Saturday Oct 20th: 10:00
Steel Cross awaits Crawley 2s today. The grounds look amazing. I have been at the club since 1986 and I have never seen the pitches looking so splendid. "Damper" Sayer, Drew Pratt and team deserve all the praise that is being heaped on them. The worst of the winter is ahead of us but right now they look great.
The 1s are away at Bromley, another pitch that is always immaculate. The boys are ready for the challenge, and rest assured Bromley are always a tough side to beat, home or away. I'll be there.
Neither game can go ahead without a referee. I have been very pleased with all the guys in the middle this season but the game needs more. You don't have to travel if you don't want to. You don't have to be super ambitious. You simply need to love the game and be keen to put something into it, possibly after you've finished playing. I did exactly that and loved every minute of it. Graeme Pratt is organising a training course at Beacon Academy. Places are still available. His details are available via this website. Please get in touch with him and find out what's what. The game needs referees for all levels: kids to seniors.
Didn't see it as I was out with some former Kimberly-Clark colleagues last night, yes the MANSIZE tissue people. The Tigers v Scarlets game that is. Quite surprised at the result despite Scarlets fielding a strong looking side. Five tries and a dominant forward performance sounds as if it was a fairly clear cut result.
What wasn't a surprise was Northampton coming away from Rodney Parade with a win. The Dragons are still a work in progress but it is disappointingly slow progress.
Two other stories catch the eye.
Christian Wade quitting rugby to try his hand at American Football. He has the speed and the courage but is he big enough and will the complexities of the NFL game make it difficult for him to break into a franchise quickly. I think so sadly.
RGC's Maredydd Francis is banned from playing for four years for failing a drug test. The Welsh Premiership player was found to have taken a cocktail of performance enhancing drugs and now suffers the consequence. He is not the only one found guilty in Wales and won't be the last. With the riches now available at the top of the game taking drugs to get there is a risk some players seem willing to take.
Bruce Craig is demanding his clubs game against Toulouse is replayed due to the referees negligence after two French players were subsequently cited and found guilty of foul play. Dear Mr Craig, with respect sir that is nonsense. The man in the middle made his judgements in the heat of battle and we need to support him for that. If there was any negligence it was Freddie Burns showboating and his inability to kick that was to blame for your defeat. This request makes you look an arse. Yours Bleater.
Thankfully Steel Cross only has a neighbours unruly goats to worry about. A school in the Forest of Dean has had their entire playing fields destroyed by a herd of wild boar. The Times for the full story.
Finally many a pundit are concerned that King Eddie's exclusion of Danny Cipriani confirms that England will rely on "rugby by numbers" to win the world cup next year. As was proven when England crashed out in 2011 and their pathetic showing in 2015 you need more than brute force and super fitness to win a world cup. In there somewhere needs to be some guile, some finesse and some UNPREDICTABILITY. Jones refusal to find a spot for Cipriani worries many. For the record I believe the omission is based simply on the fact Jones doesn't like him as a man. It has nothing to do with rugby.
Thursday Oct 18th: 10:30
"And another one, and another one bites the dust". Mako Vunipola and Nick Isiekwe both miss out on an England call up due to injury. Not only a blow for England but for Saracens too..... or is it? Dependent on the severity of the injuries a nice opportunity for key Saracens players to have a break........ or am I a becoming a conspiracy theorist?
King Eddie has announced his squad and as expected it is full of unfamiliar names thanks to the longish list of injuries. Zach Mercer and as expected Ben Morgan are included. Dylan and Owen Farrell are named as co-captains. Chris Ashton's decision to return to the UK and play for Sale has been rewarded with a recall. In addition to Mercer there are seven other uncapped players in the squad including Bath's Joe Cokanasiga. The noticeable absentee is Danny Cipriani. I am guessing form has nothing to do with this decision. I would hazard a guess that Jones simply doesn't like Cipriani as a person and doesn't like him as a player. Too much of a maverick. I would also hazard a guess that Cipriani's attitude makes him unpopular amongst his peers, especially those with the ear of Jones. Alex Lozowski is included despite being handed a two week ban following incidents in the game versus Glasgow.
Another absentee from the sqaud is Nathan Hughes. The disciplinary panel deemed that the original offence of punching Gloucester's Lewis Ludlow in the head had to start at six weeks. Quite rightly and based on all the factors any panel takes into consideration he was given a two week reduction. That all changed when the big Fijian decided to take to social media and criticise the work of said panel by calling it "a joke". The panel took offence to this and decided the reduction in sentence was no longer justified so he is now banned for six weeks.
The disciplinary process works and players, especially those at the pinnacle of the game earning substantial salaries must accept and respect the work that they do. It has never been acceptable to punch someone in the head so why did the big Fijian (yes I am labouring that point) think it was such a joke to find himself on the naughty step.
All Black great now plying his trade in France with Toulouse Jerome Keino is another who will spend time on the sidelines. He has been banned for five weeks after striking Jamie Roberts in the head with his shoulder. Haven't seen the incident but as it was a citing there must have been conclusive evidence to warrant the ban.
I read that some top flight players such as James Haskell, Danny Care, Cipriani and Joe Marler are charging up to £80 to appear in "personal shoutout" videos. I think I might jump onto that bandwagon. I will actually give a 100% discout to give a shout out to a certain T. Maybe...... "hey Theresababes. This is Bleater. Go tell that Msr Barnier to shove his French tete up his derriere. If you can't then stand aside and let me do it."
In the women's game Katy Daley-Mclean is in line to win her 100th cap in their autumn series. Wow! What a fantastic achievement. Well done Ma'am.
Lewis Hamilton could seal the F1 championship this weekend in Austin, Texas. The Americans are not fans of F1. Why? It is SOooooo boring that is why? Hamilton's grandfather lives in Grenada and it was a pleasure to drive past his house last week and see him on his veranda. (Yeah, it took me a while to work that into the blog but I got there).
The papers lead with the EU fiasco. Theresa Maybe has finally realised what was always going to be the case that no matter how painful it will be for Europe they were never going to give us a deal. It is not in their interest to do so. We have dug ourselves into a massive hole by allowing the referendum to be binding but also being so eager to trigger Article 50. I could bleat on about this for hours but you already know my view.
I see one of my former employers Kimberly-Clark is being forced to remove the name "mansize" from their tissue because of gender stereotyping. The world is going mad. We are becoming a world of lily-livered, soft centred, mediocre morons. There are much more important things to worry about than this that is unless you want to live in a truly grey world. If "mansize" on a box of tissues is unacceptable why is it acceptable to have our newspapers and other media plastered in female celebrities (so called) parading around half naked in skirts the size of belts and see-through blouses that hide absolutely nothing. I'm just glad they still have cheerleaders at the American Football.
