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Bleater's Blog
  1. The Grassroots Season Starts
  2. Not Long Now!
  3. Japan Still Beckons
  4. Japan Beckons
  5. Nearly Time To Look Ahead
  6. The Summer Break is Here
  7. The Final Countdown
  8. Yet another section of drivel
  9. The Season Continues for a Little Longer
  10. The 6 Nations Continues
  11. Six Nations and More
  12. It's RWC Year!!
  13. Its Definitely Winter
  14. Winter is here. Brrrr!!!
  15. Its the Autumn, soon to be Winter
  16. We Are Off And Running
  17. The New Season Approaches
  18. Still the Summer Tours Go On
  19. The Summer Internationals Plus, Plus
  20. The Season Climax Approaches
  21. Summer is Coming
  22. Another Section, More Drivel
  23. 2018 Already!!!! It'll soon be Xmas
  24. The Season Approaches the Half Way Point
  25. The Season Takes Shape
  26. The Season Starts
  27. More Pre-Season Build Up
  28. Pre-Season and Other Stuff
  29. The Lions Tested
  30. The Lions Roar
  31. We Are Still Counting Down
  32. It's All About The Lions
  33. The Countdown to Season's End
  34. The Season Continues Apace
  35. It's Time for the 6 Nations
  36. 2017 - Let The Fun Begin
  37. The Big Man Will Be Here Soon
  38. Let's Countdown to You Know What
  39. It's Time For Europe
  40. The Season Is Well Underway
  41. At Last Let The Competition Begin
  42. Not Long to the New Season
  43. Not So Much Rugby Now
  44. Still Plenty of Rugby to Debate
  45. The Summer Break
  46. Here Comes Summer
  47. They Think It's All Over
  48. Jones - A New Era
  49. It Was A Grand Slam!!!!
  50. 6 Nations - A Grand Slam??
  51. Six Nations 2016
  52. A New Captain, A New Start
  53. Welcome to 2016
  54. The Countdown to Christmas
  55. Winter Has Arrived
  56. November Movember
  57. The World Cup Is Over
  58. Rugby World Cup Quarters
  59. Rugby World Cup into the knockout stages
  60. Rugby World Cup Day 9 to Day 24
  61. Rugby World Cup Day 1 to Day 8
  62. Sept 9th to Sept 17th
  63. August 24th to September 7th
  64. August 11th to August 23rd
  65. July 16th to August 9th
  66. July 1st to July 15th
  67. June 17th to June 29th
  68. June 2nd to June 16th
  69. May 19th to June 1st
  70. May 7th to May 17th
  71. April 28th to May 6th
  72. April 22nd to April 27th
  73. April 13th to April 21st
  74. March 13th to Aprill 11th
  75. March 5th to March 12th
Bleater's Blog 14 of 75

14. Winter is here. Brrrr!!!


Sunday Dec 9th: 09:30

I guess it is going to be one of those days. It's not fun when you get halfway through writing the blog and your PC decides to crash and you find "autosave" is disabled. Here's "take 2".

There was not a patch of blue sky to be seen yesterday and the rain poured relentlessly from the greyest of clouds. Metaphorically though the sun shone brightly over Steel Cross. Eighty people enjoyed an amazing lunch, enjoyed it with great company and lots of laughs. The staff decked out in their elves costumes was a nice touch. They then enjoyed Crowborough staying seven points clear at the top of the league with a hard fought win over Folkestone.

It was a miracle the game was on. Based on the state of the pitch I witnessed on Friday compared to how it looked at 2pm yesterday it was a miracle. It was in good condition making it not a miracle but a testament to the work Drew Pratt and the team have done. It is clear the investment of money, time and a significant amount of hard work is paying off.

Folkestone have not been on a winning streak of five games by luck. It is clear they have a good side. Their forwards are well drilled and their backs are lively and dynamic. The two parts clearly work well together. It was no surprise therefore that they started much the stronger. Despite the rain arriving as the game kicked off they got the ball moving around the park putting us under constant pressure. It was defence, defence, defence for the men from Steel Cross. Their alignment was excellent with no missed tackles. It was Harry Slatter with a "cruncher" that finally relieved the pressure and allowed us to get some ball.

