In all the cobblers about England failing to win 2 games of rugby, one against a vastly superior team, is the knowledge that for all the talk the essential point of UK sport will be missed. Winning is an option.
Sure everyone will say they wanted to win. However, this is not at all costs. The FA or ECB or RFU have greater things to uphold like image with sponsors. The punishment beatings of barring players for criminal actions no matter how petty or irrelevant, not including drink driving funnily, or unfunnily, enough. Backed by a media happy to have serial domestic violence offenders like Gascoigne and Bruno on their media.
We then get to upholding the domestic game so the devastatingly effective even if only off the bench Steffon Armitage is not considered for the considerable crime of playing his club rugby in France – Kevin Pietersen was forced to play, or not as the case was, for a County too.
The people running these organisations also have to hold up the bastard children of UK Tabloid culture and Etonian lore. Hierarchy, obedience and conformity. This is that sports people should be a certain way and accept victory and defeat like a good chap. That arrogance and belief are enemies. That style and substance unrelated. That winning with swagger is worse than losing. No better way to minimise talent than to remind it not to show pride or show less than complete deference to men in suits. UK sportspeople and fans can marvel at Warne or Campesi or Messi or Lara or Ronaldo but never under any circumstances copy them.
The great philosopher Keane said of Ireland’s adventures in the Far East “Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail”. This is not relevant here though the worst part of the Cricket and Rugby World Cup failures is that they were well prepared. They showed the required deference, lack of arrogance, behaved impeccably and lost well.
Media should applaud.