Archive for the ‘Rugby Union’ Category

OK. I admit it, i was wrong.
I thought the Olympics would be a big, fat, embarrassing series of expensive failures.

From the ‘countdown’ to the opening ceremony and the strains of Baba O’Reilly i was hooked.
The ceremonies themselves were a magnificent celebration of Britishness. Who cares if non Brits thought they were rubbish…. they were awesome for us Brits! The industrial revolution, James Bond, The Queen and Mr bloody Bean! Eric Idle, Darcy Bussell, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury!!

The games themselves were fantastic, records fell, boundaries were broken, legends were born. Even a Frenchman called it the greatest games ever!

I freely admit that i’m fiercely English and i only ever call myself British during the Lions tour, but the patriotism and jingoism (that ones for you Dad!) were infectious and i have been swept along in the red, white and blue tide.
I never thought i would cheer on a 10’000 meter runner, or a pistol shooter, or a sailor, or a Horse Rider, but almost all day every day i’ve had Radio 5 on, or one of the many BBC Olympic channels and i’ve been supporting some of the most random sports at the games, and i have loved every minute.

On TalkSPORT today they (Durham and Gough) were claiming the Olympics a waste of money, as its cost roughly 4.5 million pounds per medal won by Britain. erm…. Well for a start off, why are only British medals included in the running costs? There have been some great moments for ALL the medal winners as well as British and Foreign non-medalists… why is the cost being considered only for the perceived British winners? Tell Lawrence Clark that money was wasted. That guy was SO happy to be in a final and finish 4th. For him London 2012 was life changing. Tell Oscar Pistorious that only winners matter. He made history just by being there. For HIM London 2012 was life changing. Australia underperformed, but do you think they would have rather not have had the chance to compete? course not!!!
The Olympic values are Excellence, Respect and Friendship, Nowhere is WINNING mentioned. We as a nation seem to have embraced the ‘its not the winning, its the taking part’ to our hearts, whereas our media seem to still judge us solely on getting medals. These guys have trained for 4 years for these games, give them credit for 4 years of their blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices and not for getting medals! We all like to see winners, but all the team went there to perform, and largely they did, with a few notable exceptions, but with some of the higher profile failures (e.g Phillips Idowu) the reaction from SOME media outlet was unfair and unkind to a guy who has served us brilliantly over the last 8 or so years!

As for the ‘groundbreaking games’….and the legends it created…well….
Womens boxing for the first time ever. Katy Taylor of Ireland and Nicola Adams of Team GB (amongst others) became instant national heroines when they won their respective golds, so i guess the new sport was a success!
How about Saudi Arabia sending their first female athletes? Thats a MASSIVE step!!
How about Michael Phelps becoming the greatest Olympian ever? Usain Bolt and the triple double? Chris Hoy becoming the most decorated GB athlete ever? Mo Farah winning the first ever GB long distance gold….and then getting the 2nd a week later? How about all 13 British crews getting to the finals of the rowing? and first female gold rowing medals for GB! Ben Ainslie and his 4th straight gold? Oscar Pretorious running in an Olympic final despite being a double leg amputee!? David Rudisha proving to be the best 800 meter runner of all time by smashing Seb Coe’s record…..and an extended member of the GlawsFamily becoming the first ever royal medalist!!!

A thousand memories from 16 days.

Roll on the paralympics…

The Olympics has proven to me that we have a nation (or nations) that DESERVES to be celebrated, we DESERVE the right to be patriotic. Hopefully there will be no more council led bullshit that you can’t fly the national flags for fear of offending people. We welcomed the world and we treated them to the greatest show on earth!

To all the athletes, coaches and officials, to the soldiers, the security and the police, to the fans, the volunteers and to the BBC…. I thank you. It was awesome!

Best of all…. we proved Mitt Romney wrong…. Vote Obama! 🙂

OH.
Rio…. you have a tough act to follow, but hey….at least you have RUGBY!

