Isn’t sport going well in this country at the moment? The Lions tour, Wimbledon joy at last and Ashes favouritism. Even the Olympics still has steam with the upcoming Anniversary Games at Stratford.

As an Aussie in London, I don’t begrudge England one bit of this success. Much of it is deserved and all of it brings the vibe in a pub up an impressive notch, a fact I’ll never complain about. But after an encounter with one English ‘fan’ too many last week, I’d like to offer what would in friendly terms be called a ‘pull your head in’.

My new mate, at a pub obviously, was wearing a matching blue England tracksuit, drinking Carling (probably) and very likely had his pitbulls tied up out the front – I really hope he doesn’t read TNT. His vocabulary was limited, at best, not his fault but that of the British education system.

So I took his jibes, such as, “Ha ha, Australia’s shit at cricket now.” And, “You’re bollocks at rugby now too.” Any response involving talk of rebuilding phases, diminished funding and questions of why talent pools are drying up weren’t worth the hassle, so I went with a smile (not too big though, would hate him to think I was a poof) and a nod with an undertone of ‘please don’t feed me to your dogs’.

But to those English who are slightly less likely to glass me, and to Aussies who are dealing with this ‘banter’ – and it is almost always good fun banter – I’d like to say this:

• The British and Irish Lions won because most of the team were so comfy wearing red (as they were Welsh). Of the 71 Lions points scored in Tests, five were scored by the English.

• Andy Murray is a Scot. An Englishman claiming his success is like Australia getting warm and fuzzy about the All Blacks. And Laura Robson was born in Melbourne.

• But the biggest is to come. Next year is the World Cup in Brazil, where the weight of expectation on the England team – if they qualify – will almost certainly be met with a thud. They’re a reliable bunch. The Australians have done well to get there, so are under zero pressure, and I’d probably back them in a penalty shoot-out.

Agree or disagree? Is England’s sport bragging justified?


%TNT Magazine% darren boof cricket

Link and boof are right for Aussies 

No offence at all intended to Robbie Deans or Mickey Arthur, but Australian coaches for Australian teams seems to be better for all involved. 

After Saffa Arthur got dumped pre-Ashes for Darren ‘Boof’ Lehmann (pictured), Kiwi Deans paid the price for a Lions defeat. When appointed to their cricket and rugby posts they were for sure the best qualified for the job, but a resume doesn’t make someone the most appropriate.

Ewen McKenzie, whose nickname ‘Link’ is less used but similarly brutish after wrestler The Missing Link, now commands the Wallabies, and the similarities to Lehmann are surely no accident. 

Aussie rugby and cricket need hard heads who command respect in the dressing room from teams struggling with discipline. It helps these two are students of their games, with early success as coaches and impressive careers behind them. Aussie fans could soon be saying ‘you beauty’.


Photo: Getty