Posts Tagged ‘Rugby’

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!!!

 

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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

 

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

 

 

Much have been said and written about the fact that next year one South African team will make way in the Super 15 competition for The Kings. Many opinions have been voiced around the “braaivleis” fires of South Africa whenever this topic came up in conversation.

Let’s face it the topic is controversial, end of story. So let me indulge you with my 2 cents worth.

I don’t believe that we will see the Kings for more than one season in Super 15 competition. They have last played in the Currie Cup Premier Division in 2002.

The fact that in recent years they have only competed in First Division Rugby is likely to make them the whooping boys of next year’s Super 15 competition. Their highest honours off late has been winners in 2010 in the First Division and winning the Vodacom Shield in 2002.

They are facing an uphill battle of noted against the more experienced teams in the competition.

The Kings will have to adapt at lighting speed to the much higher level of rugby than in the First Division where they have been playing. In addition, traveling demands on the New Zealand and Australian legs of the tournament, which they have not yet experienced.

As if that is not enough they will also have the change to their head coach with Matt Sexton taking over from their very experienced Alan Solomons on 15 July 2012.

Sexton is currently the Academy Manager of the Tasman Rugby Union. Many of us will remember him from his playing days for the Crusaders and Ulster playing at hooker.

As far as coaching goes, he was the Academy Manager at Canterbury (coaching the development squad, the Canterbury Knights). The Tasman Rugby Union and also on the coaching team for the New Zealand team in the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship.

What Sexton does bring to the party which no doubt will be valuable for the Kings will be his knowledge of playing in both New Zealand and Australia and the fields, as well as his traveling experience.

How he manages his young chargers during the overseas leg of the competition as well as during the local games will be interesting.

The Kings does not have the financial backing that the bigger unions have, so their ability to atrack “bums on seats” players will be hampered.

Question remains with the “free ride” that the Kings have been handed by SARFU for next year at the expense of the bottom of the log team for South Africa in this years competition, where is the fairness in all that?

Would a play off between the Kings and the team in question not have been a fairer option? What impact will not playing in next years competition have on the team making way for the Kings have, currently it appears that it might be the Lions?

All I can confirm at this stage of the game is that next years competition is going to be interesting.

By

Ancia Potgetier

 

If anyone would like to contribute a guest blog, please contact me Rich_RugbyUnited@Mail.com

I know, before i even write this blog that parts of it will be controversial, and people won’t agree with it, but this is MY blog to showcase MY opinions, so please respect that if you feel the need to argue or comment negatively on it, you won’t change my mind on what i believe.

So with that in mind……

The threat has been made by the Premiership clubs that they intend on withdrawing from the Heineken Cup unless changes are made to the format of the tournament.

I believe the English and French clubs feel that the qualification should be 6 from the Aviva, 6 from the Top 14 and 6 from the RABO league alongside the defending Heineken champs and the winners of the Amlin cup, making up the 20 best sides in European rugby.

I’ve seen a lot of press coverage going into the reasoning behind the call for change, this is my take on some of the main points i’ve seen.

1: The Italian clubs. Now, in fairness to the Italian sides, they are at the beginning of the steep climb to being competitive. The fact Aironi have already dropped out of the RABO says a lot about how far they have to go. So the fact that Italian sides are guaranteed HC spots at the expense of better teams, both on the pitch, and off, is surely wrong. The last thing sides want mid season is an expensive weekend in Italy to walk over an uncompetitive side. If the 6 sides from each nation rule was bought in, then the Italians would have to finish top 6 to qualify. They’d still have the chance to improve, and they’d still play in the Amlin cup, so their development wouldn’t be compromised.

2: RABO Pro12 league. The way qualification works at the moment, 10 out of the RABO league sides can qualify for the HC. This is a league where there are only really 6 or 7 sides that stand a chance of winning it. Leinster, Ulster, Munster, Ospreys, Scarlets, Blues and possibly Edinburgh, the other sides are NOT Heineken standard. The fact that 8 to 10 of these sides will qualify for the HC takes away the competitiveness of the league, OK, they slog it out for the playoff berths, but one of the highlights of the Aviva premiership season was the battle for the HC spots, which involved 5 clubs fighting for the last 2 spots. The fact that the Provinces can rest players without any real consequences has helped both the Irish and Welsh national sides develop as they always have the best players fresh for big games. This also shows with the attendance of league games, and has affected the Welsh sides especially, which is now showing by the amount of players being released to the French clubs. The Top14 and the Aviva Premiership are far tougher leagues in the respect that you don’t get ‘down’ games, each game is fought for, tooth and nail, the way a league should be. There is relegation places, playoff places and European cup places up for grabs, so each game carries importance. The RABO just doesn’t get that. There is no relegation worries, no realistic Euro worries (the weaker sides will not budget for HC places, so qualification is a bonus) so some games are absolute non entities.

