Saturday 7th October - 08:30
After a productive morning at the club yesterday the reward was a lazy afternoon watching Wales beating Georgia 1-0 then the Blues vs Dragons. Yet again the Pro14 threw up a pretty enjoyable game. After a stunning first half I thought the Dragons might just get a rare away win and an even rarer away win in Cardiff. They played some pretty good rugby with Gavin Henson pulling the strings. Some great tries from the men from Newport. The second half saw a complete turnaround with Cardif finally getting into fourth gear with a little bit of turbo thrown in for good measure. They simply blew the visitors away with some excellent rugby. Didn't enjoy the result but enjoyed the game.
How can you put Gloucester to the sword one week and then suffer badly at the hands of Harlequins the next. Sale's away form is pretty woeful and unless they get that sorted they could find themselves in the relegation shake up at the end of the season. Jack Clifford going off injured is a blow for Quins and Eddie Jones.
Back in the Pro14 Ulster go top after a gritty win over Connacht. Edinburgh only just got past those feisty Zebre and Glasgow put the Cheetahs back in their pen with their narrow victory. The two Scottish regions are going well and that augurs well for the national side in the upcoming autumn internationals.
The pick of today's games is quite clearly Hastings & Bexhill v Crowborough. Sadly neither SKY nor BT are showing this one so it is the seaside for me. Whilst the quality of rugby in the AVIVA is better than the Pro14 the pick of today's games are Leinster v Munster and Ospreys v Scarlets.
By the way if you are not going to Hastings the mighty Crows are at Steel Cross.
What is the game coming to? Wasps Elizabeth Crake is banned for six weeks for biting. Not a great advert for the women's game me thinks. No sooner has the top of the women's game in England moved into the big time so they start to 'buy' in overseas talent. Top French star Gaelle Mignot is joining Richmond from Montpellier. This is MADNESS. What about giving young English talent a chance. What does this say to a young girl who has fought her way to within touching distance of the top only to be told; 'nah, tough luck, we are bringing in a French girl ahead of you. Thanks for your time but you can go now'. This drives me nuts.
Hamilton is on pole for tomorrow's F1 in Japan.
Nothing much in the papers except the woes of Maybe, which she brought down on herself of course.
France and Germany are adamant that no Brexit divorce payment means no trade deal. France and Germany are in line to fill the funding gap left by Britain. I say sod them. We cannot be held to ransom. The EU needs major reforms so let Britain's exist be the catalyst for that rather than trying to fund a broken system.
See you later.
Thursday 5th October - 09:30
And another one bites the dust, or to be more accurate leaves Wales in the pursuit of untold wealth and adventure. As expected by many Rhys Webb has announced he will join the exodus from Wales to ply his trade elsewhere. In his case Toulon. He is not the first and won't be the last. A certain J. Davies will be next me thinks. The WRU in their attempt to keep players in the prinicipality operate a dual contract system with a limit on the number of overseas players eligible to play for Wales. This is clearly not enough. The selection policy gets tougher in 2019-20, world cup year. If the game isn't going to implode in Wales then the WRU need to rethink their policies and find more cash to keep the best at home and/or change their selection criteria.
With a few gaps here is the basis of a side Wales could select next season; Williams L, North G, Roberts J, Biggar D, Priestland R, Webb R, Francis T, Hibbard R, Charteris L, Moriarty R, Young T, Faletau T, and I've probably forgotten somebody.
This state of affairs also proves the point that over time the French and English clubs who are less beholden to their respective unions will more and more try to control the game much as is the case with soccer right now. Read any article on the battle for the global TV cash and you can see where rugby might head next.
Closer to home, in fact Steel Cross, the Crowborough coaching team have no selection policies on who to pick. Trying to find 15 players is tough enough. Those who are available will be travelling to Hastings & Bexhill (1st XV) and East Grinstead (2nd XV) or hosting Crawley (The Crows) at home. All games kick off at 15:00
In the Pro14 it is the first of the local derby weekends with Leinster v Munster always being a classic. S4C are showing Ospreys v Scarlets on Saturday evening and this could be one to watch. I'll be watching Blues v Dragons tomorrow. For the best of the Aviva you'll have to wait until Sunday when Sarries host the Wasps. Of the other games Exeter v Newcastle looks tasty. Can the Falcons keep their excellent run of form going?
The Rugby Championship is coming to a close with the All Blacks travelling to South Africa and Australia in Argentina. I go All Blacks, who have recalled their big guns, and Argentina. The Pumas just have to win at some point.
What a shambles in Manchester. Not Theresa Maybe coughing and spluttering her way through her speech, not the 'fffnnn' signage collapsing like her government but that muppet the intruder. If I was head of Manchester police I would be asking serious questions of how an interloper could get within touching distance of this country's Prime Minister.
Like the rising of the sun in the morning and the going down in the evening so the RMT are on strike again. Flogging a dead horse me thinks.
The EU and Spain vs Catalonia. Another shambles but one we Brits should keep an eye on. This will be a major issue for the EU to address and how it is handled will influence Brexit, but more importantly what Portugal and Greece might do next.
The one Manchester policy announcement that caught my attention is the organ donation change. Going forward it will be presumed that unless otherwise stated the organs of dead persons will be harvested for donation. This is in operation in Wales and is working. It must be terrible to lose a loved one, especially a young loved one, but comfort must come from knowing they may have saved one, two or three others. I for one applaud this change.
Wednesday 4th October - 08:15
I don't suppose anybody else has noticed, or it could be just because I am stupid but does the Ayelsford Bulls player in the picture of Dan Moore (opening image on this website) look exactly like Eben Etzebeth the South African skipper.