With about 15 minutes gone we found ourselves deep in the Folkestone half. It was the power of our scrum that eventually told with Tom Kent breaking the deadlock. The scrum has developed into a weapon for us. Not because of our size but because of the technical excellence.

As the weather deteriorated so did some of the handling skills. Trying to catch the mud caked ball was like trying to catch an eel with a shark snapping at your ankles. Very difficult. Nevertheless both sides tried to play with width and imagination. Connor Hands put in a beautiful cross field kick fielded on the run by Bertie Boast. Sadly with Lloyd Smith on his shoulder and a clear run to the line beckoning Boast decided to kick ahead. A wasted opportunity.

Folkestone were next to score after they regained a degree of ascendency. We transgressed. Their full back slotted the penalty. It was back to defence, defence, defence for the hosts but yet again we were up to the task. We thwarted their driving maul, and kept their big back line at bay. With limited possession we played well and it was us who got the next score. Another Hands cross kick, mis-field by Folkestone, Boast on Hand to collect and gallop over for the try.

The second half started with Folkestone on the offensive and us under pressure. The game became sloppy with handling becoming a lottery and decision making beggaring belief. Eventually we started to take the right decision by keeping the ball tight and using the forwards to drive us deep into the Folkestone half. We went over the line on several occasions only to be held up. The scrum powered us forward only to be collapsed. The referees patience finally cracked. Penalty try.

Folkestone are a good side and got a late try to put us under pressure to hold out for the win. They were overly ambitious at times in the conditions and when the final whistle came it was a relief and another win for the Steel Cross men.

This was a good contest considering the conditions and if we can keep our composure, continue to tackle as we did throughout and take our chances when they come we will go a long way this season. If Folkestone play like this then the top half is on the cards for them especially if their excellent No.7, two centres and full back stay fit and healthy. They were great.

Lewes up next before the Christmas break.

Gloucester beating Exeter. Wow, and it was no fluke. Leinster only just getting past Bath thanks to an interception try. Toulouse beating Wasps less of a surprise but a good game.

Must go. Busy day ahead; match report next, then lunch to prepare, then wall to wall European rugby followed by six hours of NFL.

Saturday Dec 8th: 09:00

No, I do not know whether the game is still on. If a decision had to be made yesterday then the game would have been off. Steel Cross looked a little like Bewl Water there was so much standing water around. With a dry and windy night things could have changed as they so often do. A pitch inspection is due in about 90 minutes so come back around 10:30 and look in the news section for an update. I don't have news of the 2s at East Grinstead either.

Whatever happens the Christmas lunch is ON! The turkey was being prepared yesterday and looks magnificent. There was a wedding party at the club yesterday and as I was leaving after Friday Club the place looked a real picture.

You might have caught the piece in The Times last week about Dominic Fry of Haywards Heath RFC who was seeking compensation for a ruptured spleen he incurred during a game vs Hove RFC in October 2013. Mr Fry had to have his spleen removed following the contact with Ryan Ball of Hove who was attempting to charge down a kick. The judge threw the case out on the basis that Mr Ball's actions were not deemed to be reckless and outside the acceptable boundaries of risk that occur during a high contact game such as rugby. The judge went on to say that risk of injury in sport is "both inevitable and unavoidable". The reason I comment on this is to highlight how far our litigious society has gone. If this case had been won you can guarantee the queue for compensation would have suddenly become very, very long with injury lawyers circling every game in the country like meat starved vultures. Sport would have to cease as the pecuniary risks would be too high for any club, player or sports insurance company. Obviously deliberately reckless and malicious acts that cause injury are a different thing. It was quite pleasing that two such vultures injury lawyers were supportive of the judges stance.

The Scarlets were off colour yesterday as they went down to a disciplined and dynamic Ulster side. It was a pretty enjoyable game even though it was as always defence against defence with a few flashes of attacking brilliance. That Jacob Stockdale is some player but what a late try by the Scarlets. Superb handling skills.

With the men in red losing to Glasgow last week some are asking whether Wayne Pivac is the right man for the Wales job. The decision is made so live with it.

Edinburgh were too good for Newcastle. The Scots weathered Newcastle's early onslaught before taking control in the second half. The Edinburgh outfit go top of the pool. The game was somewhat overshadowed at the kick off by the selection storm caused by Newcastle. They turned up with one too few front row players after a string of withdrawals during the week. The EPCR were pedantic by not allowing a late addition to the squad so Dean Richards had no choice but to sail close to the wind with his selection. As it happened it had no bearing on the result.

