Friday, 16 November 2007

Peace in our time

So peace has finally broken out in England with the club vs country war finally being resolved, we're told, by a new eight-year agreement between the RFU and the Guinness Premiership clubs.

A “golden era for English rugby” was the expression used yesterday by Premier Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty and, who knows, it may turn out to be just that but a couple of things should be noted:

  1. The agreement doesn't come into force until 1st July 2008. So, unless there's an outbreak of voluntary goodwill in January, England's 2008 Six Nations campaign will probably still resemble the shambles of the last few years with Brian Ashton (or whoever is holding the reins) allowed only a couple of days training before each international; and

  2. When this deal finally does kick in there'll be no more excuses. If we're crap it'll be because we're crap - full stop.

Meanwhile, across the Severn, Warren Gatland has been unveiled as the Wales head coach with indecent haste. Don't get me wrong - he's a very good coach and I suppose it can be argued that the WRU have acted decisively in getting their man but, to me, it smacks of desperation and doesn't seem particularly well thought through. As for Gatland's decision to leave Waikato, I'm sure some of it is down to a desire to work at international level again but the WRU waiving its chequebook around may have helped. I also wonder if he has any idea what he's letting himself in for, given how Wales have treated their last two head coaches.

It may be Heineken Cup action again this weekend but the real action takes place at Chesham where we'll be taking on Ruislip Vets tomorrow afternoon. I took a look at the Ruislip RFC website this morning. Big mistake! No news relating to their Vets team this season, but last season they won all 6 of their fixtures and with scores like 72-0, 50-5 and 52-19 it looks like we'll have our work cut out. Their 3rd XV beat our 2nds 77-0 last weekend too, which doesn't bode that well. I may just have a bit of tackling to do tomorrow...

Finally, thanks to the thousands of you who attempted the Guess Who? competition posted on Wednesday. Well, I say thousands - what I really mean is thank you for the single entry! I can therefore announce that the winner is Chay who correctly guessed that the handsome young chap in the picture was none other than South Manchester's finest, Sebastian Chabal.

Chay wins a month's supply of virtual lager - enjoy and remember to drink responsibly! :)

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