Watching Jim Rosenthal talking to Martin Johnson after yesterday’s England game was like seeing an excited schoolboy talking to a professor, like Ron Weasley talking to Albus Dumbledore. The difference in their depth of knowledge and analytical prowess is surely the biggest mismatch of the 2007 Rugby World Cup so far.
Rosenthal asked of Johnson something along the lines of, “Didn’t Jonny Wilkinson destroy Samoa today?”, at which Johnson started to defend the Samoans – after all, they were magnificent opponents, and were close to taking the lead with a quarter of the match remaining.
Unfortunately, Rosenthal’s thirst for tabloid-esque nonsense of hamming up Wilkinson the hero was unsated. He interrupted Johnno to say, “Yes, but wasn’t Jonny Wilkinson brilliant?”. Toying with the programme host, Johnno responded, yes, he played well but not perfectly, and it was the improvement in the English pack that was the biggest difference over the South Africa embarrassment.
Luckily Francois Pienaar stepped in, lauding Wilko to put the childish grin back on Rosenthal’s face.
Having two World Cup-winning captains as pundits is tremendous, but surely ITV can find a more worthy anchor for the studio analysis – step up Martin Bayfield?