NATION UNITES IN FAINTLY DUTIFUL REJOICING!: Good work our boys etc. etc., and it was all very exciting, but I have to say I can’t detect as yet the mass uplifting of the national spirit that some might have expected. Isabel and I went shopping on Saturday afternoon, and on the way in we listened to the radio. The Capital afternoon DJ was in a state of great excitement and played a pop-reggae version of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” several times. Not v. good. We switched over to Trevor Nelson. Our Trevor had some exciting news – “I hardly need tell you what’s been dominating the news here all week,” he began. “Yes, Eminem is fighting accusations of racism in his lyrics.” Whaaat? What about DROP IDOL, Trev?

I like Trevor Nelson. He seems an honest fellow and it always sounds like he’s having great fun doing his show. He did, after a while, mention the rugby. What he said struck a bit of a chord. He’d been on the edge of his seat, cheering England on, thought it had been a great game and felt a swell of pride – and then ten minutes later he’d thought, “Right, that’s that then”.

Some writers in the newspapers have been talking up the World Cup as rugby’s Italia ’90 moment, the point when an underappreciated sport breaks through into public consciousness and surges in popularity. I’m not convinced. I grew up in the Home Counties in the 80s and was educated privately for most of that time – classic rugby and cricket territory, but only the sports-mad paid them any attention at all, whereas even the real sportophobes knew something about football. Rugby and cricket still seem to me the blues and jazz of sport – grand important old traditions that everybody is respectfully aware of. They might buy an album or cheer on a team now and then if it’s marketed right, and feel much better for it, but regular long-term interest is the preserve of a committed hardcore.