Kyle Sinckler gets seven weeks off. The incident was deemed accidental so came in at 'low end' of the punishment for this offence; 10.4(m) contact with the eye(s). If you are not aware there are three tiers; 'low end', 'mid range', 'top end'. 'Low end' starts at 12 weeks so with Sinckler's guilty plea he got a 50% reduction but because he has been in the headmaster's office before a week must have been added on hence 7 weeks off. Some might argue that in the wake of Prof Pollock's campaign plus Sinckler's reputation (which might be unfair) he could have been given a longer ban. To that I say the disciplinary process is the same from top of the game to the bottom and in my humble opinion works so move on. Sinckler is now a definite absentee from the Autumn series whereas up until last weekend he was an 'unlikely' inclusion'.
I see Rory Best has come out and to some degree supported Sean O'Brien's comments about the Lions but at the same time saying the criticism of Rob Howley is unfair. Good on him.
Thank you Robert for your added info on Prof Pollock. Not only is she shemlessly trying to sell a book, won't even contemplate any other opinion than her own, but it is now been confirmed that her son suffered a number of injuries whilst playing rugby at school. They weren't what you would call minor so as a parent myself I can understand her concerns but!!!
Did you know that even at the elite level games are being cancelled due to lack of players. Leicester Tigers had to pull their second string last weekend in order to protect players from further injury. On the one hand this is a negative message. On the other this is an excellent example of how the game has moved on in that club's and their medical teams are much more aware of the need to protect players from injury. sky sports for full details.
A look ahead to the weekend's games tomorrow.
Theresa Maybe makes her keynote speech to the Tory Party Conference today. There will be a clamour of voices for her to go. The country, thanks to her decision to call an early election, is in a mess and she has the wolves at her door constantly but I am not so sure she should fall on her sword, especially with the buffon Boris in the wings and that smarmy Hammond mouth organ a contender. I say Mary Berry for PM.
I see the tube strike is off for the time being. I hope TfL are not caving into the outrageous demands of ASLEF. I see the postmen are now going on strike. Hoorah. No more ffffffnnnnn unwanted junk mail.
I know he divides opinion but I say a big WELL DONE to Piers Morgan for taking that jackass of a NRA representative to task. In any sane and peaceful and democratic society you cannot justify unfetterd access to guns, especially semi automatic rifles which a child can turn back to fully automatic in a blink of an eye. The use of the super dangerous Kinder Surprise to make his point was inspired. I digress here but to reinforce the stupidity of the US gun laws. I worked for nearly 18 years in the spirits industry. Yes alcohol can have some serious negative impacts on society but not like guns. Whilst in Texas many years ago Mrs Bleater and I stopped at a Wal*Mart (Asda) for coffee and a cake. Being the good employee I was I wanted to look at our brands on the stores shelf. I couldn't find any alcohol at all and this was in a store the size of your average aircraft hanger. I could find, and to my horror I could buy semi-automatic weapons with my tomtoes, lettuce, toilet paper and rib-eye but I couldn't buy alcohol. That had to be sold from the bottle store across the precinct because it was too dangerous to sell without the proper controls.
Finally Catalonian Independence. That'll get the EU gravy train 'a twitching' and you watch how Wee Jimie Crankie gets on her high horse again.
Must go lots of mercy flights coming into Gatwick. Actually Monarch passengers being repatriated.
Tuesday 3rd October - 08:15
What possesses a 64 year old man to commit mass murder. We know what allows him to do it and that is America's gun laws but why? That is the real question. This wasn't a spur of the moment act. This was premeditated cold blooded murder. What has society done? What is society doing do itself? Donald Trump will spout mealy mouthed words but do nothing. Piers Morgan states; if the killer had been a twenty something Syrian Muslim immigrant all hell would be to pay. A white senior citizen well that's different. Can't upset the NRA can we.
Madness. All of it. May the souls of the innocent rest in peace.
So to rugby. Kyle Sinckler has been cited for a possible gouging in the Saints v Quins game. If he has done it then what an idiot and I hope a long ban is forthcoming. Let's hope he he hasn't and the upward trajectory of his career can continue.
Thank you to those who responded to my request for the Ben Kay article. It is excellent and really gets to the nub of the problem; an ill-informed person on a crusade to sell more books and right a PERCEIVED wrong. Kay reinforces all the good work the RFU in particular is doing in terms of player welfare, especially children. I am trying to find a way of sharing it on this site but in the meantime if you have access to The Times it is a must read piece.
So Twickenham is considering selling the naming rights to the stadium. Sell your soul to the devil me thinks. How about 'The Barbour Green Wellie Stadium' or 'The I'm Only Because My Company is Paying Stadium' or 'The Ryanair Stadium' where supporters are ripped off at every opportunity.
Comrade O'Fez has said me calling Jezza an anarchist for his renationalisation plans is wrong. He is right, it is not anarchy it is plain stupidity. What is anarchy is Jezza supporting and encouraging law breaking, which is exactly what he has done with regard to union activity. His paymasters of course.
It is the Tories on show this weekend. Jokers to the right of her, clowns to the left. What a shambles. There is more opposition to her coming from within than there is in Parliament. It is like watching popular's blowing in the wind. Policies based on which way the wind is blowing rather than sound principles. We are screwed. The Monster Raving Loony Party is looking the most sensible option right now.
I never thought I would say this but Mick Cash is right. Yes, I have said that. First however his unions actions are a disgrace and it is about time they realised that the world moves on and a job is no longer for life. The strikes are about preserving jobs. Jobs that in many instances are superfluous to requirements. Stop whingeing on about safety. It is nothing to do with safety. Where I do agree with Loadsa is it is a disgrace that the profits the rail (and bus) companies make is being sent to France and Germany and even China where it is used to subsidise travel in those countries. That cannot be right can it?
