Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Dark Days at Old Deer Park

London Welsh has confirmed today that it is to seek voluntary liquidation, finally bringing an end to its occupancy at the bar of the Last Chance Saloon.

Unable to pay the £250,000 it owes to HMRC, the club is set to go out of business next week.

Liquidation need not necessarily spell the end for the iconic London Welsh name, although a newly-formed club would have to start life at the bottom of the English rugby pyramid, following the previous examples of London Scottish and Richmond.

Whichever way you look at it, however, it’s a sad way for such a well renowned club to go. It does, however, reinforce my view that English rugby simply cannot support 2 leagues of 12 professional teams. Less, as they say, is more.

London Welsh aren’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last, club to suffer such a fate.

Monday, 5 December 2016

This player is sparko

This is a picture of George North after crashing to earth following a mid-air tackle from Leicester’s Adam Thompstone on Saturday.

Here’s another one.

According to George he was not knocked out.

He was merely resting. 

Or pining for the fjords.

Send in the clown

According to The Australian newspaper last week, Eddie Jones is (or at least was) the “real clown of rugby”.

That was before England’s 37-21 win over Australia on Saturday, following which one might have expected a certain amount of humble pie and perhaps an admission that England under Eddie Jones are becoming a very good rugby team indeed. Not a bit of it – whilst there is plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the status of Australian rugby, there’s very little acknowledgement of England’s qualities.

Not so surprising, perhaps, but anyone who knows anything about the game has to admit, whether they like it or not, that this England team looks as if it is on the way to becoming a formidable outfit. 

Yes, New Zealand are still out there by some distance at the head of the field and yes, for England there are still a few notable weaknesses to be ironed out, but I get the feeling that the players are completely aware of where they need to improve and their ability to adapt and think on their feet, as demonstrated in the last few games, will stand them in good stead...

Friday, 2 December 2016

Our shout!

You have to love those Vunipola boys.

Not only have Mako and Billy been in a rich vein of form for club and country (until Billy's knee injury last week against Argentina), it has been revealed this week that, following Tonga's 19-17 victory over Italy in Padua last weekend, the two brothers (whose father Fe'ao is a former Tongan captain) paid for the Tongan team's post-match celebratory drinks.

Fantastic gesture lads!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


News today that the Six Nations is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century (straight from the 19th) with the announcement that a new bonus points system will be trialled next year.

So it’s the standard  4 points for a win, 2 points for draw, 0 points for defeat, plus a bonus point for scoring 4 tries and a losing bonus point for defeat by seven points or less, but there is a twist…

Any team achieving the Grand Slam will be awarded an extra 3 bonus points, the idea being to prevent a team that wins all 5 matches being beaten to the Six Nations title by a team with four bonus point wins and a bonus point defeat. 

I can’t be arsed to do the maths, but in theory that looks as if it might work…

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Here’s a head scratcher...

How does Joe Launchbury get a 2 match ban for accidentally catching the head of an opponent - causing minimal (if any) damage - while Malakai Fekitoa only gets a one match ban for nearly decapitating an opponent and Sam Cane gets away scot free for laying out Robbie Henshaw with a dangerously high tackle?

I do get why Launchbury was punished. If you aim a kick at the ball in a ruck near an opponent’s head and you get it wrong, your actions are dangerous.

Likewise a swinging arm or a head high tackle is dangerous, no matter the intent.

Either punish all such actions (with consistent punishments), or deem them accidental and unworthy of sanction…