It was little wonder that John Inverdale sounded relaxed when he answered my call, he was out enjoying a morning walk in Richmond Park after the Beast from the East had transformed it into a winter wonderland.
The accompanying background noise of crunching snow and barking dogs was in stark contrast to that of bruising tackles and roaring crowds at the previous weekend’s Six Nations matches where he presented BBC One’s coverage of the Scotland versus England Calcutta Cup clash from Murrayfield.
The Scots upset the form book to claim the silverware for the first time in 10 years with a stunning 25-13 victory over an England team which had lost just once in its previous 26 matches under shrewd coach Eddie Jones, and it was a result that the 60-year-old broadcaster welcomed.
“It’s important no one team dominates the tournament,” he said. “I am very much a rugby socialist and would love to see Italy win the Six Nations.
“Scotland’s victory was a great result for the sport. Gregor Townsend is an excellent coach and his side thoroughly deserved to win.
“The result was reminiscent of the Wales win over England at Wembley back in 1999. England really were lacking on this occasion.”
Inverdale will be on familiar – and hopefully less snowy – ground when he hosts his Rugby Re:Union with four special guests at Richmond Theatre on Sunday, March 18, the day after the curtain falls on this year’s Six Nations Championship.
The show promises to be an insightful evening of candid analyisis and colourful conversation with former players Andy Nicol, Rob Henderson and Brian Moore, as well as current Wales and Harlequins centre Jamie Roberts.
“The temptation is to hold back your views a bit for television and radio,” said Inverdale.
“In this show we have four very interesting and opinionated guests who will be only too willing to give their impressions on the Six Nations and the game as a whole.
“Brian is an interesting character. He is qualified solicitor among many other things and would be worth having a show of his own.
“He is droll and forthright. You can take the man out of Yorkshire, but you can’t take Yorkshire out of the man.
“Andy Nicol has some great stories and will happily talk about the ‘small’ part he played in the history of British and Irish Lions.
“Rob Henderson in a fine raconteur and Jamie Roberts is still very much involved, of course. He can give a great insight into those he has played with and against. It’s going to be a fun evening.”
There’s no doubting that south-west London and Surrey is a rugby union hotbed headed by Aviva Premiership side Harlequins who are underpinned by a raft of other clubs such as Richmond, London Scottish, Wimbledon, Rosslyn Park, Sutton and Epsom and London Welsh, as well as Inverdale’s beloved Esher.
“I have been associated with them for 32 years now, 19 as a player,” he proudly tells me.
“This season has been tough. We haven’t won away from home all season. Our home and away form hasn’t so much been like chalk and cheese as chalk and yoghurt.
“We recently lost at Blackheath in the last seconds. They grabbed a try in added time then scored the game-winning conversion with the last kick of the game.
“Blackheath could well be a team on the up if their new set-up works out. They have the space to support the new infrastructure when they develop their ground.
“But we’ve got a huge match coming up at Fylde on the Lancashire coast. We’ve got to win that.”
Inverdale has been a broadcaster for many years and is now as familiar a face on our television screens as he was a voice on Radio 2 where he first made his name.
He has presented coverage of many great events such as the Wimbledon tennis championships, football and rugby World Cups as well as Commonwealth and Olympic Games, all of which have armed him with an impressive arsenal of sporting memories.
When I asked him for his personal highlights, he didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Super Saturday at the 2012 London Olympics was hard to beat,” he enthused.
“To have seen Team GB win two gold medals in the rowing and then been at the stadium to witness them winning three more – five golds in one day — was incredible.
“The Nelson Mandela/Francois Pienaar moment at the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final at Ellis Park in Johannesburg was pretty special too.
“To be honest, any tournament or event where the home team wins is special. It’s where the place comes alive.
“In 1998, when France beat Brazil to win the football World Cup, we went into a bar in Paris where they were offering free food and drink all night. Needless to say it was a one of those occasions when night merged into day.”
John Inverdale’s Rugby Re:Union, Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ, Sunday, March 18, 7.30pm. Tickets £22.90-£83.90. More details at atgtickets.com/venues/Richmond-theatre.