If the game v Folkestone is off obviously the club will be showing at least one of today's European games on the TV.

Before I go, here's a thought for you. Vegans, what do they think about lions and tigers and vultures and crows and foxes and dogs and cats. They all eat meat and wear animal coats. Something to ponder.

Thursday Dec 6th: 15:00

Here's a first! I have had some complaints. No, not about the contents of this blog but would you believe about the absence of the blog. No blog yesterday nor one this morning. The people who have complained must be old, sad and suffering with some form of madness. On the other hand at least someone other than myself is reading this rubbish.

As it happens I was at the Wooden Spoon charity Christmas lunch in Brighton yesterday. The Wooden Spoon is a great cause and those who support it do wonderful things. I am delighted we as a club are a partner and have raised close to £4k during the last year. The company yesterday was great. Sadly the entertainment wasn't. Anyway, let's move on.

This morning I've been at the club helping get the pitch ready for Saturday's clash with Folkestone. The going is soft, heavy in places.

The news that caught many by surprise was that the RFU might speak to Warren Gatland about the England job post RWC 2019. Not sure that is something "Gats" would be interested in but what do I know. Rob Baxter has said he is definitely not interested. Stuart Lancaster could be approached but being a man of principle I am sure the two finger salute might be his response. Andy Farrell will be the Ireland supremo so who does that leave? Not sure. We'll know soon enough but you can guarantee it won't be an English coach, or can you?

I felt a bit smug on Tuesday when I scoured the papers. Normally I do it before committing words to this trash. I was therefore quite pleased that the Torygraph and the Organ of Truth both led with the possibility of a ring-fenced Premiership and the CVC deal.

I have been through the papers today and note the rumours surrounding the possible departure of Elliot Daly, Nathan Hughes and Willie Le Roux from Wasps. How sound are Wasps financially and do you want to be stuck there if the answer is "not very". This seems to be the basis for the departures. That and the promised new training facilities failing to materialise.

The Rec at Bath is iconic. In part due to its amazing city centre location but also because of its "quaintness" in today's world of modern stadia. Well, that all could change if Bath get the go ahead to build a brand new state of the art 18,000 all seater stadium. The mocked-up images look fantastic.

The Varsity match kicks off shortly. Always worth watching.

The Premiership clubs have said in no uncertain terms they are not going to help the Lions by adjusting their season. The RFU are therefore asking the 6 Nations to shorten the tournament by a week in Lions tour years. It ain't going to happen.

Richard Wigglesworth extends his stay at Sarries whilst James Grayson agrees a deal with Saints.

European stuff is back. Scarlets v Ulster tomorrow, Bath v Leinster and Exeter v Gloucester on Saturday and Sarries v Cardiff Blues on Sunday look the ties of the rounds. Not necessarily highly competitive because on paper they should be one-sided but the possibility of a shock result is always on the cards.

In other news it is Brexit and more Brexit. The best headline being "It's Mayhem out there!" Is it all her fault? No it's not. Is the deal any good? Not necessarily. Are there better options on the table? Not that I've see. In my mind were are heading, despite what those clowns who supposedly run this country might say towards either crashing out of Europe without a deal, having a general election that would result in us becoming a Marxist state, or staying in Europe with our hands tied behind our back, or any combination of the aforementioned. Quick, get me another bacon buttie. I need some comfort food to keep me calm.

Tuesday Dec 4th: 09:20

I have long been an advocate of a 14 team "closed shop" Premiership. Add London Irish and another northern based team such as Yorkshire Carnegie, who just happen to be bottom of the Championship sadly. My argument has been based on the need for financial control by recognising the fact that with the exception of London Irish the clubs in the Championship simply cannot compete financially. Their crowds are woeful, their facilities wouldn't cut the mustard and the desire of those bank rolling the clubs would be stretched to breaking point. Remember London Welsh now playing at level 8 like us. The Championship could become a feeder for the top flight organised on clear geographical guidelines with the players at best semi-pro.

The rumoured £200m deal with CVC covers the current top flight plus London Irish. This would put even more financial daylight between the Championship and the Premiership.