Wednesday Oct 17th: 09:00
As the song goes "and another one bites the dust". Chris Robshaw is the latest injury blow to Eddie Jones plans. King Eddie is possibly in a better place as a result but to many that might be a moot point. Over recent seasons and certainly during the last 6 Nations and the tour to South Africa England's back row were ponderous, lacking dynamism and quite simply out-thought and out-muscled. With Zach Mercer and Matt Kvesic he might have two players who would add a dynamism around the park and be much more lively at the breakdown. England would lose some beef up front but in my opinion the gain outweighs the loss.
If fit another option would be Maro Itoje. He is not a stranger to the backrow and has played at No.8 with some degree of skill during his Under 21 days. Time will tell as they say.
Warren Gatland has announced his squad. A couple of uncapped players with Tigers Jonah Holmes being the surprise, Ospreys Luke Morgan being the other. Holmes qualifies through a grandmother and can be included although he doesn't play in Wales because he is as yet uncapped. Once capped he must play in Wales after his current Leicester contract ends. A bit strange when Rhys Webb can't be included but them is the rules.
Gatland had the opposite dilemma to Jones based on which backrow forward to leave out. Aaron Shingler, James Davies, Josh Navidi, Taulupe Faletau (all injured), Thomas Youngs and Ollie Griffiths all miss out for various reasons.
Of the backs Scott Williams and Halom Amos are absent due to injury and Sam Davies misses out like Youngs and Griffiths because there is an abundance of riches ahead of him.
With a busy and physically intense European weekend ahead all could change. Leicester v Scarlets looks good on Friday. Wasps v Bath and Munster v Gloucester catch the eye for Saturday and then on Sunday the all Pro14 clash of Cardiff Blues v Glasgow looks interesting. With BT Sport pulling out all the stops to show live as many games as possible the choice will be wide. I'll be at Bromley on Saturday.
For those wanting a further choice our 2s will host their counterparts from Crawley and the Crows hopefully will be travelling to Eastbourne.
The English Premiership continues to be courted by investors after CVCs bid for a majority stake was rejected. There are claims that minority investors are being lined up but in my very humble opinion I see this as madness. If you are investing in a business losing money with no signs of a turnaround in financial fortunes why would you. You would want to be in control. You would want guarantees of decent returns on your investment. With all bar one club losing money that couldn't be forthcoming right now.
In other sport Wales beat The Republic of Ireland last night. Well done Ryan Giggs men.
Mixed bag of front pages today' Lots about last nights travel chaos at Victoria. Some of the electronic media highlight the chaos at Paddington this morning. Brexit is always there as Maybe heads to Brussels for a fruitless meeting with the EU heads. We are screwed. Trump has his head in the sand over the murder of Khashoggi in Turkey. What is that man on?
Just said "yes" to a coffee so back tomorrow.
Tuesday Oct 16th: 10:30
The headline news in the UK is the injury to Big Billy Vunipola. Yet another arm break will keep him out of the Autumn internationals and some of Saracens crucial European and domestic games. Vunipola B has been plagued by injury and you do have to ask yourself if he should consider his long term health and follow Sam Warburton into retirement. It adds to King Eddie's selection headache with Joe Marler hanging up his England boots, Mako Vunipola and Maro Itoje being assessed this week and the idiot Nathan Hughes likely to be given a ban that will keep him out of action for at least some of November. The one positive is Ben Morgan proved he has upped his game and now showing the form that earned him his England caps some seasons ago.
Time will tell who gets the nod but rest assured none of England's opponents will be here for a holiday, in fact I fear like sharks they are smelling blood from afar and now anticipating the kill. New Zealand have named a very strong touring squad and they will be out to prove to the world that they are by far and away the best team on the planet.
Across the Severn Bridge or the Prince of Wales Bridge as it is now known Warren Gatland has a slightly easier job. He will name a largely proven sqaud for his autumn internationals later today. Some names will be missing through injury such as Toby Faletau and others through non availability e.g. Rhys Webb but it should look a well balanced group of players. Wales will want to justify their world ranking but I fear that is just a flash in the pan.
Returning to Nathan Hughes, a player who is only in England for the money and earned his England selection on residency has shown a total lack of respect for the disciplinary process by "tweeting" during his recent hearing. Hughes punched a player on the ground and was caught. He needs to face the consequences and let the process take its course. The disciplinary process might not be perfect but it is certainly very much more right than it is wrong and players sign up to abide by it when they play the game, especially when they play for big money. We should know his fate very soon.
Rhys Webb left Wales for the money and should accept that that blows his chances of playing for Wales anytime soon. On the one hand he is such a brilliant player you might want to find a loophole to include him. On the other hand his new side Toulon are not playing well and a return to Wales could be on the cards sooner rather than later. I am glad Toulon are suffering. Money obviously can't always buy you love or success.
Another weekend of European games ahead. We return to action away at Bromley. This is always a tough place for us to go and I expect a really tough game. I will update you on our 2s and 3s games in due course.
Followers of this rubbish will know I am a fan of WalesOnline and keep in touch with all things Welsh. The rugby that is. Anyway there are two fascinating pieces about the appalling state of the grassroots game in the Principality. They are well worth reading as the English grassroots game is not much different once you scratch away at the surface.
In other sport I bet many didn't have England down to beat Spain in Spain and beat them despite the final scoreline with relative ease.
It is crunch time for Brexit. I see it all collapsing around our ears. Looking at it from both sides the EU cannot give us a good deal as others will want to follow. From our point of view we want and need a good deal but cannot compromise to a point where we affectively have not left and those on the gravy train remain and we have to agree to every whim of the EU.
I see the pompous Lily Allen is on her soap box again. Another overpaid, overhyped so called star who swills champagne and lives the life of riley bemoaning the royals and the government. She has had tragedy in her life and I feel for her but she cannot live by double standards which she clearly is. She has used her fame and some of her past troubles to ramp up interest in her new book which should earn her millions. For her then to go on to say the news of the latest royal baby was released to hide the Brexit issues is a) hypocritical and b) wrong.
I then read another overpaid and overhyped star whose name I really can't be bothered to dig out has stopped her daughter watching Cinderella and The Little Mermaid because of gender stereotyping. What utter nonsense. Let me jump on the bandwagon so I can get my name in the papers again. Go on then, let her watch Call of Duty and the other violent rubbish instead so she grows into a well honed thug like those we are now seeing roaming the streets across the globe.
