And now a short interlude on matters rugby. The Observer had it right in the Summer of 2003:

BLINDSIDE FLANKER: RICHARD HILL 9 Won this correspondent’s vote as the greatest Briton of them all last year, just ahead of Shakespeare. The number of piles of bodies he ends up being at the bottom of defies analysis, as does the frequency and effectiveness of the tackling. When his mates in the back row left him on his own for a little over 10 minutes, he shrugged his shoulders and upped his work rate. The soul of this team. And this nation.

Which tells you a little of my gloom at this news, only slightly relieved at the glorious Sarries performance of yesterday.