Scrum dancing

The Six Nations rugby tournament begins this weekend and, if past years are anything to go by, we can expect a good few customers down at the pub to watch it. Actually, over the last five years, we've noticed our numbers gently decreasing for football matches - unless it's a big game - while the hot pursuit of the oval ball has seen a gradual upsurge in customers to the point where I'd now say they're almost equally popular.

Why is this? Well, football is not exactly the people's game any more, is it? The fans can't really be expected to relate to the molly coddled players with their flashy sports cars, tasteless mansions and sanskrit tattoos.

After a while, it really starts to irk the soul, being expected to applaud someone who earns in an hour what you do in a week and, oftentimes, not making a very good fist of it at that. (Those corners that go straight from boot to crowd behind the goal, for example. Good God. You've had all week to practise that one kick, you fool - try to keep it on the pitch at least.)

The histrionics and the diving (often simultaneous) don't help either. When you add a light sprinkling of finger-jabbing at the referee, sore losing and questionable vocabulary, it doesn't make for a very appealing recipe at all.

Meanwhile, for now at least, rugby players appear more approachable and better mannered. The referees are respected, by and large, and, perhaps most appealingly, the players - for the most part - appear not to have forgotten the art of losing gracefully and assuming responsibility for not having done a good enough job.

According to the press , England are favourites to win this year's trophy with France waiting menacingly in the wings ready to pounce should they slip up. Whatever the outcome, lots of our customers are really looking forward to the tournament and there's a quite buzz about the place.

Let's see if the same applies this summer for the football European Championship or whatever they call it now.

I'm starting to have my doubts.