Worth thinking about? Yes, but!

That "but" centres around the simple fact that right now in the Premiership there are just four points separating Newcastle at the bottom with Bath in 6th spot. The battles to avoid relegation this season are fascinating. European Cup winners Bath or Leicester could go down. If there was no relegation would the competition suffer? Of course it would . Will the quality of games suffer? Of course they will. It is a powerful argument to say a "closed shop" is not the answer.

By default however I think that is what will transpire. The CVC deal will make it inevitable plus the unwritten fact that we all recognise in that Mark McCafferty wants to wrestle control of top flight rugby from the RFU. Only time will tell.

Why are Leinster so successful in Europe? I think because they have financial clout giving them a sizeable squad which allows them to rest players before key games. I also think because there is no relegation from the Pro 14 they can prioritise their must win fixtures which tend to be in Europe where the competition is at its toughest. This is a positive and a negative for being in a "closed shop" league structure. I'll leave that thought with you.

Congratulations to Sharon Stone, CRFC Girls/Women's supremo. Taking a team of under 18 girls to the XRugby 7s, a brilliant first step towards getting our girls/women's game competing with best in the area.

European action for the next two weeks. More on this later in the week

Are you a Tiger and wondering what is going wrong at Welford Road? Are you watching Bath and wondering why they can't get their act together. Have you wondered why Saracens and Exeter are so far ahead of the rest? Are you a Wasp asking why all the money being thrown at the team isn't bringing wall to wall success. I haven't but these are good things to ponder if you follow the top flight religiously.

At the grassroots of the game from the tip of Scotland to the four corners of England to the Principality of Wales it is not about winning it is often about getting a side out. Where have all the players gone? Why can't we arrest the decline in player numbers? What can we do to stop the game falling into a black hole? No-one seems to have an answer. It is not just rugby. Grassroots sport of all types are suffering the same fate. Young adults simply have other things to do is a simple answer but the truth is way more complicated than that. Clubs have to offer a great experience and I'm not sure all clubs can do that with the facilities they may have, the pitches they may have, and the quality of the game on offer. Additionally sport is very structured with set training nights and set days and kick off times for matches. Young people are more spontaneous now and routine doesn't sit well. What is the answer? I don't know but we've got to find one if the game isn't to contract even further.

It is clear anarchy pays off. It certainly does in France. Yet again France are unable to deliver economic change as Prime Minister Edouard Phillippe does a U-turn and scraps the fuel tax rise. The EU needs us which is why they have been so difficult as we leave. I remain a remainer but when you look at the state of the French economy, the dominance of the unions and the inability to change you do have to say is the time right to say "adieu mes amis, auf wiedersehen meine freunde".

Vegans. They have made a lifestyle choice and we should respect that. They are making themselves look like a bunch of Looney Tunes however with their crazy demands such as changing the name of the Devon town of Wool to something else as the name implies the exploitation of sheep. Another vegan has gone to court to get veganism recognised in the same way as religion so that attacks on vegans would be seen as hate crimes therefore discriminatory. There is another trying to ban phrases such as "taking the bull by the horns". The leader of the group who recently disrupted diners of a steakhouse in Brighton is the daughter of a multi, multi-millionaire abattoir owner. These people, I don't know! Perhaps it is the lack of protein and all that roughage is turning their brains into blancmange. Anyway must go, the bacon, eggs, black pudding and lovely pork sausages are ready.

Monday Dec 3rd: 09:45

It's Monday. It's the usual format. Let's go........

After our excellent 52-0 win over at Park House we are now seven points clear at the top of London 3 South East. Yes we did play well and yes everyone of the squad on the day stood up to the task. Park House are just one off the bottom with Hellingly who lost at home to Hastings & Bexhill 5-22 propping up the table. With no wins and an admin indiscretion to their name they look doomed on -3 points. At the other end it is Beccehamians who lead the chase after beating Vigo 17-12. Old Dunstonians 23-23 draw with Bromley sees ODs drop to third. Pulborough slip to fourth after going down to old Williamsonians 22-17. There are just five points separating Beccs in 2nd and Old Willies in sixth. In the only other game our next two opponents went head to head with Folkestone coming out on top with a 22-5 victory. Both remain in the lower half of the table. The results remain unpredictable but it is Folkestone who are the form team right now....... just in time to face us next week.

