In the year 2144, England is a very different place. Wales is pretty much the same as it has always been, but England is very different. The two countries are divided by a wall. To the east, England, in line with the rest of the civilised world, has entered the Perpetual Era, where sport is the very engine of society, determining an individual’s class and a community’s prosperity. To the west, meanwhile, Wales exists in its own bubble, still living in what the rest of the world knows as the Lapsed Era, where people live, love, laugh and die – and play sport for recreation, because it’s fun and they enjoy it.

Michael Aylwin

Michael Aylwin

But how do we get there? Here are 10 landmarks on the way to the 22nd century:

The rise of Eddie Jones The coach of England’s rugby team guides them to four consecutive Six Nations titles and the 2019 World Cup in Japan, before setting out his vision for Brexit. After masterminding the British and Irish Lions’ unbeaten tour of South Africa in 2021, he accepts a four-year contract to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The entrenchment of Donald Trump In 2020 Trump buys himself a second term as US President. In 2023, he builds his wall between Mexico and America. In 2024, he buys himself a third term

The Welsh Question In the wake of rioting in Cardiff and Newport over post-Brexit austerity in 2025, Jones accuses the Welsh of not working hard enough and threatens to build a wall. Two years later, the First Minister of Wales, Gareth Bale, challenges England to a series of sporting contests by which he hopes to prove who works the hardest. Wales win themselves political relief by edging the series

The political weaponisation of sport In 2029, Eddie Jones, at the end of his second four-year contract as PM, goads Trump into a game of rugby between the US and UK to settle the endless impasse in trade talks. The US recruit the best in the NFL and romp to victory, and the UK is cut further adrift from the rest of the world. Four years later, Trump, who has bought himself a fifth term, loses Alaska to the Russians on the 18th green at Augusta. Builds himself another wall

The institution of the stadium-generator In 2045, the first stadium-generator is built in Dusseldorf to harness human power

The Decade of Fire In 2053, the global population passes 10 billion, 39.3% of whom are clinically obese. A year later, the western seaboard of America is destroyed by the San Andreas Split, which triggers a super volcano in Yosemite and the beginning of the Decade of Fire. The forests of the world are ravaged; earthquakes and volcanoes tear up the Earth. The oxygen-content of the atmosphere falls below 18%

The Sofa Bug In 2055, the first case is registered of VO2 coronavirus, otherwise known as the Sofa Bug, which rips through the world’s population, attacking the respiratory system, fatal to anyone with a VO2 max lower than 60. In 2061, the population of the world falls below 2 billion. Only the very fittest have survived

The onset of the Perpetual Era In 2063, the Treaty of Budapest is struck, as what is left of the world’s nations come together to establish the Sanctity of Physical Fitness and the Primacy of the Next Match. The Perpetual Era is born. A year later, Wales joins Iceland, the Falkland Islands and Australia in protesting against a world in which resources and prosperity are apportioned according to results on the pitch. Wales sues for independence from Great Britain and negotiates home advantage for the rugby match to decide the matter

The Millennium Match The final match in any sport between England and Wales takes place at the Millennium Stadium on 1st January 2066. Wales triumph 33-7 and earn the right to return to the old ways. Later that same year, the Great British Partition is struck, and a wall goes up between England and Wales. In 2068, England recognises the Western Assemblage of Lapsed Era Savages as the official name for Wales

Ivon In Mumbles, Swansea, 2119, a messianic hero is born, who will become the first person to cross the great divide from Wales into England, where he will preach the virtues of genius over industry, magic over order, charisma over productivity. Where England will try to stop him…