Must go. Grandson is here. Swimming awaits.
Monday 2nd October - 08:30
October and four games into the season already so let's not waste any time and look at Saturday's games.
With our long list of absentees we had to postpone our 2nd XV game but thankfully The Crows did play, and at home to St Francis. I dread to think what the combined age and weight of The Crows was but they played and they won. Well done guys. This is a perfect example of a bunch of guys who just want to play week in week out with their mates. Most are past trying to play in the 2s and some simply don't want to. This is about good old fashioned club rugby at the grassroots of the game.
In our league Thanet Wanderers continue to set the pace with a 30-37 win at bottom placed Park House. Bromley lead the chasing pack after a 6-17 win away at Old Willies, and third behind them is our next opponents Hastings & Bexhill after their 12-33 win at Crawley. Aylesford Bulls are in 4th after beating us and we remain in 5th seven points behind table topping Thanet. Folkestone and Lewes closed the gap to us with wins against Old Dunstonians at home and Sheppey away respectively. This league remains wide open so I wouldn't read anything into league tables at this early stage. With twenty 1st XV squad members unavailable to us last weekend for example I anticipate many twists and turns as the season progresses.
In Sussex 1 East Grinstead narrowly beat Seaford but it wasn't enough to stop Hellingly going top after they beat Uckfield at Uckfield. Burgess Hill strolled past Ditchling 0-52. The Eastbourne v Barns Green fixture has been rearranged for Oct 14th. Speaking to our good friend Mick from Uckfield he confirms this new innovative league format is working out reasonably well for them which can only be good for the game in Sussex.
Up in London 2 South East I was delighted to see our good friends Heathfield & Waldron coming home from Barking with a 3-41 victory. The wheels really have come off Barking's wagon with them rooted to the bottom of the table but that is still a great result. Horsham are on a roll coming away from Beckenham with 25-27 win, especially as it is a win that takes them to the top of the table. In the all Sussex clash Haywards Heath take the spoils with a much easier win against Hove than I expected. Hove were riding high and I know from one of their longest serving supporters so was confidence. As with many leagues take nothing for granted so early in the season. That can be said for Pulborough who have turned things around after the drubbing by Dartfordians last week to beating Dover this week. Dover to Pulborough, that is a journey! In the other results Dartfordians beat Charlton Park and Old Alleynians beat Deal & Betteshanger.
Onwards and upwards into London 1 South. Brighton get their first win of the season beating Gravesend 46-15 whilst Chichester slip up losing at home to Cobham. Medway continue to lead way with a fine away win at Chobham. The Oaks drew with Tottonians. Of the other results previously hard charging Maidstone lose again, this time to second placed CS Rugby 1863. Old Colfeians are finding it tough as their winless season continues after losing at home to Havant.
In the splendour of London & SE Premier the guys from St Marks ran out easy winners over bottom placed Towcestrians. Barnes are top of this one after beating Southend Saxons. I am surprised by Westcombe Parks lowly position in the league as they lose away at Sutton & Epsom, albeit by a single point.
Up in the ether of the national leagues not a great a day for the two sides whose fortunes I follow. TJs lost at home to London Irish Wild Geese and Worthing were easily beaten by the travelling Chinnor. One other result stands out; Canterbury beating Barnstable. It wasn't the result that caught the eye but the distance travelled by Barnstable to play.
Here's what you've been waiting for; Bridgnorth lost at home to Scunthorpe but Salisbury won away at Royal Wootton Bassett.
In the big boys leagues Bath rained on Wasps 150th birthday party. I hadn't expected this and in a way I am glad. It proves no matter how much you spend it doesn't guarantee you success. I am also glad Wasps have highlighted what is wrong with the game; the rapidly increasing wage demands of the players, by having to cut their squad numbers to fund this seasons demands.
Interesting that a club Chairman has come out and said extending the top flight season to 10 months will help player welfare. This is different to the players view. Perhaps it reflects the contradiction between chasing the cash the through the turnstyles and true player welfare. That said if players want more money then it has to come from somewhere.
I understand that Ben Kay has written a really good piece about Allyson Pollock's claims about rugby in schools (thanks Baloo). I am struggling to download it so if anyone who subscribes to The Times could share the article via e:mail that would be great.
Might be back tomorrow, might not.
Sunday 1st October - 09:30
Mrs Bleater asked me over lunch yesterday why I was getting so emotional. It was very simple to answer when you saw how much fun our guests from The Barn and the British Legion were having, and how generous the hospitality of our members were to these guys and gals. I also realised how lucky most of us are and at times how much we under-appreciate what we have against those whose lives have been blighted by misfortune.
It was a great lunch with great friends and fellow members of a BRILLIANT rugby club.
We then got into the game. Yet again a much changed side with skipper Alex Purnell pulling out at the last minute due to being injured in a car accident the night before. The Reed lads made their first team debut, several players were playing out of position and coach Dan Moore was drafted in at scrum half. Moore was excellent making me think I would have loved to have seen him in his hay day. We opened strongly giving the home supporters hope for another 'w'. A long period of pressure didn't produce any points however and it was very much against the run of play that Aylesford Bulls were gifted their opening score. Just at the moment the referee had deemed a CRFC penalty advantage was over so the Bulls caught an easy interception for the player to gallop 75 meters for the score. It would be churlish to argue the referee got it wrong and should have blown earlier. The truth is the boys from Steel Cross couldn't get over the line when the opportunity presented itself so move on.