RC_K

Advertisements

Bare with me, this is an off the cuff blog, so it may ramble, but what it WILL do is RANT!

With the Olympics coming up, i felt the need to rant on a subject that riles me for roughly 8-12 weekends a year…. fairweather, know it all fans who only watch rugby when its on the BBC (6 nations) or ITV (Rugby World Cup).
How do these tie in? The Olympics and fairweather fans that is….

well…..

Anytime a sport is overkilled on TV, it instantly draws the crowds of know it all fans, who are experts during the TV run, and usually a month afterwards.

For example….
Go to any tennis court at the moment….. full of teens to mid 20’s, mainly males, new raquets, new balls, and absolutely no skill in the world. Whats just been on TV? Wimbledon. Now i know a few people who play tennis every summer and take it seriously, this isn’t aimed at them. Its not even a dig at people trying out a new sport, its just the example i use to how stop/start exposure to sports damages participation levels.

Yes, Aviva Premiership and Heineken rugby is on Sky and ESPN. I have neither. I watch the ITV4 highlights. Usually its easier to find Bin Ladens bunker than to find the highlights show in the listings, and its on a minor channel that many people don’t have! Plus when you cut out Craig Doyles waffling and the ad breaks, its about 35 minutes worth of highlights.
Match of the day is the football equivalent. Its on between 10-1030 every Saturday, MOTD2 is on at 10 every Sunday, plus morning repeats of MOTD on a Sunday morning, football focus at lunchtime on a Saturday, final score at 430 every Saturday, it even has a kids spin off and there is total football saturation on Radio 5, TalkSPORT and local radio all weekend every weekend. Actually, with TalkSPORT, the name is misleading as it 99% talks about football all bloody week. Brian Moore guest hosted last week and i barely heard rugby get a mention, and since when were former international cricketers Darren Gough and Ronnie Irani doyens of football punditry???

Imagine the fanbase that could be built in any sport with that kind of market dominance, especially with the impressionable and lucrative early teens to late 20’s market.
Rugby has the fanbase, bigger Premiership sides aren’t far off of lower end Premiership football attendance figures. Most big games are sold out these days and even lower league teams are getting decent crowds these days. come on ITV, give Rugby a decent shot. Put the highlights on ITV2 at a peak time, instead of the only way is f*****g Essex, then repeat it on ITV at a reasonable hour (instead of the usual 1am slot!)

That rant is actually off topic of the rant i was planning.

My rant was going to be about the people who watch half a dozen or so rugby matches a year ( normally the 6nations and an Autumn international or 2) and then make out they are some kind of expert by repeating word for word what Jeremy Guscott or Brian Moore says about a player and tries to pass it off as a fact.
EVERYONE knows someone like this. I unfortunately know loads.

There are many local clubs that would love to have these peoples money in the coffers at every home game, I mean granted, I’m from Coventry and I’m a Gloucester fan, so it may sound hypocritical, (family circumstances dictated that one….) but people should support the local sides. Coventry nearly went bust. I was gutted by this, i’ve been to the old Coundon Rd and the new Butts Park to watch them on many occasions over the years, and i used to play for them as a youth.
Not even just the big local sides, Barker Butts, Coventrians, Broadstreet, Nuneaton…. there are many clubs that would love the support, so instead of buying the England shirt (usually when sports direct have it cheap)and telling the world that ‘Chris Ashton is the best support runner in rugby’ (or whatever Guscott said to Inverdale on the last broadcast!) get off your arses and support rugby, from grassroots up!

I was asked this week, by former Guest blogger Clare Rigney to see if i could do a blog/awareness drive on the paralympic sport of Wheelchair rugby. 

Its not an area i am an expert on, so i asked for help, and was instantly rewarded by being sent an article written by D’arcy Doran all about the sport.

Keep an eye on the #RugbyUnited hashtag, as we are working on getting a GB wheelchair rugby player to do a QA!

