I'm delighted to report that my humble little rugby blog has now received a tad over 4000 visits since I began pouring forth my views on the game back in May.
That 2000 of those visits have occurred during the last month and 1000 during the last 12 days might, just might, have something to do with a little tournament currently heading towards its conclusion across the Channel, but I have very few doubts that the blog's overwhelming popularity (?!) is mainly down to my innovative, insightful and modest writing ;). Whatever the reason, I'm happy to buy you all a virtual pint in celebration.
In my excitement earlier this week I entirely forgot to award last weekend's Dunderhead of the Week. Very remiss of me I realise but, in true award ceremony style, I can announce that the the nominees are:
- The 12 year old who reffed our Vets' match at the weekend. I say 12 because, like policemen and teachers these days, he looked very, very young (although I'll concede he may have been as old as 19 or so). Actually he didn't do too badly considering pretty much every player was old enough to be his father - he was a bit clueless at the breakdown (probably to my advantage), was way too conscientious when it came to time-keeping and did butcher one decision that cost us a try, calling a forward pass that no one else, not even a single member of our opposition, had spotted. However, despite feeling very uncomfortable in calling a child "sir" all afternoon I admit that really we should be encouraging youngsters to take up the whistle and for that reason cannot give the award to him;
- Will Greenwoood for his somewhat jingoistic commentary during the weekend's Rugby World Cup semi-finals. Various message boards are very critical of Shaggy's efforts and I must admit that he was guilty of unnecessarily banging on about England's win during the South Africa v Argentina match. However, what I would say in his defence is that, not only does he usually provide entertaining and informative insights into international rugby, he's still very much one of the boys and many of his comments need to be taken as "banter" rather than be taken too seriously. Not to traditionalists' taste perhaps, but I did think his "Francois Mitterend, Michel Platini...your boys took one hell of a beating" parody was hilarious. So, no award for Mr. Greenwood;
- That leaves Professeur "Mad Bernie" Laporte as this week's winner, for crimes against French rugby. Not only has Laporte slowly sucked all the traditional "joie de vivre" from the way in which the French now play the game, he sent potential game-breaker Freddie Michalak into the action in the second half against England, apparently with instructions to play in the same joyless way that is now the French hallmark. If the gameplan is to kick, then stick with a kicking fly half, don't send on a mercurial runner and tell him play against his natural instincts. Never has there been a clearer case of a square peg for a round hole. From an English perspective I'm delighted that he did so, but if I was French I would be busy dusting off my revolutionary fancy-dress and sharpening the guillotine. Congratulations Bernie, you are undoubtedly Dunderhead of the Week.