Nice one Blues

It was a good result tonight for the Blues against the Dragons, despite the fact that the overall quality and entertainment value of the match was low.

Great too to see Jamie Roberts back in action, the half hour he played will aid the healing process just as much as all the physio has in recent weeks.

The man of the match Rhys Patchell made a great impression{ good distribution skills, a great boot and a super turn of speed were also backed up by a willingness to do some hard physical work too. He looks a good quality act in the making and yet another product of Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf.

There’s a lot for the Blues to do upfront, but this will have put them in good stead for the weeks to come.

3 Grand Slam thoughts

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 17:  Wales wing Alex Cu...

I know, it’s a while since we won the Grand Slam this year, but I have to mention a couple of things:

1. The Team : Wales are now a wonderful team: they are committed, physically intense, supportive, creative, intelligent and it was marvellous to see that all their tries were scored by the backs.

2. The Recovery: If the trips to the Polish cryotherapy centre were so beneficial in aiding recovery before the tournament, why then were the team not taken back there to recover after the tournament?

3. My Heart Rate: During the build up to the French match my heart rate rose from a normal resting rate of 60, to 72 on driving into Cardiff, to 80 whilst meeting a few friends before the match, to 95 on getting to the Stadium and finally to 105 just after the anthems. I was so knackered after the match that I was home by 7.30 and in bed by 9! Maybe I should have had some cryotherapy  instead.

It was, however, a great tournament.

RWC 2011: 7 out of 8 disappointments

At the start of the Competition I wrote about my 8 hopes for the tournament, I ended up being disappointed by just about all of them!

  • First off: the French team only turned up for the final and even then could proably have made a better fist of it.
  • Second: there might not have been minnows, but there were Second Class Citizens expected to play with shorter breaks between games, making their life far more challenging.
  • Third: Hard tackles seemed less apparent,but the new tip tackle was invented to overcome some of the negativity associated with Sam Warburton’s class in the France v Wales match. It looks as though a Tip Tackle is the same as a spear tackle but with a little less intent!
  • Fourth: Not only did NZ continue with some throat slitting gestures, in contravention of IRB directives, nobody seemed to care as it only “added to the atmosphere”.
  • Fifth: Good Officials! Pah! Allain Roland might have been a culprit but he was acting on the orders of the IRB whjo failed to cover themselves in glory at all. And fining France for responding to the Haka in the final should how officialdom is taking itself far too seriously.
  • Six: the anthems were better than expected, the small choirs were very appropriate and the opera stars toned it down just a little. But some did try to entertain and spoilt the moment.
  • Seventh: The referees let the stars – oh OK it’s actually Richie McCaw – get away with anything and everything, AGAIN and AGAIN.

It was however only the final point that nearly made it right: NZ did deserve to win and they had to battle hard in the final to defeat a very plucky French team. It’s a shame though that they did not demonstrate respect for them in the immediate post match interviews with neither Henry or McCaw mentioning the opposition.

So overall it wasn’t a great tournament. There were fewer tries than usual, lower scores than usual and my aspirations will now have to wait for another 4 years for the next one to come around.

But despite all that it remains – IMHO – the greatest sporting show on earth bar none. Roll on 2015.


My my, Haven’t the All Blacks improved!

Congratulations to the All Blacks on becoming world champions yesterday. A really well deserved crowning of a great side.

One area they’ve significantly improved in is their pre-match Haka. Check this out for the way it was done in the 70’s


The Best Individual Try ever!

Whilst Rugby might be a team game sometimes it delivers acts of true brilliance. In this clip Shane Williams defeats a defence by running towards them, truly brilliant!

8 things I want to see from the Rugby World Cup

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The greatest sporting event in the world started yesterday, my opinion of course, and for the next 6 weeks we will see fantastic athletes knocking lumps out of each other in the best possible spirit of sportsmanship and respect.

And as the competition starts, I wonder what would make it great? Here are some of my hopes for this tournament:

  1. A French side that plays like only France can, but in every game. Silky skills, built around bullying strength can be glorious to watch. But they have to turn up for every game.
  2. No more minnows. I’m currently watching France v Japan, and whilst Japan don’t have a hope of winning today, they are at least making  a great game of it. And we need to see more of the “minor” teams pressing the big guys, for one day their time will come.
  3. Hard Tackling. I remember the dynamism of the Romanians from the last competitioin: awesome. And the same goes for the Islanders. Solid clean tackling has a great part to play in the game and I hope we see lots of it.
  4. No throat slitting. The All Blacks have used a version of the Haka that includes a throat slitting gesture. There is no place for that in a game based on respect.
  5. Good Officials. If we are lucky we won’t see the officials. But sadly we probably will, TMO’s will take an age to decide, showboating Refs will think we’ve paid to watch them. We haven’t. I want good communicative officials who keep the game flowing. And TMO’s that can decide in 30 seconds.
  6. Great Anthems. There are moments that can cause your heart to flutter during the anthems, fantastic stirring stuff. But they can be runied by opera singers performing. Let them stay away, keep it real and let the crowd provide the emotion.
  7. Referreeing the Stars. For too long some players have dominated referees whilst clearly breaking the laws of the game. They must be stopped and put in their place.
  8. A deserving winner. I don’t really care who wins the tournament provided they play with the right spirit, hopefully entertain us and respect their opponents in all games.



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