Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Falling Apart!

The England boys are falling apart, it seems. Far too many of them missed training at the England camp in Loughborough yesterday, and players, coaches and Clubs are getting worried by the number of injuries the guys are picking up!

The ironic thing was that fit-again Farrell has been sent back to Saracens from the England camp, in order to get more training time with his club!

Mad, innit?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Brizzle Top The Table

Newly-promoted Bristol surprised everybody (and themselves!) by beating Wasps at the weekend, to go top of the Guinness Premiership.

And there they will remain for a couple of weeks while the clubs have a fortnight of Anglo-Welsh Cup hiatus during the next two weekends.

, meanwhile, are floating in 9th place, (a familiar position from last season), after their loss to the Sharks on Friday evening. :-(

They are away to London Irish this coming weekend, then host Cardiff Blues at Vicarage Road on 8th October. I plan to be at both matches, so there should be some new images on rugbypix.com in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, here's a photo from Saracens' home game against Bristol from last season, a bit of a muddy affair from memory.

Andy Gomarsall has also been on the move again, signing with Quins until the end of the season, after being unceremoniously dropped by Worcester, one year into a 3-year contract.

Here's a photo of him at the 2005 Scrum In The Park England training session, with Sevens coach Mike Friday.

And I forgot to add them earlier, but a small selection of my photos from the London Double Header are now on Flickr.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Debut Try

Andy Farrell finally played a game of Rugby Union on Monday, starting for Saracens A in their game against NEC Harlequins. After such an injury-strewn year, he must have been hugely relieved, and perhaps proved it's been worth the wait, scoring a try on his maiden outing.

All fingers, toes and eyes crossed for his run of fitness to continue. Sarries are starting him at 6, although they think he might play at centre too.

And I notice today that Sarries have just signed another Scrum Half, Neil de Kock, from SA's Western Province. After their slightly disappointing draw against Bristol last weekend, let's hope they can get their first home win of the season this Sunday, against Newcastle.

The Falcons will be without Jonny again, who's done himself another mischief, this time in the right knee department. He did the same thing to his left knee last year and it was 9 weeks on the sidelines, so I doubt he'll be in the running for the Autumn Internationals. If you thought Farrell's catalogue of injuries was bad, Jonny just takes the biscuit! A speedy recovery to him!

Meanwhile, here's one of the few pictures I have of him running about! Taken in December 2004 when the Falcons visited Vicarage Road for a Zurich Premiership match.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Double The Fun

The season kicked off in style on Saturday at Twickenham, with the London Double Header and 51,000+ fans shouting for their team. That's one thing I love about Rugby - get the fans of say, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham packed together all over a stadium, and there would be chaos. But the four Premiership London rugby clubs can enjoy a day out at HQ with friendly rivalry, banter, singing and some silly mascot challenges on the pitch, without a hint of aggro.

Anyway, on to the games. They were both close. Quins were unlucky to go down by one point to London Irish, 20-19. There seemed to be a lot of kicking going on in that game. The weather had threatened a downpour, but it didn't actually rain much at all. Just very windy - maybe their game plan had been biased for the wet and they were surprised when it stayed dry!

That's a taster for the game, you can see more from the Irish v Quins match on my dedicated rugby photography site.

As for Saracens vs Wasps, Sarries went down by 2 points in the end, after having lead by a point at the break. Another kicking-heavy game, but there were a few tries scored - sadly for me, too many by Wasps!

Saracens played some of our new boys, notably Argentinian Winger Tomas de Vedia and Italian Hooker Fabio Ongaro. Here's a photo of our new-look Fabio Front Row:

There's more from the Sarries vs Wasps match, plus loads of others, at rugbypix.com.

As for the other matches over the weekend, Bristol gave Worcester a walloping. Sarries are away at Bristol next weekend - eek! Newcastle went down to Northampton, and Bath lost to Gloucester. The positive out of that match was Danny Grewcock scoring two tries! He's obviously raring to go this season, which is great news for Bath and England.