As this was an article written for a publication, i will give a taster, but i HIGHLY recommend that you check out the link to read the whole thing.

D’arcy can be found on twitter (@darcydoran) and has his own website (http://darcydoran.com/) so check him out there too!

 

A bang echoes through London’s cavernous Olympic basketball arena as one wheelchair rams into another. Britain’s Aaron Phipps has been hit by a Canadian defender, and for a split-second his left wheel hangs precariously in the air. Phipps spins into a 180. Escaping with the ball, he carves around another Canadian opponent who’s been expertly blocked by teammate Ross Morrison. Arms pounding like blades on a steam locomotive, he carries the ball across the court and over the goal line to score.

The guards on Phipps’ wheels are battered like comets; a history of hits, both taken and received. This is the world of wheelchair rugby – the Paralympics’ only full-contact sport and its fastest selling ticket. It’s also one of few sports where a welder stands by, ready to reassemble the Mad Max-style wheelchairs that provide a second skin for the athletes battling it out on the court. Originally called murderball, the sport was invented by Canadian quadriplegics who were frustrated because they couldn’t play wheelchair basketball. It became a Paralympic sport in 2000. Played on a basketball court with four on a side, it’s a fast, high-scoring game that borrows from rugby, handball and ice hockey. All players are classified as quadriplegics. Some were born disabled, but most came to the game after an accident or illness knocked their lives sideways.

Britain – aka Team GB – has twice come heartbreakingly close to a medal after losing bronze medal matches in Beijing and Athens. At the London Games, the home team is determined to break that streak. This test event, in April, is a chance for Britain, Canada, Sweden and Australia to scuff up the Olympic basketball court, and for Team GB, ranked six in the world, to test their podium potential ahead of September’s Games. In Beijing, it was Canada that beat them in the bronze medal match. But today, Canada is struggling to handle one of the biggest additions to Team GB’s arsenal: No. 13, Aaron Phipps.

Dangerman. Man on fire. One-man wrecking machine. These are just a few of the names the announcer uses to describe Phipps in the hard-fought game against Canada. The deejay running the arena’s sound system, having picked up on the nickname bandied about by Phipps’ team mates, decides to play ‘Monster’ by Welsh band The Automatic each time he scores. The song plays forty-five times during the 63-62 win over Canada.

Upon entering the murderball world, players effectively get a number stamped on their forehead based on how much of their body works. The system is based on a five-point scale. Someone with no injury would be a five and someone completely paralysed would be a zero. Phipps is a 3.5, the highest classification allowed to play wheelchair rugby. The number means his spine has not been broken, but his four limbs are damaged. For others, the higher the break is up their spine, the less they can use their body and the lower their classification.

These numbers are crucial in the game because the combined points of the four players on the court cannot exceed eight. For every player like Phipps, a team needs someone like Team GB’s Jonny Coggan – a 0.5 nicknamed ‘The Silent Assassin’ for his knack of sneaking up on and stopping higher-classified players. Or Mike Kerr – a 1.5 who brings the streets of Glasgow to his game with an aggressive style that gets him knocked on his back often but also produces spectacular goals

The game often draws people in just as they are coming out of rehabilitation. After being surrounded by tenderness and caution, the sports’ aggression and fearlessness is, for many, a welcome antidote. Team GB’s Kylie Grimes, whose career as a horse show jumper ended after a swimming pool diving accident, first saw the game while she was still in the spinal unit. She remembers the feeling of slipping into a rugby chair for the first time. “I felt like I could do things again,” says the twenty-four-year-old. “You feel the hits all the way up your legs and into your head.” A 0.5, she is one of a handful of women competing at the international level. The men give her no breaks because she’s a woman, she says, adding “and I wouldn’t want them to.”

The full article can be found at http://www.huckmagazine.com/features/murderball/, as i say, i have only used a few snippets from the article.

 

Thank you for giving us the piece D’arcy, it was a great read! and welcome to #rugbyunited! 😉

 

RC-K

It FINALLY happened. 

