ENGLAND were so desperate to avoid re-living their painful 21-13 defeat to Wales that they demanded TVs showing re-runs of the match should be switched off.
The replays were being shown at the room reserved for the after-match dinner at the Principality Stadium – it is a tradition at every game, even if Wales lose.
There were mutterings of “bad losers” as England officials asked for the screens to be kept blank, and the word went round to corporate hospitality punters to explain why they could not watch the highlights.
One guest commented: “I’ve been to the function a few times, and the games are always on in the background. Someone made the point that England didn’t ask for them to be switched off when they won here in 2015 and 2017.”
It was also revealed that England had booked a room at the St David’s Hotel in Cardiff for a late night party, expecting to justify their pre-match status as odds-on favourites.
Wales learned of those plans before the game, and used it as added motivation.
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Coach Warren Gatland probably felt his players did not need that extra incentive, as he was supremely confident they would stretch their winning run to a record 12 matches in row.
He spoke at a charity dinner a few days before the match – under a condition of total confidentiality until it was over – and explained the reason for his bullish attitude.
He said: “I pushed the players so hard in training for four days that some of them were physically sick on the pitch.
“I had to give them two days off to recover afterwards, but I knew they would be ready for anything England could throw at us.”