Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

Border raiders top of the list - for now

Figure image
It's opening day of the Six Nations and is there any better way to start than a game against the Old Enemy. At home.

It depends on which national team you follow and, if you are English, which one of the ‘old enemy’ – they all appear to hate us – you would likely to beat the most.

And if you’re a Tigers fan, there’s obviously the deciding factor of which Leicester players are wearing the shirts.

Scotland are the old enemy in this case, though in any given year you would bet on most English rugby followers also including France and Wales in that bracket. The Welsh because of the number of times they have humbled the English in our lifetimes, from their 1970s glory days to Scott Gibbs to three recent Grand Slams. In the French case, be honest, it’s basically because they are 'proper foreign'. And they’re usually pretty good.

The Irish are also good, but they’re hospitable and, as Tigers, we always wanted to see Geordan a) in the team and b) winning.

The Italians are always tough opponents though generally well beaten. But they’ve got Castro and you cannot possibly want him to suffer in the national cause.

For today, though, Scotland are on the other side of the white line waiting for England and, thanks to the Scots mainly and the views aired by Jim Telfer in the build-up, this is hyped as the real clash of the real ‘old enemies’.

Perhaps it is cranked up too by the fact that we don’t often meet away from Test matches. Tigers, for instance, lock horns with a Welsh province regularly in Europe and annually in the ‘does-what-it-says-on-the-tin’ Anglo-Welsh Cup.

We also meet the French every year in Europe – whichever French team has the best form, most formidable home record and major financial backing are determining factors in guessing our likely Heineken Cup opponents.

But the Scots have just two pro teams and the odds of facing them as a club are drastically reduced. They remain for the large part just out of reach and earshot. There are not too many Scots in Premiership Rugby either so there is little banter on a domestic basis.

This all means there is an element of mystery covering our closest neighbours. If familiarity breeds contempt, then unfamiliarity must breed something even more blood-curdling. And it is all let out at Twickenham on the opening day of the Six Nations.