3: Provinces vs Clubs. Is it fair that the provincial sides should play club sides anyway? With English clubs also hamstrung by a salary cap, they simply can’t have a squad with as much talent in it as say Leinster or Ulster. Even the top English clubs are trying to build with a lot more youth, George Ford, Owen Farrell and co are coming through the ranks, whereas the Provincial sides, especially in Ireland, seem to have 3 or 4 internationals in most positions standing between a youngster and a starting spot. The French sides, with no salary cap, can sign who they like, so they are buying up a lot of the talent. The Welsh sides are slightly different as financial restraints have meant they have had to put in youngsters, and its worked tremendously for them as they can play with almost no pressure in a lot of their league games. Also, the fact that these youngsters can be called in from any of the Welsh premiership clubs to the Provinces shows the depth of the talent pools the clubs have. Far more than the Aviva or the French sides.

4: Financial. This is one that i’m not so sure actually has that much of an effect on the English and French clubs, but is the one being touted by a lot of the press. Articles saying that because the English sides went out early this season, that they lost the financial input of the cup. There are three main reasons i don’t agree with this.

1) Heineken prize money isn’t THAT great. its a prestige tournament, but the prize money is better for winning the LV=Cup (or at least it was in the 10/11 season) so the potential for increased gate receipts is the only real bonus on offer, but then take into account, Leicester, Saints, Exeter, Bath and Quins out of next seasons Aviva qualifiers will probably draw sell outs for 90% of home games anyway. 

2)Having a more accessible opponent in the pool stages would allow more revenue for the club from their club travel arrangements. For example, more people would travel from Sale to Cardiff than would travel to Rome. Also you would be more likely to have a local ‘grudge match’ which would increase revenue for the home and away games. 

3)Less travel expenditure for the clubs. for example less air fare, less hotel expenses (as most sides would stay 2 or 3 nights on a long distance away trip, whereas it’d likely only be 1 if it was British Isles opposition) Lets not forget, a side could draw Toulouse and an Italian side in the same pool, thats 2 blooming expensive away trips for fans and club!

 

5: Jealousy?  I saw Dean Ryan claim this as a reason, that the English and French clubs are jealous of Leinsters success. But even after the re-jigged qualifications, Leinster would STILL qualify, so they’d STILL be the team to beat. So again, this isn’t something i agree with.

6: It wouldn’t mean any extra English clubs would qualify anyway.It was only the top 6 from this season (Quins, Tigers, Sarries, Saints, Exeter and Sale) that are in the tournament, but there would be 7 French clubs (Clermont, Toulouse,Montpellier, Castres,Metro, Stade and Biarritz as Amlin champs) and 7 from the RABO12 (Ospreys, Munster, Glasgow,Scarlets, Ulster, Blues and Leinster as HC champs) So no Edinburgh, Treviso, Zebre or Connacht. Now Edinburgh had a good cup run this season, but seriously, could ANY of those sides win the tournament?And for the record….. Zebre? Who? Did they win a place in the cup in a raffle? (3 of the teams that wouldn’t qualify under the proposed qualification criteria are in the same group in the cup draw, the 4th team, Harlequins…. again proof that its not being suggested to make it easier on the English clubs!)

If the Heineken were to be boycotted by the French and English, it wouldn’t be the greatest thing to happen to Northern Hemisphere rugby, but you can bet there’s a contingency plan in place for an Anglo-French competition, maybe involving the second tier sides as well,but obviously it wouldn’t be the same as the Heineken cup, but i honestly think there is a point to be made, so i agree with the respective parties that something needs to happen.

The English and French are trying to make the competition elitist, which i agree 100% it should be the elite clubs. If they were trying to devalue the competition, i could understand some of the criticism i have read, but this is an attempt to give the best sides a chance to prove their mettle.

