Sunday, 19 February 2017
Saturday, 18 February 2017
With no international rugby on which to focus this weekend, my attention is drawn to comments from Andrew Walker, former Australian dual rugby international, who has volunteered his services to the Brumbies at the ripe old age of 43.
According to Walker "the fire is still blazing" and although he may have "lost about 10 per cent of speed” he “makes up for that with experience”.
You have to love this guy’s optimism and enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, 52 year old Total Flanker has once again made himself available for British & Irish Lions selection.“
I still have a few smouldering embers” said the rotund veteran, “and while I may have lost more than 70 per cent of my pace, I more than make up for it with cunning, dishonesty and treachery.”
Friday, 17 February 2017
As a fallow 6 Nations weekend approaches, time perhaps to reflect on what we have seen so far:
- Cracking rugby;
- Five of the six teams have achieved at least one victory in their opening two matches;
- England’s late, late shows are doing my heart no good at all;
- Two-thirds of all games have been edge of the seat affairs decided by one score;
- Attacking intent is evident even if, to date, defences have largely prevailed;
- Italy’s progress has at best stalled – and calls for Georgia to replace the Azurri in the competition are, whilst probably unrealistic, no longer without merit;
- The number of injuries gives lie to any suggestion that the Six Nations should in future be cut from 7 weeks to 5 – yes it’s frustrating but the fallow weekends are important to allow teams to rest and recuperate.
Can’t wait for next weekend…
Monday, 13 February 2017
ITALY - poor. Conor O'Shea now has the near impossible task of unearthing a new generation of Italian players who won't be utterly reliant on Sergio Parisse and will be able to sustain intensity beyond 50 minutes. The case for Georgia's promotion to the Six Nations grows week by week.
IRELAND - ruthless, efficient and mostly error-free against the Italians, but it will only be possible to judge this team when under sustained pressure - something that they simply did not experience in Rome.
WALES - monumental effort in Cardiff but the Welsh performance again raises the perennial question: if Wales can rouse themselves to these levels against England then why not on a regular basis?
ENGLAND - true grit. England's rookie back row were always going to be up against it but the collective will and effort of the pack and the cool heads outside them saw them home in a pulsating finale.
FRANCE - kicked on after a promising start at Twickenham last week and ultimately had too much power for Scotland in Paris. If they can add a bit of finesse to the midfield France could be a force to be reckoned with.
SCOTLAND - little doubt now that the Scottish revival is something of substance, although their second string props were taught a lesson in Paris and the Scots' scrummaging will need to improve if the revival is to be sustained.
TEAM OF THE WEEK:
15. Scott Spedding 14. Craig Gilroy 13. Gary Ringrose 12. Owen Farrell 11. Elliot Daly 10. Dan Biggar 9. Connor Murray 1. Joe Marler 2. Guilhem Guirado 3. Rabah Slimani 4. Joe Launchbury 5. Courtney Lawes 6. CJ Stander 7. Kevin Gourdon 8. Josh Strauss
Friday, 10 February 2017
Amid all the claims of dirty tricks and projectile daffodils and the debate over the stadium roof are, however, a couple of wider rugby stories – both somewhat bizarre – which have almost passed unnoticed.
The first of these concerns the charging of a man over the planting of a listening device found in the All Blacks’ Sydney hotel room in the build up to last August’s Bledisloe Cup, a story that is all the more strange given that the alleged perpetrator is understood to be a security consultant working for the New Zealand team.
Meanwhile, serial tabloid fodder Danny Cipriani has also made the papers this week after 2 strippers received suspended jail sentences having admitted blackmailing the Wasps fly half after one of them aborted his child. His mother must be so proud.
Total Flanker – bringing you the stories that matter 😀
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
SCOTLAND - at last, a performance backed up with a result. A win in Paris this weekend could really set the chat parmi les pigeons.
IRELAND - sluggish start, but not a huge amount to fix. Will be there or thereabouts in the title shake up.
ENGLAND - outmuscled and very, very subdued for first 40 minutes against France and needed the bench to scrape home. Must do better.
FRANCE - big, very big, direct and confident. Had chances to put England away but ran out of steam a bit at the end.
ITALY - plus ca change. Competitive for 50 minutes or so before exit of composure. Unlucky with a couple of decisions but need to be more resilient.
WALES - decent, competent performance in general and the arrival of Sam Davies suggests more creative times ahead.
TEAM OF THE WEEK:
15. Stuart Hogg 14. Noa Nakaitaci 13. Scott Williams 12. Alex Dunbar 11. Elliot Daly 10. Sam Davies 9. Baptiste Serin 1. Jack McGrath 2. Fraser Brown 3. Tadgh Furlong 4. Johnny Gray 5. Richie Gray 6. CJ Stander 7. Kevin Gourdon 8. Louis Picamoles