N De Luca
FRANCE: C Heymans (Toulouse); J Malzieu (Clermont-Auvergne), F Fritz (Toulouse), D Traille (Biarritz), V Clerc (Toulouse); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), J-B Elissalde(Toulouse); L Faure (Sale), W Servat (Toulouse), J Brugnaut (Dax), L Nallet (Castres, capt), L Jacquet (Clermont-Auvergne), F Ouedraogo (Montpellier), TDusautoir (Toulouse), E Vermeulen (Clermont-Auvergne).
Replacements: N Mas (Perpignan), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), A Mela (Albi), J Bonnaire (Clermont-Auvergne), M Parra (Bourgoin), D Skrela (Stade Francais), A Rougerie (Clermont-Auvergne).
SCOTLAND: R Lamont (Sale Sharks); N Walker (Ospreys), N De Luca (Edinburgh), A Henderson (Glasgow Warriors), S Webster (Edinburgh); D Parks (Glasgow Warriors), M Blair (Edinburgh); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), E Murray (Northampton Saints), N Hines (Perpignan), J Hamilton (Leicester Tigers), J White (Sale Sharks, captain), J Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), D Callam (Edinburgh).Meanwhile, no major shocks from Nick Mallet's Italy, as they continue to juggle their resources to come up with a long term successor to Diego Dominguez at fly half. Andrea Masi, a hugely talented footballer, gets his chance this time around which could signal a more rounded tactical approach, although the Italian pack still looks mightily fearsome and could just give Conservative Eddie more than a bit of a fright.
Replacements: F Thomson (Glasgow Warriors), G Kerr (Edinburgh), S MacLeod (Llanelli Scarlets), K Brown (Glasgow Warriors), C Cusiter (Perpignan), C Paterson (Gloucester), H Southwell (Edinburgh).
ITALY: D Bortolussi (Montpellier); K Robertson (Viadana), G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), M Bergamasco (Stade Francais), P Canavosio (Castres); A Masi (Biarritz), P Travagli (Overmach Parma); A Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro), L Ghiraldini (Calvisano), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), S Dellape (Biarritz), CA Del Fava (Ulster), J Sole (Viadana), M Bergamasco (Stade Francais), S Parisse (Stade Francais, capt).
Replacements: C Festuccia (Racing-Metro), S Perugini (Stade Toulousain), C Nieto (Gloucester), T Reato (Rovigo), A Zanni (Calvisano), A Marcato (Treviso), E Galon (Overmach Parma).
I had a little-toe-wave (this is like a brain wave but somewhat lower down the scale) the other day but it takes some research. And I don't know enough people. Maybe, even if you don't know enough, you can reach enough.I am trying to find out the appetite for women to play mixed contact rugby. I figured the male part of the mixed would be vets (and, as I gather you realise, the maturer player is more likely to play to the spirit of the game :-)). I am looking to form an occasionals, wondering side of five vets, five women and five novices. Since no one else does this (as far as I can ascertain) I would have to double those numbers so we could have a game).The few girls who play that I know would be up for it (given the obvious and serious boundary conditions like insurance), but I need a wider sample.
1.3 Mixed Rugby
The playing of rugby football between male and female teams or by teams containing male and female players is prohibited if one or more of the players are over the age of 12 years at midnight 31st August/1 st
September of the season concerned as per RFU Continuum.
Exception: Excluding all forms of noncontact or tag /touch rugby.
ENGLAND: I Balshaw (Gloucester); P Sackey (Wasps), M Tindall (Gloucester), T Flood (Newcastle), D Strettle (Harlequins); J Wilkinson (Newcastle), A Gomarsall (Harlequins); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), M Regan (Bristol), P Vickery (Wasps, capt), S Shaw (Wasps), S Borthwick (Bath), J Haskell (Wasps), L Moody (Leicester), L Narraway (Gloucester).Meanwhile, Warren Gatland has surprised many by going for a starting XV containing 13 Ospreys, which really shouldn't be a shock given that they are the only Welsh region playing decent rugby this season. Unfortunately, however, he has been unable to select the 3 Ospreys who have led the team's asault on Europe this season - New Zealanders Marty Holah, Justin Marshall and Filo Tiatia - for the rather inconvenient reason that they are all Kiwis.
Replacements: L Mears (Bath), M Stevens (Bath), B Kay (Leicester), T Rees (Wasps), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks), D Cipriani (Wasps), L Vainikolo (Gloucester).
WALES: L Byrne (Ospreys); S Williams (Ospreys), S Parker (Ospreys), G Henson (Ospreys), M Jones (Llanelli Scarlets); J Hook (Ospreys), M Phillips (Ospreys); D Jones (Ospreys), H Bennett (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), AW Jones (Ospreys), J Thomas (Ospreys), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt).Finally, Eddie O'Sullivan has caused major shockwaves only insofar as he has somehow managed to entirely redefine the word "conservative" by sticking more or less with the players humbled by France and Argentina at the World Cup. Those hoping for a new dawn and starts for the likes of Jamie Heaslip or Leo Cullen or Rob Kearney will be sadly disappointed.
Replacements: M Rees (Llanelli Scarlets), G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), I Evans (Ospreys), A Popham (Llanelli Scarlets), G Cooper (Gloucester), S Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues).
IRELAND: G Dempsey (Leinster); A Trimble (Ulster), O'Driscoll (Leinster, captain), G D'Arcy (Leinster), G Murphy (Leicester); R O'Gara (Munster), E Reddan (Wasps); M Horan (Munster), R Best (Ulster), J Hayes (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), M O'Kelly (Leinster), S Easterby (Llanelli), D Wallace (Munster), D Leamy (Munster).
Replacements: B Jackman (Leinster), T Buckley (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster), P Stringer (Munster), P Wallace (Ulster), R Kearney (Leinster).
... My crazy father (68 years old) is feeling a little too domestic and wants to start playing [rugby]. I think he's nuts but I won't discourage him. He comes watches my games in San Antonio and is interested in learning so he can travel and play. I was telling him about all these ppportunities to travel and play in some pretty interesting locations and he likes the fact that he wont be getting his head taken off in competitive play...
I would have thought that a reasonable weekly round up show could be cobbled together from that lot. Now all we need is for someone to bang the heads of the BBC and the ERC together to negotiate rights to show delayed highlights of European games and we'd really be in business - but perhaps that's a campaign for another day...?
And finally, not so much of a prediction as an aspiration - that I score my first competitive try since the 1992-93 season. Either that or my first ever dropped goal. Not much to ask is it?