Back tomorrow with the latest on how girls and boys differ and how I am absolutely delighted that my gandsons play with Scaletrix and my granddaughters wear pink. Yeah that should see me bombarded with nonsense about sexism etc, etc, etc. Afterall with the RMT going on strike again I have nothing else to write about.
Monday Oct 15th: 12:00
Anger management therapy went very well thank you. Ten days in Grenada lying on a sun kissed beach next to an azure blue sea with plenty of fine food and copious amounts of alcohol on offer. Marvellous. To top that literally to the minute we were taking off from Gatwick our new granddaughter arrived. She's gorgeous by the way.
Back to reality now. Taxpayers having to fund the protection of a minor, minor royals wedding. Brexit no further advanced. Crime in Britain still soaring. Scumbags still cheating the benefit system. The shops already pushing Christmas and now another royal baby on the way. Every day another bloody update on that I bet.
Quick get me that travel agents number NOW!
Based on The Bards report and his feedback it sounds as if Past Players Lunch and our win over Hastings & Bexhill were both very good. Still top of the table but plenty of very tough games ahead. A rest weekend for us last weekend as we are not included in the cup games. You could argue that is wrong. MY view is it is right to miss the cup and allow players to rest. When your squads are thin every fit man counts so why put players at risk of injury in the cups.
Not going to rehash the results of the weekend I was away. Too much water under that bridge. Worthing enjoyed a fine win over London Irish Wild Geese on Saturday as TJs were losing by a single point to Barnes. TJs still sit above Worthing in the table despite this reversal.
We only got back yesterday morning so managed to enjoy Gloucester v Castre and Glasgow v Saracens, if enjoy is the right word. Both were tense, hard fought affairs lacking in real flair. Cipriani showed some glimpses of brilliance but otherwise it was brute force. Saracens defence showed their metal and despite being under constant pressure in the second half of their game kept Glasgow at bay. I did think throughout that game Sarries had the rub of the green by way of refereeing decisions. Going straight over the top of rucks to seal of the ball illegally happened frequently. Players often in front of Farrell when he put his kicks high into the air. Some of the tackling somewhat suspect in terms of height and use of arms.
I clearly should have watched Cardiff beating Lyons and Newcastle beating Toulon in what sound fantastic games. Leinster destroying Wasps and Sale coming home from Perpignan with a win stand out. Of course Freddie Burns is the muppet of the round. What a plonker!
My eyes watered when I read about Jona Nareki playing on despite a smashed testicle in his sides win over Waikato. OUCH!!!
The WRU plan to reduce the number of directors on the board has been approved. Good. Whilst this might not be of any interest to you it might just be worth looking at the photo on bbc.co.uk/sport and ask yourself "is this why rugby in Wales is losing popularity with the youngsters". A room of old white men who probably played when a try was worth four points and all your boots were black. Rugby has to change or like these old farts it is going to fade and die. By the way I am pretty sure if you took a photo of any county or RFU meeting you'd see the same type of profile.
That'll do for now as I've got to sort through the holiday snaps.
Tuesday Oct 2nd: 09:30
Some interesting pieces of news in the papers. Headlining most is the takeover of Worcester Warriors by a consortium led by Jed McCrory. He was instrumental in turning Swindon Town's fortunes around but left after a falling out with others at the club. What is of interest and it is not for me to speculate is that the main backer is Errol Pope who is into property and commodity trading. Should this worry the Sixways faithful or will they be blinded by the new cash. You decide. Either way the Warriors now need to focus on maintaining their Premiership status.
Sad to read that Italy prop Sami Panico has been arrested on alleged drug possession. Based on the amount of cash and drugs seized you could assume this isn't a case of "personal use", especially as he is under house arrest.
Watched the Premiership highlights yesterday. Good to see Exeter win again but how boring is their style of play. It is like watching a steam roller rally except with humans acting as the bludgeoning force.
Exeter have announced they are to spend close to £1.6m on keeping Henry Slade and Jack Nowell at Sandy Park. I can understand why but I fear Exeter will slide into the abyss of debt and join the other eleven clubs already there. I hope that they get them some ball at that price.
Bath have been slammed for playing an almost second string side against Saracens. Such is the dominance of the Barnet crew that clubs are willing to throw that one and rest key players ahead of more winnable matches to come. The Ospreys did something similar two weeks ago.
Somewhat concerning to see the face of Dragon's Adam Warren after he burnt it sliding along the Scotstoun AGP. In the pitches defence his face was under the added pressure of the defender trying to prevent the try and who is to say he wouldn't have suffered a similar injury on the baked grounds that we have now.
Sky are set to steal coverage of Wales autumn games from under the nose of the BBC. Another blow to the nations broadcaster. "Nations" as in we fund it.
If you haven't seen the stamp by Connacht prop Dominic Robertson-McCoy on Leinster's Josh van der Flier you need to. It is horrendous and has no place anywhere in society let alone on a rugby field. The powers that be need to get their reddest of red pens out for this one. The ban needs to be long.
Sadly I won't be there but there are still seats available at the past players lunch. Get hold of Graysey.
Elsewhere what a tragedy that the Ryder Cup is going to be mired in a legal case as a woman spectator loses sight in one eye after being hit by a wayward Brooks Koepka tee shot. It is a terrible state of affairs for her but I am struggling with the concept of her being able to sue. You are attending a sport where golf balls are flying around at speed. Occasionally they go off the straight and narrow. You know that when you attend. What can be done to have prevented such an accident? Nothing, other than having no spectators. I am sure the Ryder Cup committee and others will help Ms Corrine Remande with her medical expenses but if it goes through the courts and she wins a substantial sum then we might as well close sport down for those who want to watch live.
I read that post Brexit new immigration rules will be applied reducing the number of low skilled workers entering the UK. What nonsense. Who is going to pick the fruit, empty the bins, drive the buses, serve you your coffee and so on, and so on. The Government said priority will be given to UK workers. Explain to me how that will work when Romanians, and Poles and Czechs, and Bulgarians travel across the continent to find work here and do so successfully whilst we have got thousands of unemployed Brits who won't move half a mile from home to find a job. Why? Because it is very cushy being in our overly generous benefits system.
Finally, before I go, I nearly blew a gasket when I read about a woman who complained that John Lewis were selling children's cameras with boys doing action man stuff on the blue packaging and girls taking selfies on the pink packaging. I'll tell you what lets package everything in really drab grey packaging with images pandering to all types of society no matter how small a proportion they are in the UK. By the way have you looked through the news pages and noticed that if a photo of a girl or woman is required for a news story it is no longer the stock passport photo or school photo or old fashioned holiday shot. Yes you guessed it will be a selfie in a Kim Kardashian style pout. Dear Mrs Woman, get a life. The country is going to the dogs and when Momentum get into power cameras will be banned, as will freedom of speech. Yours, Bleater.
