Swing low sweet chariot

by Chris Bertram on November 22, 2003

A great game — including a great try to boring boring England — and the right result . Commiserations to Brian (England had to beat Australia at something, one day).



Kieran Healy 11.22.03 at 11:38 am

Well done Engerland. Er, England. Johnny with the last kick of the game. Boy’s Own stuff, except poor old Johnny is not a Boy’s Own hero — he may indulge himself with an extra glass of Lucozade this evening, and be out practising tomorrow morning by 8:30.

I’ll be more charitable in a few minutes, once the residual effect of all the Australians I watched the game with has worn off.


jdsm 11.22.03 at 12:13 pm

Fantastic. England only ever looked like they were going to win this despite the nail-biting scores. Indeed, they were the superior team throughout but suffered from a lack of discipline.

And contrary to what Kieran says, thank god England finally have a sporting role-model. If our kids must worship people who throw.kick or hit balls around, this is the man. Dedication, strength and above all humility. Of all the England players in the end of match photo, who was stuck out at the sidelines trying to look inconspicuous? – Jonny Wilkinson. It’s a rare thing.


derrida derider 11.22.03 at 1:14 pm

Yep, the better team won – I reckon we (the Wallabies) were lucky to get that close. The pommy forwards were very, very skilled – if our forwards ever dominated the way they did then our backs would run up a cricket score.

But gee the IRB has to do something to make games less of a kicking lottery – start by making penalties and field goals only worth two points each (I know, this would encourage professional fouls but you deal with that the same way league does – get the refs to be trigger happy with the yellow card.)


Chirag Kasbekar 11.22.03 at 1:56 pm


Now I can hope that Australia goes into deep national mourning and the precarious psychological condition of their freakish cricket team prevents them from walloping the Indians when they play down under over the next month or so.

Mere defeat I can handle.


harryj 11.22.03 at 4:11 pm

Old derrida derider wants to change the rules already! Well these monotonous wins by England over the Wallabies will have to change. Whatsay we give them a ten point start next time? Or sixteen men? Or both?


Chris Bertram 11.22.03 at 4:32 pm

Since it was one try each with an equal number of penalties and JW’s drop goal separating the sides, the result would have been exactly the same!


Norman Geras 11.22.03 at 4:50 pm

It was fair dos, no question.


jdsm 11.22.03 at 5:28 pm

It’s not really a kicking lottery is it? The reason England kick so many points is because the opposition give away penalties through spoiling the plays. Eventually you have to take your points. In dry conditions England play multi-phase rugby but if there’s no way through a drop goal is the most sensible option. Since Australia had the second best defence in the tournament it’s not surprising if it came down to kicks. Be fair though, we could have had two tries if it weren’t for a certain donkey in England’s second row.


harryj 11.22.03 at 6:59 pm

Kieran Healy, if Wilkinson can do the job on a Lucozade you Wallabies had better drop the amber nectar stuff; it rots yer game. I note Wilkinson is having a lie in tomorrow.


seanoshaughnessy 11.22.03 at 8:03 pm

Well done England. The supersoaraway Sun was already calling for a knighthood for Jonny before the game – I can’t imagine what their monday morning cover will be suggesting.


derrida derider 11.23.03 at 8:31 am

Umm, people – I did say that the best side won. England have been consistently the best side for a couple of years now – I thought I made it clear that I don’t think they’re just a one-man show.

But rugby would be a better game if there was less emphasis on kicking, both for goals and lineouts. No-one wants to eliminate the kicking game, just reduce its overwhelming importance.


derrida derider 11.23.03 at 8:40 am

Oh, and one more thing. Wilko might be a fabulous kicker, but he’s the Geoff Boycott of rugby. I reckon he’s less entertaining than Benny Hill and more boring company than Eric Ostlethwaite.

Is it the pommy climate that breeds these perfectionist loners?


VJ 11.23.03 at 11:05 am

You could hear the triumphalism in the BBC announcers voices too. Something good to report instead of Bush/Blair!


Chris Bertram 11.23.03 at 1:00 pm

I’ve deleted one offensive homophobic comment from this thread.


harryj 11.23.03 at 7:03 pm

derrida derider who won the cup then?


harryj 11.23.03 at 7:10 pm

vj. BBC? I’m surprised they didn’t say it was an infringement of Wallaby human rights!


dsquared 11.24.03 at 9:07 am

A mate who has worked in Australia for a long time offers this pithy observation on Aus/Eng sporting fixtures:

“I try to arrange things so that I’m not in the office the day after a big international. If they’ve won, they’re unbearable, and if they’ve lost, they’re really unbearable”.


harryj 11.24.03 at 4:38 pm

dsquared. Even you Aussies have rights you know! Rough treatment at the hands of the English entitle you to redress in the European Court of Human Rights! “Oh! How are the mighty fallen and the weapons of war perished!” Oh dear! How sad! never mind.


IanJ 11.25.03 at 8:45 am

Derrida derider:

The bigger the difference in points between a try and a penalty goal, the more defending teams will infringe rather than allow tries to be scored. Reduce penalty goals to two points, and we’ll see even more of them. That what you want?



Ian Whitchurch 11.25.03 at 10:40 am


There are several solutions.

The first and best one is the sin bin for professional fouls – which is what you are talking about.

Having a “power play” for 10 minutes is often worth 2 or more tries in Super 12 – more if you include the fatigue factor on the rest of the team.

There is no way in hell someone standing on the wrong side of a ruck 35 meters out from the try lineis worth 3 points, which is the way things work now.

Ian Whitchurch


Eddie Jones 11.27.03 at 2:01 pm

But does anybody know what Swing Low Sweet Chariot has to do with English rugby history ?

Is it just that the average supporter can just about remember the words ?


Jonny 12.03.03 at 1:27 am

Thanks to all the fans for your tremendous support…



Oti 12.05.03 at 6:48 pm

For “Eddy Jones” (question posted 27 Nov), have a look at the RFU website. There’s a page explaining. I’m sure you can find it yourself


Tommy C 12.11.03 at 3:46 am

Well, what can i say, congrats to england, no doubt they were winning ugly. The better team???
Very very arguable, but hey, dads army had to win something some time didn’t they? Now they got 2 things to celebrate, 1966 and 2003. But all i can say is enjoy it while it lasts, success is, in your case very very fleeting. Look out england, when your forward pack dissapears/retires (imminent, very very imminent). The true test is whether or not you can back up this win. Beware the wounded Wallaby……..


Mark Nolan 12.19.03 at 8:06 am

Reason why Swing Low is sung at England rugby matches:



Mac 12.22.03 at 12:58 pm

Tommy C

I take it you don’t consider the Tri-nations tournament to be a worthwhile event. And I take it that when Australia won (only twice in the last seven years), you didn’t celebrate that?

Compare that to the last few seasons of England rugby – Six Nations winners three times, Grand slam once, World Champions, a whitewash over Australia in their last five encounters, similarly New Zealand and South Africa. And all by our old boys.

If only we had younger players like you guys……

Oh well, let’s just celebrate that for the time being.

PS – Thanksfully, after the win on Saturday, we have backed up our previous wins already. See you sometime in 2004, when the wounded wallaby returns…..

Comments on this entry are closed.