The weather affected Sussex 1 with Burgess Hill v East Grinstead being postponed. Seaford v Plumpton also seems to have been a postponement but that as yet has not been confirmed. Uckfield played and beat Crawley to go eleven points clear at the top. Eastbourne are in second after their win at Ditchling. The gap between 4th and 5th is thirteen points so the top 4 being Uckfield, Eastbourne, Crawley and Burgess Hill will battle it out for promotion post Christmas.

In London 2 South East another long journey home for our friends H&WRFC with nothing to show for their efforts. Deal & Betteshanger beat them 26-0. Beckenham stay top with a win away at Old Colfeians. Horsham are in second after a fine win at Sussex rivals Haywards Heath. 17-27 being the score. Charlton Park are still in the hunt winning at Aylesford Bulls. Thanet Wanderers are climbing out of trouble with a win at Dover. Maidstone are sliding into trouble losing at home to Gravesend. The Greenies prop up the table one point behind the Bulls. Both are now a little adrift of the others.

In London 1 South the match of day saw Brighton coming home from Medway with a fine 12-28 win to stay top and now six points clear of Camberley in second. Hove had another day to forget losing heavily to visitors Thurrock. Chichester on the other hand came away from Cobham with a comfortable win. They now sit eighth. Our friends at Sevenoaks climb to third in the table after their home win over Dartfordians. The only crumb of comfort I can offer Hove is there are still fourteen games left. All is not yet lost.

Up in the Premier league Wimbledon remain top despite losing to Sutton & Epsom. Westcliff close the gap with a comfortable win over CS Stags 1863. The boys from St Marks will be pleased with their efforts. An 18-3 win over Dorking is a great result. Tunbridge Wells are in ninth. Shelford remain very much adrift at the bottom.

In the national league Worthing hosted TJs. TJs managed to claw back early Worthing scores to earn an 18-18 draw. The Rams are running wild at the top with the Wild Geese sneaking off the bottom. Birmingham & Solihull now have that honour.

Elsewhere in the country Bridgnorth drew away at Sandbach 19-19. They are third. Another difficult day for Salisbury losing at home to Marlborough. Salisbury are now 10th just below Damper Sayer's old team Chippenham.

I was exhausted yesterday after a long week and very early start running our good friends to the airport. It was no surprise therefore I couldn't keep my eyes open during that turgid affair between Bath and Sale. It was pretty dire stuff. One or two moments of excitement but otherwise the least said the better.

Much criticism from Cardiff Blues coach about the referees in the Pro14. South African Stuart Berry being his main target. Berry has been the target of complaint by others but it is not right coaches openly voice their concerns. There are channels to be used and that is how it should be done. Dragons Bernard Jackman served a four week ban for his comments about the refereeing.

The Scarlets name Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar as their next head coach. Are there no good Welsh coaches in the game? The same could be said of the English Premiership. Four out of twelve are English. Mind you in the soccer it is only five out of twenty. As a proportion that is much better than the number of English players playing. Soccer is now dominated by overseas players. I continue to fear that is the direction English rugby is going.

Finally spare a thought for President Macron. France's answer to Nero. He has to time fiddle with the Brexit debate whilst Paris burns. Not sure how to translate "Muppet" into French, nor "twit".

Sunday Dec 2nd: 08:00

Those of you who were over at Park House yesterday will hopefully agree that a 52-0 scoreline in our favour doesn't tell the full story. The score would indicate we dominated from start to finish. That simply wasn't the case. Park House started much the stronger and for a good ten minutes kept us deep in our own half and under a lot of pressure. Their big forwards and creative half backs controlled matters well. It was only dogged defence and last minute errors by the hosts that kept the scoreboard motionless. Last pass errors were to dog Park House throughout the game.

Once we got onto the scoreboard with a well struck Connor Hands penalty we started to take control. Our scrum was technically excellent and despite the wet conditions the ball retention and decision making was good. Matt Botterman opened the try scoring from the base of the scrum and after that we scored at regular intervals. Young Lloyd Smith had an excellent game and scored a cracking try with a magical slight of hand sending would be tacklers down the wrong path.