Right, that's that. Bleater is off for a lie down for a few days. Anger management therapy beckons. Back on Oct 15th.
Monday Oct 1st: 09:30
Where does the time go. October already. Time is of the essence today so let's get straight to it.
Our game against Vigo was a game that lacked finesse but we played really well against a very good team. We are now top of the table but lets not get carried away. It is just four games into the season. The surprise result might be Bromley losing at home to Old Williamsonians by 23-29. Bromley had looked very good at the top until this weekend but as we know Old Willies are a good side with some classy players at their disposal. Hellingly are finding it tough with another loss, this time at home to Park House. They now book end the table with just two points to their name. Pulborough got back to winning ways enjoying a narrow 29-24 win at Beccehamians. Our next opponents Hastings & Bexhill came out on top in the all Sussex match up with Lewes. A high scoring 38-22 win. In the other game Old Dunstonians beat Folkestone in another high scoring game 48-37. ODs are just one point behind us in second. Obviously the boys are delighted to be top but yet again the results highlight how unpredictable this league is.
I am leaving to Sussex 1 to last today for reasons that will become clear.
Above us in London 2 South East our good friends over at Heathfield & Waldron came second again sadly. This time at home to Maidstone 18-23. Dover are leading the way in this league. Their unbeaten run continues after beating Gravesend. Horsham enjoyed their long journey home from Thanet Wanderers with a win in their kit bag. Haywards Heath also enjoyed the trip home, this time from Aylesford Bulls. The two Sussex sides sit nicely in the top half whilst their opponents are bottom and bottom but one. The closest game of the day was our friends Charlton Park drawing with Beckenham. In the only other game Deal & Betteshanger travelled home from Old Colfeians with a win. The Greenies are in tenth spot by the way.
Onwards and upwards. Brighton really are on a charge. They put Dartfordians to the sword and remain perfect for the season. Maximum points from their five games. The same can't be said for Hove who remain pointless after their defeat at Westcombe Park. Chichester had a fine yet narrow win over Havant. Sevenoaks beat Cobham and Medway keep their unbeaten run going with a win over London Cornish by a lot to not many.
Up in the Premier Inn Tunbridge Wells couldn't quite match Guildford losing 24-22. There is a change at the top as Wimbledon lose to CS Stags 1863 (why they can't be called the Civil Service I don't know) whilst Westcliff humiliated Shelford 97-7. The latter being the current whipping boys across the leagues..
In National 2 South it was a good day for both TJs and Worthing beating Old Albanians and Birmingham & Solihull respectively. The Rams (whoever they are) stay top with a win at Bury St Edmunds. Must be lots of ewes for those rams in that part of the world. Those angry London Irish Geese remain pointless at the bottom of the table
Both Bridgnorth and Salsibury also enjoyed wins. The former against Burton, the latter away at Stratford Upon Avon. Won't make any childish Shakespearian comments.... yet.
So to Sussex 1. Burgess Hill remain unbeaten after their trip to East Grinstead. Likewise Uckfield are four from four after hosting Crawley. Plumpton beat Seaford and Eastbourne had a HWO over Ditchling. This is very disappointing after Ditchling's stoic performances last season and a great run at the back end of the season.
The HWO highlights a greater problem in the game generally but definitely in Sussex. Our Crows have had two cancelled games against them already this season. I know our friends The Greenies pulled their 2s against Horsham because of a lack of players capable of playing that standard. They sent their 3s over to us to play our 2s and left with a bit of a hiding. No complaints from them by the way and unlike last season when we were the villains crying off games our 2s have started well this season. The problem is not an easy one to fix. You have very dedicated people in the background managing leagues but the league structure at anything below 1st XV can be a lottery with mis-matches and widely varying player availability from week to week. Clubs and county officials and people in the centre continue to scratch their head on this subject. It is very much a societal problem where young people have many more demands on them and their commitment to anything now is a very short one. Rugby is no longer that appealing, especially when you are likely to lose and lose heavily. All we can do is continue to try and keep as many players in the game as possible.
Leicester beat Sale yesterday. Not the most inspiring game of the season.
Hamilton won the F1 in Russia. What a complete joke. It was like a procession from start to finish from what I have read with Bottas being told he can't race his teammate so he had to give up a winning position. Pathetic
What wasn't pathetic was the Ryder Cup. Gripping stuff. Well done Europe........ soon to be without the British????? The Americans simply aren't team players. Great in a 1-2-1 contest but when you have to consider a teammate then they are screwed.
Must go. I've a match report still to write.
Sunday Sept 30th: 09:00
A couple of apologies to start. As I had to rush away from Vigo pretty sharpish I didn't get a chance to give their scribe the details of all our scorers. Secondly I still haven't had an update on how our 2s performed against Heathfield & Waldron III. Sorry!
Anyway to yesterday's 1st XV game. Not one to be kept for posterity but one to be remembered as it put us top of the table. It was a forward dominated battle with brutal collisions interspersed with the backs being invited to the party now and again. It lacked finesse. Vigo started much the stronger and you can see them out-muscling many a side this season. I can also imagine that once they get in front they could be a real handful. I think it is fair to say we contained their forwards in the opening stanza with some excellent defensive work. When the ball did go wide we tackled well and starved their lively wingers of ball. As the game developed it was us who were able to make the greater headway gradually wearing down Vigo's resistance.
Our pick and drive from the ruck and our ability to secure ball from the scrum allowed us to keep Vigo on the back foot and when we broke free we made good ground. Matt Botterman, Josh Grewcock and Alex Purnell led the charge. At times we could have off-loaded sooner and the support could have been closer. We also could have been more expansive and freed up the backs more frequently. That said the tactics worked and the scoreboard kept ticking over in our favour.
12-0 at half time was somewhat flattering as Vigo too had their moments of pressure with their forwards and backs linking well. They made good yards at times but sadly for them I felt too often they made the wrong decisions. Not passing when a man was better placed and driving into heavy traffic when staying loose was the better option. We hindered their progress with our relentless tackling led again by Callum Main. We also managed to turn-over a lot of ball at crucial moments especially in the first half when the game was more in the balance.
We gained a greater control in the second half when our scrum became dominant and we started to eliminate the mistakes and wayward kicking of the first half. Even though it still wasn't all one way traffic and Vigo showed some glimpses of skill and speed. We kept the scoreboard ticking with our forwards powering over to put daylight between the two teams. The hosts scored a couple of late tries which more reflected the balance of play.
