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Peter Jackson: I see a man on a tractor roaring in to lead Lions

Now 2017 has dawned, no New Year would be complete without a few gongs inspired by the events of the old one. How many of the winners have the nerve to collect their award is anyone’s guess…

Nigel Farrage chamber pot for the fastest Brexit:

Northampton Saints for engineering their shameful early withdrawal from the Champions’ Cup by taking five fit internationals out of Leinster’s line of fire for the Dublin return. Result: Leinster 60, Sinning Brexiteers 13.

Mahatma Gandhi medal for non-violent protest:

England captain Dylan Hartley, peerless consistency for red card offences, rarely misses a trick to lengthen a career suspension almost as long as the Severn Bridge.

Davey Crockett raccoon hat for living American dream:

Doug Schoninger, owner-promoter of American PRO Rugby, a modest league of five teams from three states. The Denver Stampede won it, not that the few fans who turned up were in danger of being over-run.

A former bond trader based in New York, Schoninger gave the event the expected big licks. The official website still does: “Thanks to the fans, players and coaches for making our inaugural season a huge success.’’

No mention of the yuletide message sent to all 101 full-time professionals five days before Christmas. It gave them notice that their contracts would be terminated in 30 days.

Andy Haden-Frank Oliver trophy for the dive of year:

Pascal Pape, for a pre-Christmas plunge at Murrayfield low in technical merit but laughably high on artistic impression. It was considered so good that Wu Minxia, the Chinese diver and first person on Earth to win five Olympic golds, had to settle for silver.

George ‘Dubya’ Bush jockstrap for best footballing ability of a US President:

Donald Trump, as vouched for by an old classmate, Ted Levine, from the New York Military Academy of the mid-Sixties: “Could he play football?  Could he play soccer? He could do anything he wanted.’’

And, in conclusion, a few thoughts from Nostradamus on a subject memorably described by the late baseball great Yogi Berra as only he could: “Making predictions is very difficult, especially about the future.”

As the 16th century French prophet would have told this column had he not popped off his mortal coil 451 years ago: “I see an Ulsterman driving a tractor on his farm near the Irish border, a man who strangely supporters Middlesbrough Football Club. He will captain the Lions.

“I see one team in red winning the PRO12. I see another team in red fighting over a wooden spoon. And then a team from my beautiful France shall paint the rugby map of Europe a lovely colour of yellow and blue.’’

He is referring to Rory Best, Munster, Wales and Clermont Auvergne. Remember where you heard it first.

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