As half time approached we were 17-0 ahead but Park House recovered their composure and put us under immense pressure. A score before the break would have been the catalyst for a real challenge in the second half. Sadly it was that last pass that went astray. The hosts were again the better side as the second half opened but we rode our luck enjoying some fortuitous breaks and the ball bouncing consistently our way. A couple of break away tries put us out of reach and I think it is fair to say Park House's resolve finally cracked. They didn't give up by any means but there was the acceptance this was not to be their day.

We played very well and looked sharp from one to fifteen. Connor Hands was deemed to be man of the match but Harry Slatter, Josh Groocock and Lloyd Smith pushed him close. Every one of the eighteen man squad played their part and seeing us stay top with a seven point buffer is fair reward for their efforts.

The major downside of the day was the game having to switch pitches following a nasty looking injury to Matt Botterman's ankle. After receiving some immediate care from the ambulance service he went by car to Pembury for further investigation. We wish him well.

The coaching team were delighted with how things went but there were still missed tackles, some of the kicking was aimless and misdirected and there were a number of basic handling errors that need to be eliminated. Overall a good day at the office though.

A word for the referee. A young man on exchange from Liverpool expecting to be assessed. The assessor was a no show because of illness. The referee won't read this but I thought he had a solid game. He was fit, he was decisive, he was consistent, he kept the game flowing. I was particularly impressed with how he dealt with what could have become a major melee. He was calm and collected and made his feelings clear. He managed the breakdown well but could have been a little harsher on the attacking side going to ground over the ball and defenders persisting with hands in the ruck. Overall a very good day at the office for him too.

Finally a word for the travelling faithful. A very good turnout by us, certainly outnumbering the hosts. The weather held off thankfully but nevertheless an excellent effort.

Well done to our 2s coming away from our good friends at Heathfield & Waldron with a 24-0 win over their 3s.

I caught something about our u/18 girls having their first game. I'll look into this and comment later in the week. Sounds great though.

Watched the Scarlets lose up at Glasgow. Cracking game despite the result. Bristol hammering Leicester was the standout result. Sarries go top after a fine win against Wasps. Surprise, surprise the Dragons got hammered by Leinster. Hey ho!

Bath v Sale today. A massive game with Sale now bottom after Newcastle's win at Northampton. Bath are perilously close to the drop zone. I'll be watching that one.

Back tomorrow with a full Brexit league round-up

Saturday Dec 1st: 09:30

Mum's back home. Bridgnorth was very wet and very windy on Thursday making it a tricky trip back to Crowborough. The boys were out in force yesterday but unable to do anything to the pitches as they were on the cusp of being waterlogged. Based on the rain overnight and the weather right now the pitches will be definitely be unplayable. They still got loads done though, including eating copious amounts of Jacqui's birthday cake.

Not long now before the boys kick off at Park House. I'm looking forward to it. The team looks good and the boys are keen to get back to winning ways. Am I really looking forward to it. Yes, of course, but with one reservation......... have you seen the weather. Where are my waterproofs?

Watched the Wales v South Africa game again on Thursday evening. Wales really did play well. Watched the opening stanzas of Cardiff v Swansea last night. Considering this is the second tier of Welsh rugby the crowd was woeful. No wonder the WRU are cutting the size of the Premiership. It is simply not viable.

In the top tier of the English game I thoroughly enjoyed the Quins v Exeter encounter. Quins certainly had worked out how to keep the table toppers at bay. Defensively they were excellent but for me they lived offside for a lot of the time. Exeter were not as incisive as we have seen in previous weeks, in part being shorn of their internationals but mainly because they looked predictable. Wales winger Alex Cuthbert played really well but it wasn't enough. Quins took their chances well and were clearly the better side. They were also edgy sometimes overstepping the mark, especially with regard to the referee.

Two fairly predictable results in the Pro 14 with Munster cruising past Edinburgh and Ospreys hammering Zebre. The former game being most notable for the long awaited return of Connor Murray.

Some decent match ups today. Saracens v Wasps looks the pick in the Premiership. Ulster v Cardiff Blues looks interesting. Bath v Sale tomorrow will be fascinating with the bottom of the table looking quite congested.

The Barbarians play Argentina today but my view is ...... so what.

Based on the noises coming out of Wales Ellis Jenkins injury looks as bad as was feared and many feared the worst.