I would have taken a 3-0 win against this very good side but a bonus point win and now topping the table was a plus. It was a very, very physical game but played in a good spirit. The man in the middle did well. Both sides could argue some of his decisions but he was consistent, up with play, clear in his communication and calm under pressure. What more could you ask for.
Full match report on the website tomorrow. A bit like Joe Marler family is coming first today.
Congratulations to the All Blacks. Another win, another trophy. Well done South Africa. A good win but I thought Australia were poor. They lacked any cutting edge and were unimaginative in their play.
What more needs to be said about Saracens. Exeter remain on their heels. Munster and Scarlets were the stand out winners in the Pro14.
Full league round up tomorrow.
Got to go. Now Theresa's and Boris's mobile numbers are in the public domain I'm off to call them to tell them to stop acting like petulant children and sort their lives out. The greater good is more important than their own personal ambition.
Saturday Sept 29th: 09:30
It doesn't seem right to be wittering on about Sport when close to 400 souls have lost their lives in the Indonesian earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Life does go on and sport is a positive in life for many.
I can confirm today's games are on. I believe there will be a good turnout at Steel Cross as the 2s hope to maintain their excellent recent form. I'll be off to Vigo to watch the 1st team. I expect a close game.
The mini festival happens at Steel Cross on Sunday. I suggest if you are not involved then you avoid the club as it will be very busy. The members have done a great job in preparing the grounds and the place will look a picture tomorrow.
Watched some of RGC1404 v Merthyr before switching over to Newcastle v Wasps last night. The former was pretty good fare. Lots of open rugby and a reasonable standard of play. The game at Kingston Park was enjoyable if at times more akin to mass sumo wrestling than rugby. Why the English game is so obsessed with one-out crash, bang wallop rugby I don't know. Being camped on the opposition line doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is madness personified. When the ball was moved around it was entertaining stuff. Would have liked to have seen a Falcons win but it wasn't to be.
I found it interesting that both the Falcons and the Wasps didn't start with their England contingency. There was a unanimous decision they were too exhausted to play the full 80 minutes. Yet another indication King Eddie of Twickenham is "beasting" his players when he has them under his wing. The risk of injury becomes higher and the concern of the clubs becomes even more fractious.
The All Blacks have rung the changes again ahead of the Pumas clash. Steve Hansen has come in for some stick for that. Time will tell. Kick off just before midnight tonight.
Boris Johnson hasn't ruled himself out of a challenge for the top job. Heaven help us. Gone will be the ministerial car. In comes the zip wire between No.10 and the House of Commons. For longer journeys there will be the clowns unicycle propelled by hot air and bullshit. The Channel Tunnel will be bricked up and a wall built around the country.
Its becoming a stark choice! A Stalinist utopia or a Nationalist driven third world state. Both a waste land as the country goes down the toilet with the economy leading the way into the drain.
As we support our teams today spare a thought for those in Indonesia who are suffering.
Thursday Sept 27th: 15:30
I'm not late for today but early for tomorrow. FYI I've, with others, been getting pitches ready for Sunday's mini festival.
Looking ahead the 2s are at home and the weather is set fair. If Vigo is a trip too far then this will be worth watching. The boys are vying for 1st XV spots so it should be a good game. With regard to the contest against Vigo it is essential we build on last weeks showing but one thing is certain Vigo will be a tough test. You don't stroll past Old Willies by being a poor a side. I'll be there.
The big story is Joe Marler's announcement that he is retiring from international rugby. He wants to spend more time with his young family and that makes a lot of sense. On the other hand would another year make a big difference and then say adieu post RWC 2019. This news will be a blow to Eddie Jones but it opens the door to others which might prove not to be a bad thing.
Dylan is also in the news stating that he'd be happy to clean boots and sweep changing rooms to be involved with the England set up. He has also recognised based on his own experience that protecting players does need to be at the forefront of the game. He quite right advises that there is no quick answer to the problem. Lowering the tackle height still puts players heads at risk as more often that not there are two men in the tackle.
One of the answers to player wear-out at the top level is to realign the international season into one window from two. The notion of having it in July is now being surpassed by a November twelve team contest, one year in the north, one in the southern hemisphere. Based on how World Rugby has failed to move many of its other ideas forward I don't hold out much hope for this one.
Several Welsh players who ply their trade in the English league are faced with the very tough decision to return to Wales or miss out on selection for RWC 2019. Josh Adams, Thomas Francis, Rhys Priestland to name but three. One to watch.
Steve Hansen has caused a stir in what seems like a racist slur aimed at South African rugby. He could have chosen his words more carefully but in essence all he is doing is echoing what many others think. South African rugby will never reach the heights if it is hamstrung by quotas. It is very clear black players are coming through the system and without doubt are worthy of their place in the international squad. There are others who are included to make up the quota. The country needs to recognise that the riches in the game and the opportunity rugby offers will appeal to all regardless of colour. As long as the opportunity is equitable why not let the cream rise naturally to the top. Surely it will be more appealing to be part of a truly successful team than being part of a mediocre one with players not there on merit. There is no place in this world for apartheid or racism but I am not sure this is the right way forward.
Big week for F1. Can Lewis Hamilton cement his place at the top and pretty much tie up a fifth title.
I did smile yesterday when I reread the article on Labours plans to renationalise the railways. This on a day when the RMT were on strike AGAIN!!! and there were signalling failures on the line between Liverpool and London. Why smile at that. Simple. The signals are controlled by Network Rail. The only bit of the system controlled by the Government.
Come on Jezza. Please denounce Russia for their part in the Salisbury poisoning. Even the most sceptical or the most fervent supporter of Putin must agree the game is now up.
The Daily Star has got its priority right claiming victory in the battle with Heinz to keep Salad Cream called Salad Cream...... and the police and crime and the NHS???
Must go, time for a sandwich, honey cured ham, vine ripened tomatoes and mayonnaise. None of that provincial Salad Cream nonsense for heavens sake.............Actually I like Salad Cream especially with boiled eggs.
Wednesday Sept 26th: 09:00
As many of you know I am not a fan of leagues at junior (under 16 down) level, and thankfully below a certain age they have been scrapped in favour of a structured season where teams are moved around in order to find the right balance of competition (waterfall). This has been adopted in the adult game in Sussex too and is proving to be successful. Yes there will be winners and losers, life is like that and so it should be, and games need to be competitive but please, please let us keep fun, and enjoyment at the heart of the game especially for the kids and equally for those adults who are playing for positive social reasons. I know at Crowborough we work hard at getting that balance right, not always, but most of the time.
