FAN'S VIEW: I was so grateful to be at HQ on 'surreal' Saturday
Bath Rugby supporter Glyn Edwards gives his take on events at The Rec...
As an RFU honorary steward, last Saturday created rather a large poser for me – whether to follow Bath up to Welford Road for the annual scrap with the Tigers, or turn up at Twickenham to fulfil my voluntary contract and watch the world champions.
The annual round of autumn QBE Internationals always creates one or two dilemmas for me as an avid Bath and England supporter and the clash of loyalties always creates a regrettable casualty in terms of a missed match.
This year I skipped Fiji at HQ to use my season ticket to watch Bath thump the Dragons in the LV= Cup and the two Friday fixtures against Harlequins fortunately saved me from an unwelcome choice.
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Prior to Saturday, my rugby instincts told me that while Bath would probably have their best opportunity for several seasons to record a long- awaited win at Leicester, England's chance of turning over New Zealand attracted very long odds from almost all sane observers.
Toby Booth later described the context of Bath's narrow defeat as his most "surreal" experience in rugby, but when chief executive Nick Blofeld kindly texted me the score from the East Midlands just before kick-off at Twickenham I thought that at least we left with a losing bonus point from an obviously close game.
Of course, I had no idea that the basic scoreline concealed so much dramatic incident, until reading reports and then watching the highlights – if that's really the word – on TV on Sunday.
With Lee Mears and Matt Banahan suspended, Bath will be relieved that the two Amlin games provide a timely short break from the Premiership, when some would no doubt have been rested anyway.
As for events in south west London there can hardly have been many serious predictions of an England victory, let alone one as actually unfolded in front of a noisy full house.
I thought that Stuart Lancaster's side had little to lose but pride – if they were well and truly hammered – and expected some sort of positive reaction after the mixed bag of performances in the two previous fixtures.
As things turned out I cannot remember a spectacle as absorbing at Twickenham since the 1999 World Cup semi-final when France also stunned the Kiwis and their London-based followers.
Bemused, bewildered, and begrudgingly gracious summed up the attitude of most of their supporters afterwards and, for once, I was grateful not to have been with Bath.