The score did change the complexion of the game with Aylesford Bulls finding their true form as they started to string some excellent passages of play together. 'Borough defended well and worked hard when they got the ball. Sadly they couldn't get close to the Bulls and at crucial times the inexperience showed and they gifted Bulls another try. The pressure was ramped up when the Bulls scored a third and went into a 21-0 half time lead.
I don't know what was said at half time by the coaching team but the boys came out not dejected by the scoreline but buoyed by the opportunity to redeem themselves, which is exactly what they did. In attack they were more assured and put the Bulls under pressure. The decision making was better, the defence was robust, and importantly the careless mistakes of the first half were eliminated. It was late on when the Bulls line was finally crossed and that gave the boys the impetus to get as a minimum a losing bonus point, or even sneak a draw. It was the losing bonus point and that was probably a fair outcome as Aylesford Bulls were the better side overall.
Are we the 'faithful' downhearted? No! I don't think so. In fact my personal view is based on the side we put out, and that second half performance, and the players we have returning over the next few weeks we should be optimistic. As I type the more I think about it the more I applaud the boys efforts of yesterday. Well done to all.
Up in the clouds good home wins for Saints and Leicester. I see the animals were beating the humans again with Zebre beating Ulster over in Italy. The Dragons scored a fine win over Southern Kings on an amazing Rodney Parade pitch. A description never heard before down there in Newport on the banks of the River Usk.
South Africa v Australia was a thoroughly enjoyable game and a draw a fair result. Haven't seen the game yet but New Zealand winning in Argentina is no surprise.
Its good to have Paddy O'Fez back as he has pulled me up about my use of the words anarchist and anarchy. I can't be arsed to look at the dictionary right now but I will. In the meantime I will simply use objectionable troublemakers.
Back tomorrow with a full round-up of league results.
Saturday 30th September - 09:30
Welcome to Crowborough Rugby's Wildlife Blog.
The Headlines this Saturday morning.
Osprey attacked by a lion leaving it injured and unavailable to fly with the flock.
The Sharks circle their prey and attack until its dead
The Falcons are flying high over the North East this morning.
The Ospreys couldn't escape the wrath of the Cheetahs and not surprisingly got badly hurt.
Yeah, yeah, Ok, enough already. Of all the excuses; 'sorry Mr Tandy I can't play tonight I've been bitten by a lion'. The Ospreys Scott Bladwin came up with this one after being a complete arse at a wildlife sanctuary.
To make matters worse for the beleagured coach of the Ospreys they were roundly beaten by a very good Cheetahs side. That said for long periods the Ospreys were in it for a while but when it counted they came up short. In fact when it counted they were inept.
Dean Richards on the other hand has plenty to be happy about as his flock of Falcons continue to play well and move to the top of the table after their win over London Irish.
Wow! I didn't see that coming. Sale 57 Gloucester 10. That is an amazing scoreline and yet again highlights the unpredictability of the Aviva this season. Well done the Sharks, who for obvious reasons I keep a closer eye on now.
In adition to enduring the Cheetahs v Ospreys I watched Scarlets v Connacht. Thank you! At last a Pro14 game of high reasonable quaility and high drama. For long periods the game ebbed and flowed, in part due to great skills, in part due to woeful tackling, and in part thanks to the excellence of Nigel Owens. The Scarlets are playing with gay abandon which leaves them wide open at times but when they get it right it is spectacular. Connacht play a similar way hence the enjoyment factor of this one.
Elsewhere Sarries beat hapless Worcester, Leinster rediscover their form against Edinburgh, and Glasgow beat the ever improving Colours of Benetton.
My focus is now on Crowborough vs Aylesford Bulls. Looking forward to lunch. Always a special one when we host the British Legion and The Barn. Of course all of Jacqui's lunches are special. Thanks to the lovely John Wilmshurst for his role in inviting today's guests.
Some good match ups in the Aviva and tonight I'll be watching the Dragons v Southern Kings on S4C (with the English commentary on the red button).
The internationals will be worth watching but a 23:30 kick off for Argentina v New Zealand, mmmm, that will have to wait until Sunday morning.
F1 is back. Malaysia this weekend. Yawn!
In the news Boris is making an arse of himself again. Shut up you smug, elitist muppet.
The police are concerned about the continuing rise in accidents due to the use of mobile phones. If people are caught using their mobile phone whilst driving the police should have the power to impound the phone for 28 days in addition to the current penalties. People are wedded to their phones so the thought of having them impounded for a month would be devastating. It might act as a deterrent me thinks.
Finally, and you'll be shocked: I agree with Jezza. It shouldn't be for the few, it should be for the many. So based on that those complete bunch of overpaid few, the tube drivers, who intend to inflict misery on the many should get back in their cabs and be thankful for their £65k a year and 35 hour working week. They now want a four day week only. This is a perfect example of the few taking advantage of the many. Come on Jezza, put them straight. By the way, of course he won't because he loves an anarchist and more importantly he is in their pay. Dare I say it, that is almost corruption.
See you at Steel Cross.
Thursday 28th September - 09:00
The curtains were flung open at 7am this morning only to look out at a battleship grey sky from which the drizzle was falling and to see the ground covered with the burnt orange and red and yellow of the falling autumn leaves. 'Sod this' I said and got back into bed. 'Another 30 minutes won't hurt' I thought, as I pulled the duvet a little tighter around my shoulders. As I drifted off I was able to dream of the socialist utopia we'll all be living in soon. Marvellous! It'll be just like North Korea without the military and the nuclear arsenal. 'Sod that' I said as I jumped out of bed and rushed down here to my PC. 'I better do a blog quickly before freedom of speech is a thing of the past' I thought. I don't want Jezza's police (now named the Stasi) knocking on my door.