That preamble was to lead you into the weekends junior results. Our Under 12s travelled home from Hastings & Bexhill with a win their pocket. Our Under 13s lost at Crawley whilst the Under 16s were winning at the same venue. The scores are irrelevant. What is important is that 90 plus kids had a game of rugby and hopefully all of them went home knackered but very happy win or lose.
When you get to the Colts that level should be more competitive as these are the kids who hopefully will graduate into senior rugby very soon and perpetuate our great game. On Sunday our boys beat Haywards Heath 66-12. An impressive result against a side who have an excellent track record of bringing kids through into the adult game.
By the way, on Sunday Crowborough host the first of the counties mini festivals. Thankfully there will be no runners heading to scorers tables, no on-going league tallies, no man of the match awards just 600 plus kids playing the game for fun. Yes there will be winners and losers but it is the fun that counts. Based on what I've seen thus far it will be spectacularly well organised too. Good luck to all
Jumping from one extreme to another the All Blacks travel to Argentina on Saturday for the latest round of the Rugby Championship. Whilst the Pumas have had two fantastic results on the trot I cannot see how they will hold back the black tide this time around. The All Blacks were stunned two weeks ago by the Boks and as they say be very wary of the wounded animal. That defeat would have hurt and they will be smarting. It is a late one so don't imbibe too much and fall asleep before this one kicks off. That is a message to myself actually.
South Africa host Australia late afternoon. One to record. The Boks are notoriously difficult to beat at home and will be buoyed by their win in Wellington. It will be important for that not to be a flash in the pan. The Aussies are in a perilous position. Another defeat might see those vultures circling over Cheika swoop down for the kill. Much of what I read about the game down under in Oz is negative. Declining player numbers, greatly reduced crowds across the board, falling TV audiences, grassroots in chaos. A win is vital as is a positive run into the world cup. I still go Boks.
Plenty of action closer to home. The 1s travel to Vigo and the 2s host The Greenies III. More on this tomorrow. The Crows are resting darling.
I read with interest that despite concerns for players safety England are knocking lumps out of each other in Bristol. This reinforces the view that King Eddie is a "work harder" man and has no concept of "work smarter".
A couple of comments on the news. Lots of ideas coming out of the Labour Conference. Do you know what, there are some which sound positive but my number one question is show me the money. How are these ideas to be funded because that is awfully vague at the moment. The world is mired in debt and if not controlled it will soon bring us all down. You cannot spend what you haven't got.
So Momentum backed MP Laura Smith calls for a general strike if there is no election called soon. Now that is democracy for you. I have spent time in Russia, worked there, got to know the people, taken an interest in the history so I can tell you if Momentum think a Soviet style economy and way of life is a good idea then we really are all doomed. If they admire the current Russian regime then they have their heads up their backsides. Right now in Russia the rich are getting richer and make our fat cats look like paupers and their poor are getting poorer and more oppressed than ever. You want that then go for it.
That said what is the alternative. Right now the Monster Raving Looney Party looks to be getting my vote. Where is that visa application form again.
Thank goodness for the Ryder Cup. At least for three days we'll have our minds taken off Brexit and politics in general. That said the French don't give a damn about the Ryder Cup. Zut alors, zere iz no Frenchman in ze team. Ca c'est ne pas possible. Nous sommes ............. crap at golf my friends.
Tuesday Sept 25th: 08:30
Leicester v Worcester. What a game! Unstoppable Worcester in the first half. Resilient Leicester in the second. At last a game played with a mix of fast open running rugby with great off loads intermingled with technically very good set pieces and a touch of the absurd. Extended highlights are available on BT Sport website.
By the way George Ford stepped up to the plate in that second half and showed why he is in the England squad.
England's new defensive coach is on the defensive. Stuart Barnes in The Times, as have other scribes has asked the pertinent question "what does Mitchell bring to the party?" In Barnes' mind not a lot and I can see where he is coming from. Mitchell is not a classic defence coach in the mould of Andy Farrell or Shaun Edwards. Coaches brought up on rugby league defensive alignments and techniques. In fact his defensive CV is pretty sparse and if Barnes is to be believed his record at the Blue Bulls is average at best. He has been a bit of a journeyman too with a range of coaching assignments on his resume. The big question is how can he deliver when he is refusing to move and will be commuting back and forth from South Africa. As pointed out in the article this seems at odds with Jones expectation of coaches getting around the clubs to watch games and being available on a regular basis for reviews and assessments. Watching on TV is not the same as seeing the bigger picture live. It is also odd that England refuse to pick players plying their trade overseas yet Mitchell can get away with it. This is not a cheap fix. Mitchell comes with a high price tag and add to that his travel costs then I hope Jones and the RFU are ready for the aftershock if they have got this wrong. No wonder Mitchell is defending himself.
As an aside are there no decent defence coaches who are English or are at least at an English club. It is sad that Jones yet again has gone abroad to fill a coaching vacancy. I suppose it fits with the number of overseas players in the Premiership.
In the same paper on Sunday Stephen Jones challenged Eddie Jones' selection and the omission of Cipriani, a theme picked up by others. It wasn't just the Cipriani furore but the omission of players like Alex Goode, Richard Wigglesworth, Dave Attwood and Henry Trinder to name but a few that has raised eyebrows. Players in fine form for their clubs but nowhere to be seen in Bristol on this the latest of bruising training camps. Instead it is a camp full of "yes" men who admittedly are willing to work extremely hard for the cause but players who lack imagination and flair. Work harder seems to be Jones approach where others have clearly looked at working smarter not harder. Argentina have the physically smallest back line in top flight rugby and look at what they did to Australia. They didn't work harder but smarter using guile and flair and unpredictability to beat their leviathan opponents. England are in the toughest of groups for RWC 2019. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of madness. Jones take note.
Warren Gatland was in much the same position with Wales. "Warrenball" they called it. He has had to adapt and it has paid dividends thus far.
Talking of Wales Gatland is eager to change the policy so Rhys Webb is eligible to play in Japan. The World Cup is important and being stymied by principles seems wrong. The pragmatic approach is to find a way to include him. Why would you want one of the best scrum halves in the world not playing on the biggest stage.
I see Geordan Murphy has backtracked on his initial comments about Spicers red card. Good!.
Put the colour of your politics to one side I found it fascinating to listen to the comments coming out of Liverpool about Brexit. Over recent weeks Theresa Maybe and her side of the political divide have been pilloried for their inability to get a unified approach to Brexit. Well wasn't it fascinating to hear three members of Labour's elite being interviewed about their party's stance on Brexit. Surprise, surprise three spokesmen and three different versions of policy. This only goes to prove what a divisive issue it is and the only consistency is coming from the EU and that consistency is "Non!", "Non!", "Non!".
