All the latest from the world of rugby
October 26, 2008
Brian Moore's profound question
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/26/2008
Brian Moore has a message of warning for the IRB following the tragic assisted suicide of rugby player Daniel James. Read his words of warning in The Daily Telegraph.
"Though it falls into cliché, rugby union is genuinely the most interactive of team sports. It has a unique ability to provide a meaningful role for people of all physiques and strengths. It loses this at its peril. For this reason, among others, that I continue to deride the International Rugby Board and their elite referees for failing to implement Law 20, which mandates that the ball is put in straight at the scrum.
October 24, 2008
Farewell to Stradey Park
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/24/2008
Brendan Gallagher has fond memories of one of rugby's "cathedrals" in Llanelli. Read his farewell message to Stradey Park in The Daily Telegraph.
"A massive housing estate is planned there now but the human drama therein will never match that we witnessed and experienced at Parc Y Stradey over the last 129 years. Victory, defeat, hope, despair, honest graft, committee room rows, romance, life and even death. Almost a year to this day we gathered to commemorate Ray Gravell whose public funeral at the ground proved such an unexpectedly uplifting occasion. The capacity to surprise and inspire has always been a Stradey trait.
October 20, 2008
Moore impressed by Irish big-guns
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/20/2008
Brian Moore was impressed by both Munster and Leinster in the latest Heineken Cup clashes. Read his latest offering for the Daily Telegraph.
"A dominant performance by Leinster swept Wasps aside as comprehensively as you are likely to see a Wasps side beaten. In the pre-match build-up, the commentators billed it as the clash of two world rugby stars - Brian O'Driscoll and Danny Cipriani; hardly apposite. It says much that Cipriani's celebrity has affected even experienced rugby observers. It was a convenient opening hook, but can anyone seriously make a case for the bracketing of the two?
October 19, 2008
Tait feels the Seabass effect
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/19/2008
Sale Sharks and England star Mathew Tait falls under the spell of club mate Sebastien Chabal in his latest blog offering for the Guardian.
"There are so many players here of international calibre. For a back to play outside guys like Luke McAlister, Dwayne Peel and Charlie Hodgson is a dream. It makes me feel excited. And then a quick look across at the forwards makes me feel safe. Andrew Sheridan, Jason White and company are one thing, but then Sébastien Chabal walks in and you know you're in the right changing room.
October 18, 2008
No bright lights for Pacific Islanders
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/18/2008
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Paul Ackford previews the return of the Pacific Islanders to UK shores, and reveals that there will be plenty of colour behind the scenes.
"In two weeks Sitiveni Rabuka, the former Prime Minister of Fiji, will check in to a Heathrow hotel as manager of the 28-man Pacific Islands' squad who will play Tests against England, France and Italy. The choice of Heathrow is deliberate.
October 17, 2008
Stade shirt sparks online ruck
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/17/2008
Writing in the Independent, Hannah Wright surveys opinion on the latest addition to the Stade Francais Paris wardrobe.
"The shirt, with fetching denim-look sides and sleeves, made its debut this month against Montauban. Although the club's other shirts are decorated with flowers, and all have pink on them, the new version has created a verbal ruck in French rugby chat-rooms.
October 13, 2008
Talk is cheap
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/13/2008
Writing in the New Zealand Herald, Paul Lewis chats to Martin Snedden, CEO of Rugby New Zealand 2011.
"Snedden is fond of the Beijing Olympics comparison. Multi-billion dollar facilities, impeccable organisation and coordination, a showcase of talent and effort - but no atmosphere; no connection with visitors; and therefore no real sense of involvement; all preventing it from being labelled one of the great Olympics. Part of the plan to provide the festival and the stadium of four million is to have different regions host different teams. To do even that, however, takes gargantuan coordination. It's too big for one centralised body to pull off.
October 12, 2008
Long old road for Danny
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/12/2008
Former England international and now respected journalist Paul Ackford delivers some home truths for Danny Cipriani in a piece for the Sunday Telegraph.
"This week the frenzy that accompanied Cipriani was ludicrous. The fact that his Land Rover was clamped even made it into one tabloid newspaper. And that followed the revelation that his girlfriend, actress-cum-model Kelly Brook, had bought a new king-size mattress.
October 11, 2008
Mauler revs up Paralympian Wallabies
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/11/2008
Writing for Rugby Heaven, Greg Growden pays tribute to one of the stars of the Australian wheelchair rugby stars who claimed silver at the Beijing Paralympics.
"Ryley Batt is nowhere near as well known as Lote Tuqiri or Stirling Mortlock, but at another level of the rugby code he is the ultimate world beater.
October 10, 2008
Crossroads for England's Perfect 10
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/10/2008
Writing in the Sunday Times, David Walsh reflects on the injury-ravaged career of England and Newcastle star Jonny Wilkinson.
"It is hard to imagine anyone who has been more admired in the game, but not at all difficult to understand the reasons for the admiration. For here he is, sitting in a hotel room on Thursday afternoon, not long after hearing that he will be out of the game for at least five months, and he is being asked how he feels about a situation that has seen him limp out of the squad and allow Cipriani to stride back in.
October 6, 2008
Moore takes a shot at labouring Wasps
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/06/2008
Brian Moore lays it on the line for Premiership big-hitters London Wasps in an analysis piece for the Daily Telegraph.
"Like everyone else, I thought the difficulties suffered by Wasps at the start of this season were merely a repetition of their usual torpor at this stage. But after seeing them struggle and lose against Gloucester on Saturday, I'm not so sure. Wasps' game at Kingsholm bore no resemblance to the juggernaut that has, for several seasons, swept all before it.
October 5, 2008
Flexibility the key for Johnson
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/05/2008
Former England international Paul Ackford offers an insight into the machinations of the England management team in a piece for the Daily Telegraph.
"Each Wednesday of the season so far, Johnson, Rob Andrew, the RFU's director of elite rugby, and an assortment of medical and fitness advisers have participated in a conference call to monitor England's ill and injured. And in each week of the season to date Cipriani could have been moved up because one or more of Johnson's elite squad was on the treatment table. The only way Johnson cannot switch players between squads is if all his senior men report fit in the immediate build-up to England's first international against the Pacific Islands. Given that, on average, a fifth of the national squad are crocked at any one time, that is not going to happen.
October 2, 2008
Old-school bite missing from Anglo-Welsh Cup
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/02/2008
Stephen Jones laments the lack of spice in modern Anglo-Welsh clashes in his "Rolling Maul" blog for The Times.
"Whole generations of rugby followers were brought up on Anglo-Welsh clashes in club rugby. The first week of Bristol's season used to bring games against Cardiff and Swansea and Newport, all inside eight days, every year. At the end of the week, for those inclined, there was a decent Christian burial.