The long awaited day of charity rugby came around, on the 7th July 2012, and myself along with the Midlands chapter of #RugbyUnited were up and out early for a breakfast of champions (McDonalds breakfast wrap, brown sauce, extra hash brown….) before heading through the drizzle and ominous looking black clouds to Chosen Hill FP RFC and into the first charity event featuring #RugbyUnited.

I’ve covered the reasons behind the game in a previous blog, so won’t go back into it again, but the recipients of the fundraising were the Multiple Sclerosis society.

The turnout wasn’t as big as we hoped, but we had enough people to play 4 games of mixed touch rugby, the first 2 were 6 a side with 4 subs, and both won by Patriots, then we went to 10 a side for the other 2 games.

The bigger games seemed to suit team #RugbyUnited though, and we took wins in the last 2 games to make the final score 2-2!

The last game also saw potentially the GREATEST touch rugby try of all time. Patrick Keen, Stephen Parsons, Oli Parrett, you know which i mean!!! TOUCHDOWN! (nb, i took a call from Steve Walsh, he assured me the pass was backwards…..)

The weather, somewhat miraculously, stayed dry all day (except for a couple of spots in game 1!) and i even picked up a tanline, which is rare for me at the best of times!!!

 

ImageImageImageImage

 

 

ImageImageImageImage

I think i can speak on behalf of all the players when i say that it was hugely enjoyable and can’t wait til the newly renamed Pink Patriots will no doubt receive another challenge from RugbyUnited next year!

Rumour has it that we MAY have a second game lined up in the North West in a few weeks time, so keep eyes peeled for that. 

Got to do a few thank you’s now. 

First of all, we so far have raised £370 and we still have items to sell, so a huge thank you to EVERYONE that attended and put their hands in their pockets! Special mention to Gemma Fox (@Gemma_Fox) who travelled a helluva long way to come watch!!! 

Secondly, thank you to the food providers, Andy Jarrett from That Foodie place (@thatfoodieplace) and the people from Cupalicious (@cupaliciousglos) who provided some frankly delicious looking cakes!!!

Thirdly, Worcester, Gloucester, The RFU, RABO, Kukri, Westons Cider, Knights Accountants, Nottingham, Cotton Traders, PROPS,Bristol Rugby, Saracens, Plymouth Albion, Gilbert Rugby, Cornish Pirates,and the RFU for providing us with the raffle and auction prizes and special mentions to Lesley Toft at Cotton Traders for turning a no into a yes,  Raging Bull for providing the Patriots shirts and PROPS for lending us the kit for RugbyUnited!

To Andy Jarrett from MS Society, Freddy Whittaker from the Citizen and Sam Durham  from scrum five rugby for the various press we’ve been able to garner!

To Stephen Parsons for not only turning up to Ref/play, but for bringing along an Olympic torch that most of us were photographed with!

lastly, and this is where i’m BOUND to forget someone… to the people who gave up time to help out… to the various members of both teams!….here we go….

Rich Church Keen (thats me!), Anne Church Keen, Patrick Keen, Jo Spence, Ed Spence, Pip Howard(RugbyUniteds first ever try scorer), Sam Beale, Stephen Parsons, Nick Lewis, Rhys Lewis ,JP Corry, Jacko Corry, Dave Heywood,Oli Parrett(the winner of distance travelled contest and touchdown scorer!), Marc Moor, Sinead Byrne, Jess Yeates, James Hoddy, Emily Barrett, Adam Trigg, Trevor Large,Chris Hubbard, Joey Maley, Matt Moore, Fran Oliver, Adam Trigg, Rhys Lewis, George Porter, Adam Barnes,Daniel Irvine, Marc Riddel. James Howell, Hannah Barnes, Andy Jarrett

As i say, i’ve doubtlessly missed people, if i have, contact me, and i’ll edit. you all deserve your shout out!

