Sunday, 29 June 2014

Once bitten...

The four month ban received by Luis Suarez for biting the shoulder of Italian Giorgio Chiellini at the FIFA World Cup is, although unprecedented, still fairly lenient when compared to rugby's most notorious biting incidents.

Bath prop Kevin Yates was handed a six months ban in 1998 after being found guilty of biting the ear of Simon Fenn of London Scottish, a sentence considered far too light by many. Meanwhile South African prop Johan Le Roux copped an 18 month ban after biting New Zealand hooker Sean Fitzpatrick's ear during a scrum during a test match in 1994, after which he declared "For an 18-month suspension, I feel I probably should have torn it off". 

Rather than complain of injustice Suarez should consider himself quite fortunate...

Owen Williams

This blog's thoughts are with Cardiff Blues' centre Owen Williams who is in hospital in Singapore having suffered a "significant injury" to his cervical vertebrae and spinal cord at the World Club 10s last week

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The future's bright...

…the future's English?

England's senior team  may have lost yesterday but the boys in the Under 20s team continue to go from strength to strength, storming into the Junior World Cup Final with a 42-15 win over Ireland. They now face South Africa in the Final on 20th June at Eden Park, Auckland.

There now appears to be a healthy production line through the junior ranks into the England senior XV - with the likes of Owen Farrell, the Vuniploa brothers, Joe Marler, George Ford and Jack Nowell all having graduated via the Under 20s.

The future's bright...

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Still no cigar

Another close run thing for England. Lots of its, buts and maybes but perhaps, just perhaps if the cavalry (in the form of Messrs Lawes, Hartley and Vunipola) had arrived a little earlier things may have turned out differently?

Or perhaps England have just approached this tour in the wrong way. Perhaps they should have taken heed of new research by scientists at the School of Sport and Exercise at Massey University in New Zealand which shows that an 11-pint binge the night before a game does not affect performance.

19 eager volunteer club rugby players were tested for jumping, sprinting, hydration and strength before a heavy drinking session and after a match played the following day.

Apart from jumping (and that's what line out lifters are for, right?) every aspect of performance was unaffected.

I don't know about you, but 11 pints these days would probably kill me.

At least, however, we now know the All Blacks secret.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


With SoccerAid having raised over £4m the other night, support appears to be building for a rugby equivalent.

For the uninitiated, SoccerAid involves retired footballers combining with celebrities to play a game of football in front of a capacity crowd at Old Trafford to raise a shedload of funds for UNICEF. Sunday evening saw the Rest of the World triumph 4-2 over an England team with a hat rick from Clarence Seedorf and a goal from Westlife's Nicky Byrne. Yep, surreal or what?

And now momentum is gathering on certain social media sites for #RugbyAid.

I'm sure that getting a few retired internationals out for a run around won't be an issue. But what of the celebrities? I'm sure we could all think of one or two we'd like to see at the bottom of a ruck...

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Getting excuses in early...

Magnificent effort from the English boys today. Very close but alas no cigar.

Here's the thing. The scheduling of this match was, frankly, a disgrace.

It's difficult enough travelling to New Zealand with a full strength squad but to be expected to play a test without so many first choice players was utterly ludicrous.

The fact that England made such a good fist of it is a credit to the players and the coaching staff - no thanks at all to the numpties at the RFU who agreed to the tour schedule and the hawks at the NZRU who insisted on it.

The All Blacks remain favourites for a 3-0 series win, but it should now get very interesting.