So players and coaches alike are revolting against the new unified global rugby season. Players are already suffering with injuries and burn out from the current pressures, let alone heaping more on them by playing more games. Sadly this is about the money. Like everything you need money to keep things going so the unions need internationals and the clubs need leagues and that adds up to games. Something is going to have to give. I have said for sometime the power is moving towards the clubs and that isn't good for us at the grassroots. If the players take action it will be the unions that suffer the most. We need to keep an eye on this and see how it develops.
Is Cardiff's poor form and the apparent lack of funding from investors and the WRU behind Danny Wilson's announcement he is leaving his post as Head Coach, or is there something more sinister to it.
Where will the RWC in 2023 be played? France, South Africa or Ireland? Bizarrely, London has been host to the bids of these three countries. Apparently French president Emmanuel Macron couldn't be bothered to attend or endorse the French bid (perhaps he is friends with Prof Pollock). The almost bankrupt South Africa bid centred around how wonderful things were in 1995. The Irish bid strangely said a succesful bid would make rugby incredibly popular in USA. Mmmmmmm!!!! They also had a ringing endorsement from Theresa Maybe. That's that buggered then. Thank you to 'Total Flanker' for this update. A great rugby blog site.
Aylesford Bulls on Saturday for the men at Steel Cross. Always a good fixture as the Bulls are nice bunch on and off the field. Big lunch day on Saturday too with us hosting friends from the British Legion and from The Barn, a home for people significantly less fortunate than most.
Plenty of rugby again this weekend. Not much really stands out on Friday. On Saturday alongside the Southern Hemisphere internationals Leicester v Exeter and Saints v Quins look tasty. The Dragons v Southern Kings could be a good game between two poor sides. Sunday there is only one game in town; Wasps v Bath. Are all Wasps games on a Sunday? Isn't this unfair on the others.
I see Mike Brown is injured again. I go back to my point above. A longer season is not a good idea.
The papers focus on Jezza the Messiah, Ryanair the pariah, and Bombardier the non-flier. Me, I'm off to have my Bran Flakes whilst I can. In the new socialist utopia only Jezza Flakes will be available, and only then from the state controlled supermarket.
By the way. Can't wait for the Tory conference. That shower are guaranteed to deliver some great blog material, even if it is mostly incomprehensible twaddle.
Wednesday 27th September - 13:00
What a life I lead. This morning The Friday Club breakfast planning meeting at The Cross, then the dentist, now the blog. Six years ago I was jetting around the globe in style living the high life. Do you know what? I am more than happy with my lot right now.
To rugby matters, less about me....
Professor Allyson Pollock has again, and it is again as she trots this nonsense out every 12 to 18 months, got the press focussing on a non story. She proclaims to be a scientist but her report is not science it is a campaign document. A vendetta against a sport in which her son was injured in the distant past. By the way Brian Moore writing in his newspaper column supports my belief that this is about an incident that occurred with her son many years ago.
Nigel Owens tweeted that she'd soon be demanding kids no longer walk to school and all pens and pencils must be rubber to prevent injury.
Yes injuries happen in rugby and some of these are concussion but kids also get concussed playing basketball, soccer, netball. What gets my back up is there no mention of the benefits of sport from the physical to the social to the emotional. None! Not a single word. If any authorities take any notice of this campaign then they too are fools. We need councils and schools and youth bodies encouraging kids to take up sport. Get off their backsides and meet people through sport.
My final word on this is to praise World Rugby and the RFU on their stance with regard to injury at all levels of the game. Certainly at CRFC thanks to all the communicationa and directives and support materials no-one has any doubts about how important it is to play safe and keep players safe. I also praise them for being open minded about new initiatives such as changing age groups to size & weight groups, to remove leagues from younger age groups and for vigourously supporting continual improvements to the coaching of the game.
Prof Pollock: stop being a pillock and do some proper science. Look at child obesity, poor social skills in children, lack or motivation in kids today.
I think it is fantastic that women referees will take charge of men's internationals going forward. Joy Nevill and Alhambra Nievas are the first to be thrust into the limelight, albeit at low level of the men's international game but a positive step in the right direction me thinks.
Well Mr Brown, new head of the RFU, can I congratulate you on stating the bleedin' obvious. England should dominate the game. Yes England should indeed. With the money and resources at England's disposal of course they should.... BUT they don't. Why? The club's don't have England as a priority in the way the New Zealand franchises are all focussed on supporting the All Blacks and of course because in many English clubs the important positions are taken up by overseas players.
Talking of New Zealand they visit Argentina in the latest round of the Rugby Championship. No contest. The All Blacks by a mile. In the other game South Africa host Australia. Despite the Aussies return to form and the Boks drubbing by New Zealand I go the Boks, who I see have dropped the hapless Rhule for this one.
I don't want to spout on about my politics but whenever I see grandiose statements such as renationalisation and cancelling PFI projects and paying enormous pay rises I'm with Jerry Maquire; 'show me the money'. Once you've convinced me all these things are fully costed then I might support them. My second question comes from ignorance; why would a political party hoping to gain the support of hard working tax payers living in 'Middle England' try and motivate them to vote for that party by saying the party is planning for a financial apocalypse? Finally, whilst I am on a roll is a party right to use the slogan 'not for the few but for the many' when many of the 'few' include highly paid RMT members who constantly make the lives of the 'many' a complete and utter misery.
