IT’S a good job that neither we nor the rest of the British media put the boot into the England rugby team isn’t it?
OK, maybe we gave them some (constructive) criticism in recent weeks, but it was rammed down our throat as an inspired side ran in five tries to overwhelm France 34-10 at Twickenham – with every point scored by the hosts inside a golden first 42 minutes.
Their five tries made them 13-try championship leading scorers as London Irish full-back Delon Armitage inspired his side to make the garlic wearing, cheese munching surrender monkeys look like rank amateurs.
Only once the French faced upto the prospect of a record defeat did the shell shocked souls show any sign of resilience.
But not even the concession of two late tries could sour the mood as coach Martin Johnson’s job was safeguarded by the same players guilty of putting it at risk in the first place.
As Mike Tindall (below) had warned: “If we go down that road again, Jonno will get his long studs on and start stamping on our heads.”
But only now is it dawning on England that in a low-quality Six Nations they could be going into a virtual walkover against the shocking Scots with a Grand Slam in their sights had they not been so damn indisciplined against Wales and Ireland.
But it’s always great to beat the conflict avoiding French. While they like to dismiss us as Les Rosbifs it was the men in the berets who ended up with a traditional Sunday roasting.
ON a blood soaked canvas, Amir Khan’t removed a letter from the end of his surname and moved a step closer to being crowned king of the world with a brutal battering of Marco Antonio Barrera.
Khan served his critics their words with a side portion of humble pie as he stopped the 35-year-old boxing legend after five rounds of bloodlust.
When Khan’s contest against the Mexican ended with a technical-decision victory due to a stomach-churning forehead cut that needed 33 stitches to repair, the judges scorecards merely proved what a one-sided contest it was.
The Bolton brawler’s faltering steps towards the world lightweight title – after being put on his arse in 54 seconds by Breidis Prescott late last year – became a determined march to glory.
He has pieced his career back together by ditching two trainers to team with American Freddie Roach and sparring with the current best P4P fighter Manny Pacquiao, who beat Barrera in 2007, who he’ll help prepare for his fight against Ricky Hatton in Vegas on May 2.
Khan admitted: “I would love to help Manny. It is a real friendship.
“He gives me sound advice. I beat Barrera like Manny beat him. Manny called me after the fight and was over the moon. We go at it in the gym but I would never fight him for real in the ring.”
Fuck me Amir, hold your horses. Nobody ever suggested you would.
But with power punches landing in a blink of Barrera’s blood-soaked left eye, the ageing star who had world titles seven times at three different weights was completely outclassed. Speed kills, speed thrills.
He added: “It was make or break. If I’d lost this fight – forget about Amir Khan. I have proved to a lot of people how good I am.”
Trainer Freddie Roach said: “This fight was Khan’s first step to stardom. When Pacquiao beat Barrera it was his first step to greatness and I feel the same for Amir – he is my next superstar.”
Peter Kay and Vernon Kaye move over. Bolton has a new top dog.
It wasn’t such good news for Brits elsewhere on the card as Nicky Cook and Enzo Maccarinelli both suffered shock defeats. Wimps.
• IRRITATINGLY smug Yank Phil Mickelson overcame a bout of heat exhaustion to claim a victory at the WGC-CA Championships in Florida.
The new world no2 needed hospital treatment after feeling ill following his third round, but he showed few ill-effects as he completed a one-shot win over compatriot Nick Watney at Doral.
Judging by our exclusive picture Phil, who won his first World Golf Championship title, will spend some of his winner’s cheque on legal action.