Close call at Murrayfield
Sorry, but I cannot discuss the possibility of an Italian Six Nations victory at Twickenham with a straight face, any more than I can imagine my mother taking a set off Serena Williams.
It’s not the Italians’ fault. Well, it’s partly their banned captain Sergio Parisse’s fault, who has a big talent, a big heart and a big gob to go with it—he was banned for 30 days following a domestic verbal clash with a referee.
This weekend, Scotland versus Wales will be the outstanding fixture, with Murrayfield awash with talk of a second-place finish, while Wales are hoping for a second straight win.
Elsewhere, Ireland could all but condemn the French to la cuillère en bois. Here’s hoping les Bleus enjoy it for the first time this millennium.
Six Nations Rugby:
Scotland v Wales Sat 2pm (k/o 2.30pm) BBC1/2.15pm 5 Live Sports Extra
Ireland v France Sat 4.35pm (k/o 5pm) BBC1/ 4.45pm 5L Sp Ex
England v Italy Sun 2.20pm (k/o 3pm) BBC1/3pm 5 Live
FA Cup numbers games
Despite the attempts of some to devalue the FA Cup, with fifth-round average attendance at more than 30,000, more people are paying to see it now than have been in three decades, stretching back to the days when managers fielded full-strength sides and ties weren’t overshadowed by league matches the same day.
And we are guaranteed an underdog in the last four, thanks to the bag of balls coughing up Millwall v Blackburn Rovers, an all-Championship clash that ensures a non-Premier League side at Wembley Stadium, where the semi-finals will be held, though almost every sane fan is against it.
FA Cup quarter-finals:
Everton v Wigan Athletic Sat 12.15pm (k/o 12.45pm) ITV, not STV/5 Live
Man City v Barnsley Sat 4.30pm (k/o 5.30pm) ESPN/5.30pm 5 Live
Millwall v Blackburn Rovers Sun 1.30pm (k/o 2pm) ESPN/1.30pm 5L Sp Ex
Man Utd v Chelsea Sun 4pm (k/o 4.30pm) ITV, not STV/4.30pm 5 Live
Joy for Spurs
Bayern Munich against Arsenal should make great viewing... if you’re a Spurs fan.
The favourites will confirm the elimination of the Gunners, who will then spend the ensuing days addressing Arsène’s future, transfer kitties and trophyless seasons. It’s all just a little too familiar and, despite its validity, boring.
Bayern Munich v Arsenal Wed 7pm (k/o 7.45pm) SS2/7.45pm 5 Live