Actually, the final shout out, and a MASSIVE thanks will be to our hosts at Chosen Hill former pupils RFC. The rain could’ve caused the club to cancel in aid of protecting their pitch, but they allowed us to play on and without that, we wouldn’t have raised a penny!!

I must admit that i felt very proud of everything and everyone on the day. There was no animosity, no tantrums, just banter, comradeship and great fun. Truly what rugby is about and especially in my eyes, what RugbyUnited is about. 

Next year. We will have more experience, more contacts, a bigger reputation and hopefully better weather to pull in more of a crowd!

I will leave the blog here, with a link to one of my fellow RugbyUnited bigwig Nick Lewis’s tries!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43RUW0D-bUg&feature=share

Thanks again! Until next time (a slightly aching) RC-K! xxx

 

Posted: July 9, 2012 in Rugby Union

Nick Lewis is one of the guiding lights of #RugbyUnited, and has been responsible for several #RugbyQA and #RugbyQuiz on twitter, as well as being one of the organisers of next weeks inaugral #RugbyUnited charity match.

He can be found on Twitter on @NickLewisNo8 and is always dependable for a good line of banter.

Nick sent me this blog a couple of weeks ago, and i love the idea of it, and i would really like to know other people’s rugby experiences, so much so that i will add mine to the bottom of Nicks. If anyone would like to send me theirs,or any other blog, please send them onto me (with a bit about yourself) to Rich_Rugbyunited@mail.com.

Nick’s rugby history!

“STOP”
“you run forward, pass backwards, it’s not difficult to understand”-
Austin Hill, games teacher at Saintbridge School for boys (around 1983 )

            That was my introduction to rugby. Thrust upon me  by my school. If you went to school in Gloucester, you played rugby.It took a while to get the hang of it but I got there in the end.
            I didn’t play for my school, I wasn’t good enough but I did play house rugby and loved every minute of it.

             When I left school I decided to play for Coney Hill RFC, why Coney Hill? Because my brother played there.
             Coney Hill ran 4 sides but getting into a side was near on impossible. John Masey was captain of the 4ths ” you don’t just walk into the side, you earn the right to play”
So my first season consisted of training on Tuesday and Thursday and then playing for 10 mins on a Saturday but once you were in, you were in.
It took a while but eventually I got accepted and played at a reasonably good level.
             Finding my right position took a while, started on the wing(I was slimmer and quicker in those days), played 3 seasons at Full Back and then found the best position on the pitch. No7 , open side flanker. For those who don’t know, open side flanker is  a right royal pain in the arse, you play right on the edge of what is strictly legal according to the laws, some might call it cheating, i say its only cheating if you get caught.You put your hands into rucks, you hold onto the ball on the floor, you hold on to scrums by your finger nails, you tackle fly halves at least 30 secs after they have offloaded the ball. Like I said, best position on the pitch.
              I played for Coney Hill on and off for 22 years at every senior level, I have had the honour of playing with some great players, everyone of which would fight for you, bleed for you,I wouldn’t go as far as say die for you but it certainly felt that way. I have been on great tours, having the pleasure of playing in the unbeaten tour of Canada.
             I have made some great friends, friends for life, not just at Coney Hill but in all the clubs in Gloucester.
             Sadly I had to give up playing due to a shoulder/ neck injury which just won’t heal. I’ve had injuries before, popped rib cartlidge,broken fingers, broke my nose 7 times, lost teeth, usual sporting injuries but this one wont go away. I remember when I went to the Doctors and she said the following
           ” normally I say to you, think about giving up. Now I’m telling you, give up”
Sad day.

           The saddest thing is I don’t go to watch Coney Hill play, the reason being that I don’t think I could resist the temptation to play. I know deep in my heart that I would be in a world of pain for days after so why put myself through it.

            So now I support Gloucester,which is not easy, some might say another world of pain.

             But I can honestly say, I enjoyed every second of every minute of every match that I have ever played in, if I could carry on i would, wouldn’t think twice. I would say to anyone, if you get the chance to play then play and you too will see why rugby, in my humble opinion, is the greatest sport in the world.