Dubai 7s are on right now. The opening of the 7s season. Only watched a little of it yesterday but it looked good. The crowd looked sparse though. Is the love affair with 7s over?

The G20 is taking place in Buenos Aires. Trump ignores his mate Putin. Putin grins knowing he still has that dirty dossier on the Oompa Loompa in Chief including the promise on the now defunct plan for Trump Tower in Moscow. The Khashoggi affair was top of mind but just below the need to keep the Saudi defence dollars flowing in alongside the Saudi oil.

Brexit remains top of.................... sorry must go. Kettle has just boiled.

Wednesday Nov 28th: 08:45

Just a few bits this morning. Let me start at home. As a passionate club member there are times when you say to yourself "we could do better". One area where have always done ok but have now taken it to a higher level is the integration across the club. There is now one senior squad fighting for places with the The Crows, the 2s and the 1s all supporting each other. 1st XV players of years gone by no longer hanging up their boots early but now working hard in the 2s and The Crows to develop the youngsters and support those on the cusp of 1st XV selection. Our coaches spread themselves around the games on a Saturday and this has made a huge difference. Our league status across the board supports that.

More pleasing is the senior players, especially 1st XV regulars turning up on a Sunday morning to coach the ladies/girls team and support the coaches of the junior sides. The people benefitting from this additional coaching love it. They are motivated by it and we are seeing improvement in standards across the board, both playing and coaching. Players like Josh Groocock and Connor Hands have been at the forefront of this initiative and I applaud them.

In terms of the seniors this weekend the 1s face the tricky journey to Park House. Not a happy hunting ground over recent seasons. The 2s are at Heathfield &Waldron. The Crows are "resting"

The big news item surrounds the rumours that CVC Partnership are in talks with Premiership Rugby about a £200m minority stake. If it were to come about the cash injection would be most welcome to the non profit organisations known as Premiership Rugby (excluding Exeter of course). The deal would be another red flag to the RFU as anything that makes the big boys more viable and therefore more able to stand on their own two feet could take them another step closer to breaking away. That said what about the £220m RFU cash injection?? Watch this space.

As Angus Gardener was picking up his trophy for the "Referee of the Year" so he finally admitted he got the Farrell tackle wrong. As many have said it should have been a penalty to South Africa. Hey ho.

King Eddie might have to put his money, and I think there is plenty of it, where his mouth is soon. He has bemoaned the absence of key players due to injury for some time. It has been a constant excuse, albeit in my mind a lamentable one. Well, in the run up to Christmas and shortly thereafter ten, yes ten of that list will be making their return to the game. The Organ of Truth online has the best summary of who is returning when. These players will make a difference but I still feel there are more fundamental problems at hand such what is the playing style, where is the creativity in mid-field, are the back row good enough. Bring on the 6 Nations.

There is no news on Ellis Jenkins injury. It is rumoured to be serious and could even mean RWC 2019 is off the table for him. He sees a specialist in London this week. Now you could expect highly paid, high profile players who have just been named man of the match in a fiercely contested test match to wallow in self pity following a serious injury. Not Jenkins. He turned up at City Hospice in Cardiff on crutches to honour his commitment to the charity. That is a breath of fresh air and good on him.

As you know I am following the Brexit situation closely. Isn't it fascinating that President Macron has rioters on the streets closing highways, burning tyres and causing mayhem, plus his approval rating is at an all time low that he is wading into us about fishing rights. Get your own house in order you pompous twit. I also find it interesting that the Dutch are wetting themselves about fishing rights. 50% of their fleet would be at risk if fishing in UK waters was banned. Is it no wonder they don't want us to leave.

I remain dismayed at the total distain those muppets in the House of Commons have for us the people. There appears to be an overwhelming desire from the people for Theresa maybe to get on with it. Do the deal. Those self serving morons fighting for their own personal causes are going to block that. Send the lot of them to Pyongyang is what I say. If that wasn't terrifying enough then they could all go to Washington and become acolytes of the Oompa Loompa in Chief.

Bridgnorth beckons. The M40 here we come.

Tuesday Nov 27th: 09:15

In addition to the full Premiership and Pro14 matches a couple of the sides we follow locally had games. The boys from just to the east of us in Royal Tunbridge Wells lost away at Chingford, albeit narrowly 23-21. They still sit comfortably in a very crowded mid-table position.