I can see the reasoning behind the Italian involvement, they are trying to improve the profile of the sport, it gives another market share for TV revenue, etc, but really, Aironi are NOT better than Toulon or Biarritz, yet they were both in the Amlin last season. Same with Connacht, they are a smashing side, and a great bunch of fans, but the reaction to beating Quins should say a lot about their chances. It was greeted like they’d won the Heineken cup, and without checking my facts, i think it was their only tournament win this season. They KNOW they are huge underdogs. And even though it was a great thing for their fans, surely competing, and beating, the minnows in the Amlin would provide just as much enjoyment for the fans. As a long-suffering Gloucester fan, i can assure you that winning the LV cup in a crowd 20k is JUST as satisfying as winning the Powergen cup as part of 80k!

 

As i said at the top. This is only my opinion, so feel free to disagree, but if people are going to get abusive or argumentative i’ll just block/ignore you. All comments are pre approved before appearing anyway

 

Anyway. its 2 am and i was going to bed an hour ago, but i got bit by the urge to blog, so as i have work in the morning, i’d best skidaddle!!

 

take it easy, chickens!

RC_K

I feel that the few blog readers that I have, have been with me throughout #RugbyUnited fledgling 6 months or so. But its almost time to take it off of the internet and make #RugbyUnited an entity in its own right, whilst still sticking to our principles (giving everyone a chance to participate, being fun and different, helping the disadvantaged etc).

Some twitter friends, and now fully fledged #RugbyUnited members, James Hoddy and Emily Barrett, approached us with the idea of a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis,more specifically, the Multiple Sclerosis Society,and we saw it as a chance to put ourselves out there and raise our profile, whilst helping a fantastic cause.

The fundraiser was decided as a day of touch rugby, its a chance for regular players, first timers, injured old men (otherwise known as me) to get together and have a run out. We originally (and quite coincidentally) decided the games would take place on the 10/6/12 (yes, today.) but due to a few issues, we postponed it to July 7th. This is great news for me, as it gives me a little longer to get back in game shape.

The event will take place at Chosen Hill rugby club in Gloucester and will involve Mens and Womens games (and we need players, should you be reading this and fancy a run ) as well as a pretty awesome raffle which contains the following prizes,

  • Signed Gloucester Rugby Ball
  • Signed England Rugby Ball
  • Signed Nottingham Rugby Shirt
  • Family Voucher for 10 seats to a Saracens Wembley Stadium Match
  • Two Tickets to a Bristol Rugby Match
  • Two Tickets to a Plymouth Albion Rugby Match
  • Cornish Pirates Book ‘Pirates Pirates!’
  • Signed Cotton Traders England shirt
  • Kukri Polo shirt
  • Family pass for Westons Cider Mill tour and tasting
  • NEWLY CONFIRMED!! Signed Cardiff Blues and Llanelli Scarlets shirts!

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(Further prize donations will be gratefully recieved as well!!)

I will be working this week so we can figure a way to do some online raffle ticket sales, so watch this space!!!

We are also awaiting confirmation of our intention to break a world record on the same day, I won’t give too much information away on this just yet, but its a pretty easy one to beat, in my opinion, so we want #RugbyUnited to SMASH it!!! (thats not a clue, by the way!)

If you are interested in coming along,even if its just to laugh at my feeble attempts to roll back 12 years and play rugby on 1 semi functioning knee, i will post the details on here, but they will also be on our website (http://www.rugbyunited.info/), our forum (which is free to join! http://rugbyunited.freeforums.org/ )  on our various Twitter pages ( @RichC_K @TrevorLarge @NickLewisno8 or search the #RUTeam hashtag!), we also have our very own Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/104979119626529/) so PLEASE join us and help us in any way you can!

Its a great cause and we want to raise a lot of money and have a lot of fun, it will also be the first of many of these kinds of fundraisers, for various charities, nationwide, in fact, if Trevor gets his way, it’ll be WORLDWIDE!

Watch this space!!

RC-K

Edited to add:-


Due to our prizes covering so many geographically varied rugby clubs, we would like to offer online raffle sales so that fans of the clubs can get involved. Unfortunately, we would need either a specific bank account or some kind of funding to pay for software or online hosting, which we don’t have.

The only way i can think of being able to do this would be if people sent us/me money for the tickets, i will then print your numbers on our forum and ensure the money ends up in the charity fund. Its not the ideal way to do this, but its the only feasible way i can see us being able to provide the opportunity for everyone to be involved. If you are interested in having the chance to win one of our prizes, email me (rich_rugbyunited@mail.com) and i will let you know my details.