Tuesday 26th September - 09:00
Don't normally blog on Tuesday due to grandparenting duties but a window of opportunity has opened up this morning and three items are worthy of comment.
Once again Professor Allyson Pollock is banging on about banning tackling and scrummages in schools rugby. We who love the game CANNOT and MUST NOT ignore the issue of concussion in sport, especially rugby. I am sure being a professor her work, along with Prof Graham Kirkwood, is thorough. There is a big 'BUT' when it comes to her impartiality in this matter. I have reason to believe, but fully accept I might be totally wrong, that she has a son who suffered injury as a child whilst playing rugby. IF true then I can fully understand her motivation, and here is the 'BUT', her findings could be deemed to be biased and in danger of being used to justify her position as opposed to being well balanced.
I would like to see her research put alongside research into the impact of sedantry lifestyle and poor diet of kids today. This alongside a decline in social skills due to the overwhelming access kids have to technology.
There is no mention of the huge steps World Rugby in particular has taken in the management of and prevention of concussion and concussive injuries.
The article also fails to mention the almost paranoia schools have towards H&S and their obsession with children being and playing in a safe environment. In my mind there are already many safeguards in schools and this is a step too far, and in reality is likely to encourage kids to do less sport than they are already.
Finally, and I quote the World Rugby spokesman who quite rightly points out 'with appropriate supervision and coaching, rugby is a sport that empowers young people, builds confidence, shapes valuable life skills and promotes a healthy lifestyle'.
To Professor Pollock I say 'if you are concerned about young people then look at their diet, their lifestyle, their social skills, rather than going on a crusade that may or maybe not motivated by something that happened to a family member some time ago.'
The second piece dovetails into the point above; player welfare. If rugby is to remain credible in its assertions that player welfare is at the top of their agenda, as opposed to what might be top of the Premiership clubs agenda; revenue growth, then the season cannot be extended and tournaments compressed forcing players into more games not less. There are rumours from the players that strike action is not beyond the bounds of possibility if clubs don't start walking the walk with regard to player welfare.
Finally a public service message. Were you at Steel Cross on Saturday. If yes, did you see a car being damaged. A red VW Golf suffered damage from another car reversing into, or driving past it. If you did could you contact me and I'll act as a conduit to the aggrieved party.
Must go, almost time for swimming. Back tomorrow when we can, in an unbiased way, ask why is it right for politicians to advocate illegal activity.... IT ISN'T RIGHT! We can also discuss 'how quickly does money grow on trees, or how do we find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow'.
Monday 25th September - 09:30
Let's not mess about this morning, straight to it........
Thanet Wanderers stay unbeaten and top our league table after what looks a fairly comfortable 45-12 home win over Lewes. Bromley sit second after the narrowest of wins 27-26 at home to Folkestone. Bromley have played one game more than most. Early leaders Hastings & Bexhill lost at home 7-18 to Old Willies, a result that might be a surprise to some. Last weekend's opponents; Crawley, lost away to next week's opponents; Aylesford Bulls 34-12. In the only other game Old Dunstonians beat Park House 52-12 leaving Park House pointless at the foot of the table. Our fine 64-10 win over Sheppey leaves us in 5th. Early days yet and with only Thanet showing any sort of consistent form nothing can assumed from league positions.
In Sussex 1 Barns Green took a bit of a pasting; 5-61 from East Grinstead who remain top of the table on points difference ahead of Hellingly who beat Seaford at Seaford. Burgess Hill were comfortable winners over Eastbourne and Uckfield strolled past Ditchling. This league is a little lop sided in terms of standard which is why after 14 games the top four and bottome four go into their own mini leagues. I am assured by all involved the clubs are happy with this format and know some of the games will be mis-matches.
Moving up into London 2 South East Pulborough would have not enjoyed the long journey home from Dartfordians after being hammered 118-0. The guys from Sussex are rooted to the foot of the table and are now aware of how tough this league is. Hove remain top after a fine win over Dover. Horsham beat hapless Barking, now that is a fall from grace. Our good friends the Greenies register their first win against Old Alleynians. Haywards Heath narrowly miss out at Deal & Betteshanger and in the only other game my good friends Charlton park beat Beckenham. The next best placed Sussex club after Hove are Horsham in third spot on 14 points.
In London 1 South Medway are on a charge to achieve back to back promotions, this week beating Sevenoaks 41-24. Chichester are also unbeaten in second spot after a fine away win 10-20 at CS Rugby 1863. Brighton drew 36-36 in what must have been a cracking game at Cobham. The other notable result in this league is Havant beating Maidstone 52-36. OCs still can't buy a win and remain pointless after four games.
In London Premier Tunbridge Wells always knew this league wouldn't be a stroll in the park as lose away at Tring 16-6. Sidcup remain perfect at the head of the table on maximum points. As an aside last week's game Towcestrians v Westcombe Park was abandoned after a violent and sustained thunderstorm played out over the ground for some 30+ minutes. Unusual but obviously the right call.
Tonbridge Juddians continue their strong start to the season with their third win from four games, this time at home to Henley 20-14. Worthing had to endure the long journey home from Redruth after the narrowest of defeats 20-19. TJs sit 6th and Worthing 9th in the league. Kent side Canterbury are in 5th after beating bottom placed Old Redcliffians 24-34.
It wouldn't be Monday without a mention of Salisbury and Bridgnorth. The former beat Oxford Harlequins 62-13, the latter beating Bournville 19-47.
In yesterday's Aviva games Exeter ran out comfortable winners over big spending Wasps. Five tries to two says it all. Exeter played some really good stuff showing Wasps that money is not the only route to success, you do need skillfull players with commitment. Exeter's Henry Slade had both 'in spades' yesterday. Saints unsurprisingly beat London Irish. Irish will struggle to stay up based on yesterday's showing.
