It is often said that Wales is a nation of two million coaches, and that every single one of them has a different opinion on how the Welsh rugby team should be managed. But a strange thing seems to be happening at the moment, everyone seems to agree. Agree that we're crap.
But I thought we were alright...
I'm not one of these blinkered rugby fans who think no matter what glaring reality is staring me in the face, everything will be fine and my team will win everything. In fact, I'm a complete and utter pessimist of the highest order.
On the day we won the Grand Slam I sat with 3 minutes left in the game, 12 points up, shitting myself. I was completely and utterly convinced that somehow, we would concede two tries in quick succession and that would be it. Of course it wasn't and I became quite the optimistic for the next ten months, that is until them over the bridge brought me down with a catastrophic bump.
But against South Africa all in all, it wasn't too bad.
Yes there were problems, oh good Lord there were. We lacked a dynamic ball carrying back row player, we lacked a cutting edge on attack, and the defence, well, lets not make things any worse.
Yet the Welsh press have leaped on these negatives bemoaning how screwed we are. It's almost as if they have forgotten that we've only beaten the Saffers once in our 102 year test history. Forgotten that they won a certain big game in Paris last month, on the back of a withering defence and clinical attack. Forgetting also that they had not one IRB World Player of the Year in their starting XV, but two.
All in all. I thought we were going to get nilled, and they'd probably put a half century on us too. Anyone who actually bought into the pre-match media optimism was either ignorant or stupid. Cynics say that after the first half the Springboks sat back and let us bounce off their watertight defence. Granted, they definitely did, but that's what good teams do when they have a comfortable lead, especially when your defence is as good as South Africa's is.
We scored two tries against the best team in the world, who have the most impressive and physical defence I have ever seen and there's something to be said in that. I dare say we would have scored a few more had Shane Williams and Lee Byrne not withdrawn late and James Hook suddenly not reverted to his shaky summer tour kicking game.
So it wasn't all bad. But where to now?
The future is obviously Black, the Black of the Ospreys. Not wishing to sound ridiculously partisan, but due to our ridiculous summer spending spree a great deal of our young talent can be found in 'Ospreylia':
Mike Phillips is the future Wales 9 and anyone who thinks he isn't has been reaching for a biscuit every time Dwayne Peel has held the ball in the last 12 months.
James Hook is the man at 10. For the next year or so, Stephen Jones will probably win us more games, but talents like Hook come along once in a Gareth Edwards length lifetime...
Gavin Henson, welcome back. Please check your ego at the door this time.
Alun-Wyn Jones - Will captain Wales, for a long time, on the way to being recognised as the best lock to ever wear the three feathers.
Frankly I could go on, but I won't. The point I'm making is that we are not in an England position, we are not having to mourn the loss of our 'Golden Generation'
We constantly think our players are nothing special and that it must be this new coach, or that new coach that occasionally, momentously elevates us to a higher level. But anyone who thinks that needs to look at where Worcester are with such dynamic leadership.
The fact of the matter is, Wales has always and hopefully will always produce great talent. Chatting with Ponty legend Dale McIntosh the other day, he was keen to impress on me how much talent there is in the young players coming through at all age levels, and that in terms of skill we have something really exciting to look forward to.
So lets stop mourning our World Cup misery and for crying out loud let's stop obsessing about losing on Saturday. It was only the 'Prince William Cup' and frankly we all know where his loyalties lie...
The talent will always be there, and short of a rather large Martyn Williams shaped hole for the next few years we aren't in bad shape. We have the talent, we hopefully have the coach, what we need is patience to allow the side to grow and develop.
Until then? Well there's always YouTube...
"If the greatest writer of the written word..." Yeah. Exactly.