What a plonker and an increasingly odious one at that is Msr Macron. So whilst his country is in a mess with his social reforms even further away from reality than our Brexit proposals. Unemployment at crazy levels and social unrest over immigration at boiling point he has stated he will not attend a crucial EU summit as he objects to our position on Brexit. Objection is right. Running away from the fight is not. France will lose as much as Britain in this debacle. He needs to wake up and smell le petit café because the crap he is dealing with now will be nothing to what he will face when he tells those farmers of his their subsidies are being cut because we are on our toes.
Adieu. A tout a l'heure mes amis.
Monday Sept 24th: 09:15
Some great photos of our 2s victory over Hellingly on this website. Well done again to them.
When I read both the drivel from yesterday and the match report I asked myself "was I being a little one-eyed". I believe the answer is "no!" Pulborough are clearly a very good side but on the day we were much the better side and had the rub of the green. We now sit 2nd in the league.
Another strange mix of results which confirms our league is wide open. Bromley top the table after their third straight win, the latest away at Folkestone 21-6. Hellingly on the other hand are at the bottom after a heavy defeat away at Beccehamian. 57-7 the score there. Old Willies continue to blow hot and cold. After being thumped by Vigo last week they return to form this with a 25-0 win at home to Hastings & Bexhill. Park House slipped up against Old Dunstonians losing at home 8-15. My good friend David Oliver from Vigo suggested his side might not be promotion contenders as I suggested last week. Well if they are it won't be easy as they lose away at Lewes 13-7. Based on the results thus far don't put all your money on Bromley for promotion and don't write Hellingly off just yet. This league is simply unpredictable..... which is great.
In Sussex 1 both Burgess Hill and Uckfield remain three wins from three games. The former strolled past Ditchling by a lot to nil whereas Uckfield came home from Seaford having won 11-10. Plumpton beat East Grinstead at East Grinstead. Wow!. Crawley beat Eastbourne.
Up into London 2 South East now where Beckenham and Dover lead the way. The former strolling past Thanet Wanderers and the latter having to work slightly harder against their visitors Aylesford Bulls. Horsham left Gravesend with a creditable but narrow loss 15-13. Haywards Heath snuck past Deal & Betteshanger by a single point and are the best placed Sussex side in 5th. Our friends over at Charlton Park left Maidstone with an easy enough win 43-13 but sadly for our other good friends over at Heathfield & Waldron it was a very tough day at the office for them. Old Colfeians 52 The Greenies 8. Early days yet so no panic from anyone.
In London 1 South Brighton's fine form continues as they top the table after their win away at Cobham. Neither Chichester nor Hove were as lucky as they both lost at home to Camberley and Sevenoaks respectively. Medway are the other unbeaten team in this league after coming away from Thurrock with a 20-10 win. Hove are rock bottom I'm sad to say.
In the Premier League Tunbridge Wells hosted Westcliff who left St Marks with a narrow 19-13 win to keep them unbeaten just behind Wimbledon who top the table. Poor old Shelford were Wimbledon's whipping boys this time around. They look forlorn and already adrift at the bottom of the table.
In the rarefied atmosphere of the national leagues TJs came home from Henley with a win to keep them ahead of Worthing who lost at Clifton. Always a very tough place to go. I remember travelling home from there very battered and bruised many, many, many years ago. Taunton lead the way in this league.
So to Bridgnorth and Salisbury. "Who cares?" I hear you cry. I do, and as I write this nonsense you are going to find out how they did. Bridgnorth beat Broadstreet at their place. Salisbury enjoyed a home win against Witney.
As I went through the leagues there were lots of high scoring close games, not too many one-sided encounters and with a few exceptions no one is out of their depth...... yet.
The Sarries were awesome yesterday. They played brilliantly across the board both in defence and attack. The resurgent cherry & whites were brought back to earth with a bump. I did think the men in back got the rub of the green and I still wonder if Itoje was offside when he followed up Farrell's kick. Cipriani was anonymous, Farrell wasn't. You have to ask however how would each have performed if they were swapped around.
What an amazing game that must have been at Welford Road. Worcester beating the Tigers. Wow!. I'll be searching out the highlights of that one asap.
Fascinating pieces in The Times by two ex Bassaleg boys, Stuart Barnes and Stephen Jones. Neither of which was very complimentary about the English set up and the appointment of John Mitchell. More on this tomorrow.
Tuilagi and Youngs out of England's training camp. I bet they still play next weekend.
Momentum Labour Party conference this week. Haven't heard from Paddy O'Fez for a while. I wonder if he is in Liverpool being indoctrinated and waving his "Oohhhh Jeremy Corbyn" banner. More on this later in the week.
Sunday Sept 23rd: 09:00
Those who made the decision to avoid the long journey to Pulborough and a soaking under the leaden skies were treated to a great game and a fantastic result for our 2s as they beat Hellingly 2s by 38-7. Me, I sacrificed the 5 minute drive and the comfort of the clubhouse balcony for Pulborough, and boy am I glad I did.
It was the first time for me at their "new" home and I was very impressed. They have a nice set up similar to ours but also very different. The game got off to an inauspicious start with us arriving without our strip, a frustration to the home coaches but everyone else was somewhat more relaxed. We eventually kicked off in their spare mauve kit and it looked like the wait had fired up the home team more than us. Sloppy defence allowed Pulborough to get deep into our half. From the resulting lineout they powered over for a well deserved try. It proved to be the catalyst for us to put on a very solid team performance founded on excellent forward play. Matt Botterman and Alex Purnell led from the front but every forward played their part and when the ball went wide the boys in the backs played reasonably sensibly making good ground both with ball in hand and with the boot. I say "reasonably" because the conditions were awful and the ball like a bar of soap.
For long periods Crowborough were much the better side with us dominating the scrum and lineout and making good ground, albeit slowly by overwhelming pressure at the break down. It is also fair to say that whilst both sides made handling errors to cough up possession Pulborough gifted us a chunk of the possession we had. In defence both sides were excellent. Some of the tackling was ferocious with the sound of contact resonating around the ground. Callum Main was again like a whirling Dervish not missing a tackle. Graeme Francis at outside half marshalled the troops and except for one lapse of concentration young Lloyd Smith had a fine game at full-back scoring the crucial try that took us out of reach of the home side.
You could see why Pulborough were riding high after two games. They have a good side and in their outside half a powerful player who can use brute force to get his team going but also touches of guile with speed added to ghost past the opposition with ease. It is fair to say we were the better side. We took our opportunities, made fewer mistakes and dominated the game where and when it mattered.
