch off for a second during a match you'll miss something... Rugby is a physically dangerous sport, on a weekly and even daily basis players put their bodies and indeed lives on the line.
The trajectory of the negotiations that started over a year ago to agree a new accord beyond the current season, is a tale of brinkmanship resulting from the abandonment of meaningful cooperation and a refusal to even contemplate change. Myopia is the common theme here and no group is blameless in this episode.
England are right to exclude overseas-based players from the national team. It's no secret that the giants of the French Top 14 are prepared to splash some serious cash to snap up top players. Racing Metro and Toulon in particular let their chequebooks do the talking over the close season; the Parisian giants snapped up the likes of Dan Lydiate, Jamie Roberts and Jonny Sexton, while their south coast rivals added South Africa legend Bryan Habana and others to their already star-studded squad.