Back in Blighty from the land of Vasco da Gama, Cristiano Ronaldo and Vinho Verde and in the two weeks I've been away I appear to have missed very little in the world of rugby. As predicted, the Olympics has dominated the sports pages of late and I must say, with satellite TV in our apartment in Portugal, I was as caught up as anyone with the British medal tally this past fortnight - although, as Michael Johnson kept reminding us, we seemed especially adept at sports which involved sitting down.
As far as rugby is concerned, a few things caught my attention on my return:
- South African coach Peter De Villiers is predictably enough the subject of intense vilification following the Springboks' home defeat to Australia at the weekend. Admittedly the defeat was his side's fourth in five Tri Nations matches and ensured that they are out of contention for the title but let's face it, it's less than a year since the last World Cup, he's in his first season and inevitably there's going to be a bit of a hangover - give the guy a break, for heaven's sake. What the weekend's result does prove of course is either (a) Robbie Deans is a genius or (b) there's something in the theory that the Aussies quite like the ELVs.
- Rugby League appear to be claiming something of a coup with the capture of Fijian "Rugby Union Superstar" Waisale Serevi. Call me ungracious, but the fact that a former sevens specialist (albeit a genius at the shortened form of the game) appears to be coming out of retirement to accept a big fat cheque to play in a one-off rugby league tournament is hardly worth all the fuss, is it?
- My critique below on the dubious qualities of the Mitre Reload training ball appears to have ruffled the feathers of someone called Anonymous (whose opinion I always trust and value of course) who posted 4 times in praise of the freakish-looking
gimmicktraining aid. The only thing he forgot to say was "I've tried the Reload and liked the product so much I bought the company!"