Up in National 2 TJs had the better of it against Taunton Titans winning 46-17. Worthing on the other hand endured a tough day at league leaders The Rams going down 41-12.

Some cracking tries in the Premiership over the weekend. Ross Neal of Wasps scored a brace and made another in their narrow win over Bristol. Alex Losowksi of Saracens was another who caught the eye playing out of position and scoring a cracker against Leicester. Sarries hanging on at the death in this one. Despite their win Newcastle remain bottom as Sale also won beating Northampton. Exeter's win over Gloucester sees them stay top. I have to say Exeter's forward dominated driving maul game is pretty dull stuff. Effective but dull. Quins scored a smashing interception try but it wasn't enough against Worcester. Quins are pretty ordinary right now.

In the Pro14 the Dragons won. Hoorah. Beating Edinburgh is no mean feat. Edinburgh were shorn of their internationals but so were the Dragons. What is going on at the Ospreys. Thrashed by Leinster. Not good enough. Cardiff also found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard losing in Glasgow. Scarlets beat Ulster to save the Welsh regions blushes.

Joe Schmidt has decided enough is enough and will hand the baton on to Andy Farrell after the 2019 World Cup. Whilst Schmidt will be sorely missed it is clear Farrell is hugely popular and very well respected in the Irish camp and in my mind was the obvious choice. Great piece in The Guarniad about Farrell and what he has brought to the Irish set up and how King Eddie must be rueing the hasty decision to oust from the England camp. Schmidt is planning to put his feet up with his family. I can understand that. Let the dust settle and see what transpires. I am sure there will be many a nation and many a region beating a path to his door with a large bag of cash trying to woo him out of retirement.

How can the RFU make a £30.9m loss? It is clear I had my rose tinted glasses on when writing about the RFU in recent weeks. That loss is quite substantial. In reality the RFU are still in a pretty good place but as said last week the £220m deal with the Premiership was a ball breaker. Desperate to avoid a Prexit they have overpaid. The RFU needs the top clubs cooperation so they had to sell their soul to get it. Strange how Ian Ritchie who signed the deal is now at Premiership Rugby!!??!! Many other factors complicated the picture including the cost overrun of the East Stand development. The RFU have invested in grassroots rugby and despite the cost cutting and job losses have said they will continue to do so. I expect there will be a reduction however especially as the relationship with the top clubs has to be maintained. The Premiership going off on their own would make Brexit look like stroll in the park for the grassroots game. Interestingly King Eddie has been told in no uncertain fashion he has got to cut his cloth accordingly. Not before time. Get rid of Carling for a start.

The crowds at this weekends Premiership games looked robust despite the internationals and that for the top clubs is good news. Their finances remain in a dire state however and only another London Welsh collapse will bring some sense to the situation. Player wages are out of control and that is the number one problem. By the way if you watched the highlights show last night did you notice how many overseas players are now in the Premiership. Lots!!!

I still haven't seen the France v Fiji match but have read the report and was moved by the fact long after the game had finished the Fijians were still on the field singing hymns and saying prayers of thanks for their good fortune. Noticeable how a number of the side ply their trade in the Premiership.

Lots in the papers yesterday about the World Cup and each countries chances. Way too early to speculate as there are lot of games ahead and therefore a lot of injury traps for players to crash into.

Trump decides it is time to make matters worse in the Brexit debate saying the deal on the table is good for the EU and unlikely to be conducive to a UK-US trade deal. Do you know what? I'd rather be in hock to the Europeans than that megalomaniac in the States. A deal with Trump means he "owns" you.

There is poverty in the UK and that is unacceptable, especially when big companies such as Amazon are not paying their fair share and footballers for example are earning thousands per week and being paid through offshore tax havens. That said I find it somewhat frustrating when academics from Australia come over here and pontificate when I've seen poverty in Australia to match anything we have, especially amongst the indigenous population. I also find it frustrating when people are in front of the cameras saying how they have to go to the food bank when they are covered in expensive tattoos and piercings, smoking away in front of their 52" TVs with the kids tapping away on the Xbox. Priorities me thinks. Before I get accused of being a fascist there are those living below the standards acceptable for a decent life and they need our help and support, end of.