Despite a plethora of errors thanks to the persistent rain, the heavyweight battle up front and the titanic defensive battle it was a game played in a good spirit and refereed well throughout. Final score Pulborough 14 - Crowborough 33.
Let me add at this point that the lovely Sandra sacrificed her Saturday to rush our kit from Crowborough to Pulborough. She arrived with the game just five minutes in so half time was the best time to change into our shirts. I was therefore amazed when the boys ran out still wearing the Pulborough strip. Someone had given Sandra our change strip; dark blue and white broad horizontal stripes, remarkably like the home black and white broad horizontal stripes. Priceless!!!!!
It must also be said that whilst coaches Dan Moore and Stuart Thresher were delighted with the win they recognised some of the decision making in the conditions was poor as was some of the technical execution. They'll be working on both.
Full league round-up tomorrow.
Elsewhere Bath grind out a win, as did the Dragons, hoorah! Scarlets losing at Connacht was a surprise. Well done Bristol. A fine win over Quins.
Got to go. The Bard is topping up his tan again so the match report is next.
Saturday Sept 22nd: 09:45
Sadly for The Crows their game against Seaford 2 has been pulled. Our visitors couldn't raise a side and have asked for the game to be moved to a later date. The 2s therefore have Steel Cross to themselves against Hellingly 2. This should be well worth watching.
Exeter maintain their fine form with a hard fought but nonetheless impressive win over Newcastle. It was a bit brute force at time but thankfully both sides showed they could play with ambition and throw the ball wide. It was an ok game but by comparison to the game between Taranki and Auckland that is on now it is chalk and cheese.
At last a decent win for a Welsh outfit as Cardiff put on an excellent display against Munster.
Some good match ups today but I'll be focussing on the battle of the "'Boroughs".
So the banned Ashton gets a call to join the England training camp despite wing being a position England are well off for and his ban still having some weeks to run. Tuilagi gets the call despite him being a smash them up the middle type of player. England have plenty of one dimensional players as it is. Cipriani on the other hand gets the cold shoulder. Cipriani was one of the very few to return from South Africa with any credit. He has been in fine form for Gloucester already which is a continuation of the fine form he delivered for Wasps. Many pundits around the country are asking the very simple question: "why?". The answer appears to be quite complex. Sir Clive Knowitall believes it is all down to the Jersey nightclub debacle. Others suggest that whilst Cipriani can be mercurial going forward turning a slight chance into a dead cert he can be lazy in other areas of his game. Barnesy in his Times column suggests there is more at play here. He feels Jones has used the Gloucester man's inclusion in the summer tour as a wake-up call to his first choice #10s. He also has an interesting view that Cipriani is too strong a character who can sometimes sidestep the party line on how the game will be played. The inference here is the players are not keen for Cipriani to be included. What is consistent is that many who know the game and write about the game are totalled bemused by his omission.
Interestingly Barnes himself suffered a similar fate with the less expansive, more reliable, corporate face of Rob Andrew getting selected ahead of the often outspoken man from Bath. It was safety and pragmatism and "yes sir" instead of "wow, how did he do that".
Much in the pages about Japan 2019 as we are now a few days less than one year away from kick off. In fact one year today Mrs Bleater and I will be heading off for the tournament. The planning looks to be well in hand and the stadiums look great, a couple of which are quite open so rainwear at the ready. There is one aspect of the tournament that is troubling the minds of the organisers and that worry comes in the form of typhoons and earthquakes. Japan suffers from both therefore contingency planning needs to be spot on.
Off the field there are many fine articles about the cultural challenges those going to Japan will face. Covering up tattoos, how you use chopsticks when eating rice, taking your shoes off when entering certain buildings and how you address people are just a few. The language is incredibly complex. There are different alphabets and as we are now finding out words can be written in several different ways and have several different meanings. For example we have discovered two different ways to say seven and they can be written in two different ways and their varying use seems totally inconsistent. Get your head around that.
All that said it still isn't as complex as Brexit.
Thursday Sept 20th: 09:15
Let us start in France and the Big Bastereaud. He has been handed a five week ban for his vicious assault on Castre lock Christophe Samson. In my mind there is a problem with this. I am not sure whether he was charged under 9.12 - Striking with the arm or 9.20 - Dangerous play in ruck or maul but in some respect it doesn't matter as the sanctions are the same. It appears the French panel have deemed this mid-range. That is my first issue having looked at it again it seems to be top-end; pre-meditated contact with the head and with some considerable force into a defenceless player on the ground. This should make it top-end meaning a starting point of 10 weeks not 6 weeks. He had one week added for his poor disciplinary record which is fair enough. Then he had a two week reduction for pleading guilty and his remorse. Giving a discount for remorse and apologies is normal. So taking my approach and following the same principle we would have arrived at a nine week ban. I ask would this be a more appropriate sanction, especially when you consider Will Spencer got 4 weeks?
As always those with column inches to fill have been screaming about the disciplinary process. I suggest it is not the process that is at fault, it is the application and interpretation where the problem lies. In this case as with Will Spencer the process has been followed precisely. In the case of Spencer the interpretation of the severity of the incident has been correct. Where the Bastereaud case differs is that what most pundits and observers saw which was a vicious assault was deemed not that serious by the French panel. Not sure how you solve that unless World Rugby step in and that is not likely to go down well, especially in France (you know what the French are like) where the clubs are pretty remote from their own union.
Moving on I hope John Mitchell can make a big difference to England. Not because I particularly want England to succeed but £500,000 (wages and compensation to the Blue Bulls) is a large sum which cannot now go into other aspects of the sport.
WRU announce a record breaking turnover of £97m and an improved profit of £4.8m Much of the increase has come from non rugby activities but who cares as long as it is reinvested wisely into the game, and boy does the grassroots game in Wales need some investment.
Big blow for Glasgow and Scotland as talisman Stuart Hogg suffers what looks a serious ankle injury.
I'm not such a numpty after all. Why? Hampshire police are investigating the possibility the latest poisoning scare in Salisbury was a hoax. Of course it was. Move on!
Like dinosaurs meandering to extinction Britain and Europe continue to refuse to accept the horrendous consequences for both sides of Brexit. Isn't it interesting that Christine Le Garde has dissed the UK economy and has been very gloomy about our economic prospects. Surprise, surprise. Another French person making the sorts of noises that help France. No mention of the terrible state of affairs in France with Macron failing to deliver any economic reforms, youth unemployment at very high levels, nationalised industries losing money hand over fist and a big new bill heading its way when we leave. Mmmm!! Fascinating.
No blog tomorrow. Back on Saturday. If you are not travelling to Pulborough on Saturday the 2s and Crows a