Happy new year! Happy new decade!
Hopefully you had a good festive break, and Father Christmas delivered what you asked for.
I ran out of steam at the end of 2019, with a World Cup hangover made worse by the Premiership salary cap scandal, but having had some time off – there was a whole week in which I didn’t even open my laptop – I’m back and excited for 2020.
I made it to Kingsholm just before Christmas, but missed the Big Game this year and haven’t really watched any other matches taking place over the last few weeks. As a fan, I felt like I needed that separation – imagine how the players involved in the World Cup must feel, having been going non-stop for well over a year now.
But 2020 should be good, with an intriguing post-RWC Six Nations just a few weeks away. It was an odd period after the World Cup, with no major fallout with firings, resignations, investigations and recriminations, as there had been in both 2015 and 2011 – and to some extent 2007 – and there was obviously no victory parade. Just Eddie Jones saying that maybe he should have picked Joe Marler for the final.
The degree of change in the England squad to be announced shortly will be fascinating. Will we see a raft a new faces, or will it largely be the same squad, building on their experiences in Japan and determined to dominate for the next four years? Probably a bit of both.
I’m also more optimistic about the Premiership, with the news that Nigel Wray has ‘retired’. Don’t get me wrong, Wray has had a huge, positive impact on the game, taking it to a much more professional level at Saracens and beyond, but something had to change. If things had carried on as they were, it would have been a farce, but perhaps this is the start of the major changes required.
So here’s to the new year, the new decade and a new start. I hope it’s a great one for you and your families.