Billy Vunipola is out for four months after his latest knee injury. He says he would take a pay cut to play less rugby, which is an interesting position to take. He'll now have lots of time to continue his criticsim of the Lions coaching team despite NOT being on the tour, and to continue to express his undying love for England's Messiah; Eddie Jones.
Is it right for NFL players not to stand for their national anthem? Normally I would say 'no!' it isn't. In this case however as the Umpa Lumpa Donald Trump has waded in to the debate I think they have the right to express their opinion of him.
Is the earthquake detected in North Korea another nuclear test. I fear so. The lunatics are in charge of the asylums.
Angela Merkel wins a fourth term but against the backdrop of a rise in nationalism. I remain convinced Europe's open border policy is foolish and will ultimately prove Britain were right on this aspect of European policy.
Finally words cannot describe the hypocrisy of certain elements of her majesty's opposition. On the one hand their policies will plunge this country into unmanageable debt and take it closer to bankruptcy than it has ever been before. Pay rises, paying off student debt, more public spending, increased benefit spending and so and so forth. On the other hand they plan to tackle credit card debt. So which is it? Debt is good or debt is bad. For the record I am firmly in the debt is bad column. I don't disagree with the need to increase public sector pay and increase public spending but not if the price is unsustainable governemnt debt.
Yes, yes, I'm coming. I know my coffee is getting cold!!!
Sunday 24th September - 10:30
I must be doing something wrong, or I am going mad, or someone is editing this drivel after I post it. I know I wrote a blog yesterday and I know I hit the save button but it's not here. C'est la vie...... I am not going to try and reproduce in full but in essence I reviewed Friday night's games, made a few political comments and added some other irrelevant nonsense.
A much changed squad (again) took on Sheppey yesterday at Steel Cross. It was a significantly improved performance with the ball moving quickly from the contact areas out to the backs and they in turn using it effectively to break down Sheppey's defence. The support play throughout the side was excellent and this kept our visitors on the back foot, so much so that the four try bonus point was in the bag within 15 minutes. Tom McMahon and Gary Stephens were on hand at all times and some of their angles of attack were brilliant. The forwards played their part too putting Sheppey's large pack onto the back foot with quick turnovers at the tackle area and securing a solid scrum platform. As with last week veterans Damo Hayes and Richard Tasker led from the front whilst Andrew Orchard, Alex Purnell and Callum Main all made telling contributions.
It wasn't all plain sailing and praise must go to Sheppey for their efforts. A lesser squad would have capitulated after the opening onslaught but they didn't. When they got the ball their big pack was effective in driving forward and their backs tried hard to get the ball wide. Their two tries were well taken and it was a testament to them that they scored the final try of the game. Sheppey's efforts also were in vain due to some solid and hard hitting Crowborough defence. This was another improvement from last weekend over at Crawley.
The good crowd enjoyed the home win but the boys can't rest on their laurels. There are still a number of high profile absentees and a number of players from yesterday who are not available next weekend. Whoever plays must work on one area that was poor against Crawley and still a concern against Sheppey yesterday; the penalty count. The players are pushing the boundaries but that can't be at the expense of losing possession due to penalties conceded.
It was a rock solid performance against a side who are having a difficult start to the season but for such a young squad the men from Steel Cross played very well indeed.
The Crows enjoyed a win over at East Grinstead. It was a shame the 2s game was called off but thankfully that has been rearranged.
Full league round up tomorrow.
In the world of the giants Saracens win over Sale was no surprise. For the Fez Heads Billy Vunipola limping off must be a worry though. Quins v Leicester and Bath v Newcastle were very close affairs and both sound cracking games. Newcastle coming back in the last 15 minutes is tremendous for Dean Richard's charges and highlights the Aviva is not going to be a straight forward contest this season. Looking forward to the highlights on Channel 5 tonight.
In the Pro14 Scarlets v Edinburgh was thoroughly enjoyable with the Welshmen playing some excellent rugby to put one over Richard Cockerill's outfit. Cardiff have finally got underway with an away win at Connacht.
Exeter v Wasps will be well worth watching this afternoon.
In other sport the Labour conference is this week. Should be good for a laugh. Can't wait.
Thursday 21st September - 10:00
Despite Sheppey being beaten soundly by Thanet Wanderers last weekend the men of Steel Cross cannot take this game lightly. With many absentees again this weekend selection will be interesting. The game kicks off at 15:00. The 2s travel to Eastbourne and the Crows travel to East Grinstead where they take on their counterparts. I'll see you there at Steel Cross.
Two stories have caught my eye this morning. The first is the RFU are considering a proposal tabled by Premiership rugby that England and France should join the 6 Nations one week later than the other four unions. This apparently is all to do with player welfare. Absolute poppycock. This is again all about Premiership rugby trying to dictate how rugby is managed to their advantage. This proposal would mean that England and France would have to play each other on the third weekend of tournament which has previously been the rest weekend. So, the proposal condences the tournament for England from seven to six weekends and removes a rest weekend for the players. Mmmmm! So they don't get an international rest weekend and they play an extra game for their clubs. Which part of player welfare am I missing. The RFU would be mad to sign up to this and the other unions even madder to agree. At some point the Premiership clubs will get their way and the death knell for grassroots and international rugby will sound long and loud......... in my humble opinion.
