Sunday, 30 December 2018

The Total Flanker Awards 2018

My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, a warm welcome to you all as we once again recognise and celebrate the successes, failures, accomplishments, misfortunes, achievements and fiascos of the 2018 rugby calendar year.

Yes, welcome, willkommen and bienvenue to the 12th Annual Total Flanker Awards ceremony...

Straight into the awards, our first gong tonight is the TOTAL FLANKER WHERE HAS ALL THE CASH GONE? AWARD. This goes to joint recipients this year - Mr Steve Brown and the RFU - who appear to have frittered away gazillions of pounds earned from the 2015 World Cup, resulting in cuts to funding for the grassroots game and a shedload of redundancies at HQ. Well done.

Next up we have the TOTAL FLANKER JUST CALL ME SICKNOTE AWARD.  In previous years this would have undoubtedly been a shoe-in for a certain Manu Tuilagi, but this year only one man can be considered. Step forward Billy Vunipola - shoulder and knee injuries, a broken left arm (twice) and a broken right arm have meant that Billy has been in almost permanent state of rehab over the last 12-18 months. The lad is certainly due some better luck and maybe this award may be the start of it?

Moving on, the next award is the TOTAL FLANKER WHISPER IT QUIETLY, BUT WE MIGHT JUST BE WORLD CUP FAVOURITES AWARD. I  refer, of course, to the Ireland rugby team who have had a magnificent 12 months, losing only once (to Australia, of all teams). I have no doubt whatsoever that if the World Cup were being played now Ireland would win it. Whether that will still be the case next October we shall have to wait and see...

And so to the TOTAL FLANKER THAT'S THE WAY TO SHOWCASE OUR SPORT AWARD, which is awarded jointly to Saracens Women and Harlequins Ladies for playing out a magnificent final of the inaugural Premier 15s back in April, with the Sarries Women triumphing 24-20. It was a fabulous game of rugby and it's high time the mainstream media got behind women's rugby to give it the publicity and financial backing it deserves.

Nearly there, our penultimate award this evening is the TOTAL FLANKER COULD WE HAVE MADE ANY MORE OF AN UTTER HORLICKS OF IT AWARD. This award goes to World Rugby for the unlikely circumstances that saw Russia qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan, which involved a Romanian referee overseeing a dodgy Belgian victory over Spain - thus ensuring Romanian qualification - and then the subsequent disqualification of Romania, Spain and Belgium, all for fielding ineligible players during qualifying. You simply couldn't make it up.

And finally we have a very special award - the TOTAL FLANKER COMPLETE AND UTTER HERO AWARD. This goes to man who, despite being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2017, continues to display the bravery he was known for on the pitch, and the humour and good grace he was known for off it, as he raises awareness of the condition and funds for research into a cure. I refer of course to Doddie Weir and his My Name'5 Doddie Foundation. Well done and good luck to you sir.

And so, that's it for another year. Thank you again for your forbearance and indulgence as I continue to trot out the usual drivel. I wish you all a Happy New Year - see you on the other side...

No comments: