Monday, July 31, 2006

More Haka Hassles

Perhaps as an antidote to the Handbags Haka previously mentioned, the All Blacks have taken to using a version of the Haka which includes a throat-slitting gesture at the end. Very friendly. Australian coach John Connolly has criticised their decision to go away from the usual Ka Mate version, but Graham Henry's having none of it.

Sounds like a verbal version of Handbags At Dawn, to me ;-)

Here's a photo of our brave boys facing up to the Ka Mate menace, last time the New Zealanders visited Twickenham.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

RFU Win A Battle

But who will win the war?

I'm talking about the persistant skirmish between Premier Rugby Ltd (representing the Clubs) and the RFU, who look after England's interests. The RFU istrying to squeeze in a special 4th test outside the usual IRB International window, on 5th November. They want England to play the All Blacks as a celebration of the new South Stand opening. Great news for the fans, but PRL have been resisting and citing the fact they need their best players for Club duties that weekend.

The wrangling has rumbled on for months, and finally the High Court has made a decision - in favour of the RFU. PRL are deciding whether they wish to appeal.

Better rugby minds than mine have proposed various solutions fo the whole sorry club vs country mess, but it seems that both sides' positions are fairly entrenched, and I don't suppose it will get solved any time soon. In the meatime, I'm plotting how I might get my hands on some tickets for said game :-)

Talking of Men In Black, I've just sent off my application form for Membership of Saracens. I didn't do it last year, as I couldn't see much extra benefit, but they have come up with some more incentives this season, so I've parted with my fifty quid and hope to be able to attend some of the Memebers Only events with the players over the coming season. I'll report back here, of course.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Man Overboard

Australian Winger Wendell Sailor has been banned from Rugby for two years after failing a second dope test. Apparently a metabolite of Cocaine was found. And at 32, you'd think his rugby days are probably over. Not many players go on much beyond 34, plus having the stigma of his ban looming over him, if and when he decided to make a return. I can't imagine many teams queueing up for his services come 2008!

What a silly way to end his rugby career. I applaud the ARU for taking such a strong stance (it was a "recreational drug" rather than a performance-enhancer, but it's still a banned substance). Hopefully, others will learn that it'sjust not worth it. Thankfully, I don't think widespread drug abuse is veryprevalent in rugby. Long may it conitune that way!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

And You Thought You Were Hot!

Spare a thought for the poor guys doing their strength and conditioning training in this heat. Apparently they can lose up to 4Kg per session, and the squad as a whole are getting through about 250litres of drinking water per day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Best Foot Forwards

Sarries' pack has a new coach, Kiwi Adrian Kennedy. He looks like quite a mild-mannered chap from the photo. But let's hope he can turn the forwards into a steamrollering pack for the new season.
Here's a picture of the lightly-steaming front row during their Powergen Cup game against Wasps last December. And Looks like the half-time pom-pom girls will get five more minutes to strut their stuff next season too, dear oh dear.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fantastic eBay!

It's amazing what you can get from eBay these days.

As you may know from my other blog, I've been having troubles with Technorati not indexing my blogs properly. So this morning I was trying a test to see if it had been fixed, as promised in a recent email from their tech support. I did a search for Danny Grewcock and their results came up with this sponsored link first... If only it were that simple, eh? ;-)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The New Boys

I read with interest that Saracens have signed promising young Argentinian winger/fullback Tomas de Vedia, for the new season. (Plus a Samoan for the pack).

It sounds like the lad has plenty of pace and, as the Argenitian League's top try scorer last year, hopefully he will be able to contribute quickly and get on the score sheet soon.

I don't have a photo of him, but here are some of his Argentinian compatriots in an image I took during the Lions v Argentina match in Cardiff last May. It shows Pablo Bouza winning a lineout against Martin Corry, plus Danny Grewcock, Federico Méndez, Donncha O'Callaghan and Mariano Sambucetti giving some lift.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New Flickr Sets

The summer hiatus has given me the chance to upload some more pictures to Flickr, mainly from pre-summer 2005 games. The sets are:
With each image, there's also a link to the appropriate match photos on, in case you want to see more.

With last year's successful Scrum In The Park enjoyed by everyone, despite the rain, I was wondering if a similar event is planned for this year. Checking their website still gives "news" on last year's event, sadly. Anyone know any more up to date info?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Grim Reading

I forgot to mention it earlier, but as a paid-up member of the England Rugby Supporters' Club (ERSC), amongst other benefits, I get the Official RFU England Rugby Yearbook sent to me. It plopped through the letterbox the other morning. Sadly, it makes grim reading, the 2005/06 season not being what any of us would have hoped for in the year before a World Cup! Still, the pictures were nice.

And talking of which, here's an image I took at one of the matches England managed to win this season, against Wales in the opening Six Nations match at Twickenham. The Two Number 10's, Stephen Jones and Charlie Hodgson go head to head. You can see more images from that game and others on my dedicated site,

Oh, and I've just noticed this little gem on the BBC Rugby Union site, where Jonny Wilkinson states the bleedin' obvious.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A War Of Words

As there's not much rugby news about, I did promise to spout about other subjects during the summer, and so I thought a quick mention of last night's cracking season finale for Dr Who was needed. Daleks and Cybermen in the same episode! Marvellous! It was pretty good action-wise, but still retained a sense of humour.

For starers, there was one exchange, when the Cybermen first meet the Daleks, and they have a lengthy exchange which runs along the lines of "Identify Yourself!", "No You Must Identify Yourself First!!. This goes on for several rounds when all of a sudden the Dalek says "Daleks Do Not Take Orders!!" and the Cyberman looks smugly at it and says "You have identified as Dalek". You can see the Dalek's rubber sink plunger quivering with rage at itself for having been so stupid. It reminded me of the classic moment from Dad's Army when the Home Guard have been captured by Germans and are being quizzed for their names. Captain Mainwaring, fearing that the young, foolish one will give the game away utters the immortal line "Don't tell them, Pike!"

My favourite bit of dialogue from last night occurred between the two leaders of the Daleks and Cybers, viz:

Cyberman [apoplectic after a Dalek has just shot one of his mates]: "You have declared War on the Cybermen!!"

Dalek [in equally apoplectic metal tones]: "This isn't war, it's just Pest Control!!!!"


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Handbags - Remix

Further to my posting about the All Blacks and their handbag antics, it would seem the Aussie media have gone and done more or less what I suggested and made a video showing the AB's wielding handbags during the Haka, in a promo for the start of their upcoming Tri-Nations match against New Zealand. The All Blacks management seem to think it's disrespectful to Maori and the All Blacks - something which obviously didn't occur to Chris Masoe when he swung his fist at a member of the public back in May. Strikes me it's just a sense of humour failure ;-)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fijians Get Feisty

Five Fijian Internationals are in hot water for getting bladdered after a game and fighting with each other. Tut tut.

Thankfully, Sarries' two Fijian boys, Simon Raiwalui and Mosese Rauluni, were not involved. Here you can see Simon warming up with the other Saracens players before their game against Worcester Warriors in May 2005 (he's the big bloke in the front row with Kevin Yates, Thomas Castaignede, and Matt Cairns.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Gomars Gets The Elbow

I see that Worcester have ditched England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall after only one year of a three year contract. Seems a bit harsh - 32 and he's not considered good enough to even get on their bench!

He's now looking for a new club, wonder where he'll end up?

In the meantime, here's a photo I took of him from the Sarries/Worcester game of 26th March 2006.