For 15 minutes, Wales seemed set to prove the doomsayers wrong. The national rugby team started today's Six Nations international in Dublin in rampant mood, enjoying some 75% of the possession. An early try for Mark Jones suggested that Wales might avoid their usual torrid time at Lansdowne Road.
It was not to be. Nagging fears that the early possession should have produced more than 5 points soon proved accurate. Wales faded - not helped by Stephen Jones' injury - and Ireland romped to a 31-5 victory.
Had Wales won, the outrage against the Welsh Rugby Union's decision to oust our most successful coach since the Seventies glory days might have been silenced. Defeat means that that extraordinary decision is once again under the spotlight. So much for new coach Scott Johnson's supposed special relationship with the Welsh squad. After that initial 15 minute push, Wales looked totally lacking in inspiration or hwyl. Mike Ruddock? Our sympathy for the way the WRU tossed him aside grows by the day.
Unless the WRU changes, it could be a lot more than 27 years before Wales wins another Grand Slam.