By Nicholas Lewis aged 41 and 1 quarter 

 

Rich’s Rugby story

My introduction to rugby started at primary school when i was chosen to take part in ‘New Image’ rugby (now known as touch) as part of a school sporting initiative, to be honest, i don’t recall too much about it, but i know that was my first taste.

My introduction to ‘proper’ rugby came courtesy of my Dad. Or more accurately, it came via one of his clients at work, a young fella named Mike Teague. My Dad used to get me the odd signed photo etc, but the biggest buzzes i used to get were seeing Teaguey turn out for England.

This led to my year 7 rugby team, and my efforts to emulate Teaguey and play at number 8, this lasted a few weeks training and half a game after i accidentally backheeled the scrumhalf in the teeth, and was then moved to play at flanker. Much to my dismay.

I had a season or so at flanker, but was thrust into hooker due to injury to other players, and took to it like a duck to water, and ended up keeping my place when everyone was back fit, and even got into Coventry’s youth team and had Warwickshire trials in my third choice position. 

Try scoring was never my forte, i scored twice playing on the wing in a ‘b’ team game and sccored once with a classic forward bellyflop over the line and that was it. For me it was all about hooking against the head,stealing the ball, and not getting caught for various acts of foul play. All of which i was very good at. 

I was injured for most of year 10 rugby at school, after tearing my shoulder/neck muscle in the Coventry schools cup final and then in year 11 injured my knee training with Coventry and pretty much gave up.

In hindsight, i probably should’ve.

In my late teens, i was invited to play for Balsall and Berkswell RFC and spent the pre season getting in some pretty good shape, so much so, i was moved to play inside centre, a position i’d never played before, but at the time i was deceptively quick and pretty big, so had plenty of beef to bring to the backline, unfortunately, in my first full contact game in my new position, i got caught in a maul at an odd angle, which led to 2 herniated discs in my back and the ultimatum from my old boss… your job or rugby.

So i became a full time fan at that point. Gloucester Rugby of course, who else?

They have given me more lows than highs, but some amazing days out, weekends away and sessions on the cider as well as meeting some great people and now with #rugbyunited i am offered a chance to give back to the sport, as well as helping out charities!

 

This won’t be the last #RugbyUnited blog over the next week or so.

I will be writing the final overview of the #RugbyUnited v Southwest Patriots games this week, and there will be reviews of the games next week.

There will also be some kind of blog about the relationship between Rugby and Charities, inspired by our work with the MS society and an email i received from Braintree RFC. If i find time, i will write that up this week as well. 

I also want a volunteer from each aviva premiership club to email me (Rich_RugbyUnited@mail.com) a quick preview of their club for next season for use in a future blog….

So keep checking back, there may be something new and exciting..

 

RC_K

First up, sorry to blog twice in a day, but i meant to write my blog last night and couldn’t find the inspiration, whereas today, i appear to have the bug!

I had a couple of ideas for a blog this week, 1 was my opinion on how Ireland can dominate the Euro club scene, yet come up short against the big nations, the second was to be my review of the various home nations tours this summer, so in short, i will ramble on both. 

IRELAND.

I wrote a little a couple of weeks ago about my misgivings over the general strength of the RABO12 and mainly, the guarantee’d Heineken Cup places that take a lot of the competitiveness out of the league games and also encourages the coaches to ‘rest’ or ‘rotate’ the key international players.

This, in my view is partially what is to blame for why Ireland can’t carry the club form into international games. The players aren’t used to playing 3 high tempo, full blooded games in back to back weeks For example, these are the line ups for Leinsters first two RABO12 games last season (when the side was disrupted by RWC duties)

Round 1http://www.rabodirectpro12.com/matchcentre/2648.php?section=lineups&fixid=158904

round 2 :http://www.rabodirectpro12.com/matchcentre/2648.php?section=lineups&fixid=158906

some of the mid-season games, when the side SHOULD be full strength

Round 12 http://www.rabodirectpro12.com/matchcentre/2648.php?section=lineups&fixid=158965

Round 13 http://www.rabodirectpro12.com/matchcentre/2648.php?section=lineups&fixid=158974

and for the final 2 rounds of the season 

Semi http://www.rabodirectpro12.com/matchcentre/2648.php?section=lineups&fixid=159564

Final http://www.rabodirectpro12.com/matchcentre/2648.php?section=lineups&fixid=159566

You can see the quality differences in the team. Obviously the early season was affected by the World Cup call ups, but the mid season and end season teams vastly differ in quality. Partially this is down to injury/suspension/unavailability but its also down to the sides keeping players fresh for Heineken Cup and Irish duty. 

The players simply aren’t geared up to play competitive games back to back. 

Thats my theory anyway. I could go more in depth, but i’m not going to!!! 🙂

 

The Summer Tours

England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland all headed south for their summer tours, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific isles, respectively.

England took a pretty young, inexperienced team down to SA for a 3 test tour, the first test was a 22-17 South African victory,followed by the ‘midweek side’ taking a 54-26 win over the SA southern Barbarians.

The second week of the tour, and the second test, which was again a Springbok victory, 36-27, when a tweaked England side switched off in a dreadful first half before almost pulling it out of the fire before JP Pieterson scored a cracker to seal the game, the midweek game vs the SA Northern Barbarians was another midweek side victory 51-37

The final test was a 14 all draw after Owen Farrell dropped a daisycutter when a clean strike would have clinched a first England victory over SA in 10 attempts.

Final score SA 2- England 0 (1 drawn)

Overall thoughts. A more balanced backrow and a savvy backline could see this England side develop into something special. A lot of under 23’s in the squad, it bodes well for the future, i just wish Mr Lancaster would pick people in their playing positions!!!!

Wales/ Ireland

I only saw highlights of the Welsh/Irish games, so can’t review them in any depth, but the Welsh will see a losing 3-0 total rather than concentrating on the fact they could have won EVERY game.  27-19, last minute heartbreak to lose 25-23 and finally 20-19 in the last test. In my eyes they are very much the best team in Europe, despite the fact they didn’t win a test on tour

Ireland lost 3-0 to New Zealand. Its almost a travesty that they get the same scoreline as the Welsh. The first test was a hammering. 42-10 (i had predicted 42-12 i believe, on #rugbyreckon, cos i’m awesome.) and it could only get better, right…. well, test 2 was a MILE better, if it wasn’t for Dan Carter and a last minute drop goal (take heed, Owen Farrell) they’d have salvaged a magnificent draw, but had to take a 22-19 loss instead, but actually deserved much, much more. 

The third test was simply an annihilation. 60-0 in tier 1 rugby should NOT happen. The Irish players, coaches and fans will not be impressed by the capitulation and there was some call on twitter for Kidney to resign. It was a horrific way to end a below par tour.

Scotland did a seldom done tour and visited Fiji and Samoa stopping en route in Australia and pulling off an absolutely fantastic 9-6 upset victory. (Mssrs Strokosch and Ansbro will have scars to remember the wild celebration at full time!!) They also beat Fiji 37-25 and squeaked passed Samoa 17-16 to complete a magnificent 3-0 test victory

 

Whilst these tours were taking place, there was also the U20’s JWC on as well. South Africa and Wales both beat the Baby Blacks, SA doing it in the final to be the first non NZ team to win the Junior world cup. The final placings were 

Champs: South Africa

Runner up: New Zealand

Third: Wales

Fourth: Argentina

Fifth: Ireland

Sixth: France

Seventh: England

Eighth: Australia

Ninth:Scotland

 Tenth: Samoa

Eleventh: Fiji 

Twelfth: Italy.

 

Enough rambling for one day. my teas ready!!!

 

laters!

RC-K