The other news item worth reading is Sean O'Brien's criticism of Rob Howley and his belief that Howley in the main, and Gatland in part, were to blame for the Lions not winning the series in New Zealand 3-0. Criticism of Howley is not a new thing. Many in Wales think he has had his day and it is time for him to move on. Likewise many think a disasterous Lions tour might have seen the end of Gatland in Wales. Something many supporters of the Welsh Dragon wouldn't be too disappointed to see. That said the preparation time to face the BEST team in the world was woefully short and to come away with a drawn series was a good result. Would a different coaching set up have got a different result? I don't know. As is always the case how much of the outcome is down to the coaches, or in fact the players. In the piece O'Brien states Farrell and Sexton were driving the back line plan that worked in the second test. That might be the case but neither were at their best throughout the tour and the Lions were VERY lucky to have won that second test. Being Mr Cynical I just wonder if Mr O'Brien has a book coming out any time soon. Platitutudes and kind words don't sell books. Controversy does.
Looking ahead to the weekend will Worcester get their season going with a win at Gloucester on Friday? This is the Worcester who are seeking new investment as it is 'increasingly difficult to be profitable with rising costs'. Players wages he means.
In the Pro14 Glasgow v Munster stands out, as does the Cheetahs hosting Leinster. On Saturday the eyes are drawn to Scarlets v Edinburgh and Quins v Leicester. Sunday sees Exeter v Wasps which is probably the game of the weekend.
Having proposed anarchy at their conference anarchy is what the unions are going to deliver. Continued rail strikes. BA staff walking out. Heathrow staff walking out. Birmingham bin men still on strike, and so on and so on. I am all for pay rises where they are justified but they have to be paid for somehow. What I don't see are credible proposal on how that can be achieved. More cuts are not the answer which leaves taxation. The highest earners could and should pay more. Tax avoiders and dodgers should be hammered. Waste, particularly in the public sector should be tackled. There would still be a big gap to be filled. Please can someone tell me how that is going to happen without plunging the country into bankruptcy.
The tube drivers, who get paid c.£65,000 a year for a 35 hour week are going on strike over their work life balance. What a bunch of assholes. Most people have to work significantly more than 35 hours for significantly less than £65,000.
Ryanair. What a shambles. I hope none of you have been affected. This is a perfect example of how profit without customer service eventually comes back to bite you in the backside. If your profits come from treating your staff like slaves and your customers as cash cows then you get what you deserve. When I was working I had an awful experience with Ryanair and vowed, even if they paid me to fly with them I would never do so again. I hope that smug, arrogant Michael O'Leary gets the proverbial bloody nose over this debacle.
Wednesday 20th September - 08:30
The grandson's confidence in the water is coming along well thank you. Sadly he doesn't get to go swimming often enough to be a proper water baby but we are very happy with his progress.
Monday night was Sussex Rugby's general meeting. Reasonably well attended but not well enough in my opinion. Too many clubs can't be bothered. Sad really as Sussex have shaken themselves up and put together some good initiatives to support clubs like ours to grow the game, or sadly to arrest the decline in some cases. With employees of the RFU in attendence it is also an opportunity to air views on bigger issues and get those fed back into Twickenham. Obviously pricing grassroots support out of internationals is one topic and in some cases the RFU's perceived obsession with touch and women's rugby whilst ignoring the core grassroots men's game. On that latter point club's do have to point the finger at themselves sometimes.
Danny Cipriani, back playing some great rugby, is out for up to 12 weeks follwing his injury on Sunday. In the same game Haskell showed what a volatile muppet he can be BUT to be fair he was wound up by Joe Marler.
Cian Healey gets kicked off the team's flight from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town for not closing down his laptop. As you know I've flown a lot over the years and there must be more to this story than is being said. You don't get a plane turned around on the taxiway and a person marched off the plane for not turning off a laptop quickly enough. By the way I've been on a flight from Moscow to Heathrow when a Russian decided to phone his wife just as the captain fires up the engine and starts hurtling down the runway.
As an add on to the above just 3,011 people turned up to watch the Southern Kings host Leinster. Who says rugby is in a good place. The Pro14 expansion could be another dumb idea that will deliver nothing but more debt to the regions.
Stuart Barnes in his weekly SKY missive picks up on the woeful attendence in Philadelphia for Newcastle v Saracens. As he points out it is an expensive 'vanity project' that should be curtailed.
Rugby will again feature in the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Hoorah!
You know my concerns about grassroots rugby. It isn't just a local problem. WalesOnline carry a story how in the iconic WRU National Bowl tournament the opening round saw 20 games cancelled because clubs couldn't field a team. Work, family, stag do's, return to university and injuries all given as reasons. The piece is well worth a read and pretty much sums up what many of of us have been saying for a while about the game. It also highlights how cups have had their day with league being the 'nirvana'.
Another story that caught the eye on walesOnline is about Colin Smith. A talented rugby youngster who lost his leg when just 15 after a wound got infected by dog shit mess. Now in his 50s he is campaigning for all councils to ban dogs from all playing areas under the councils' control. I know CRFC's policy on dogs sometimes annoys visitors but after a serious event at the club some years ago IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. I am amazed that councils allow dogs onto playing areas where young people are encouraged to play. Take Seaford for example. A great rugby club with great members playing on pitches plagued by dog shit mess. It can't be right. Not the club's fault by the way. The council's ignorance is to blame in part and the unthinking and often selfish behaviour of dog owners is the key issue.
As much as wasting my time on politics is tempting I cannot move on without comment on the earthquake in Mexico and the Hurricane sweeping across the Caribbean. The devastation and death toll is tragic. Whilst there will be many who who will take to social media to bemoan their circumstances it is all too often the most impoverished in these areas who really suffer. Whilst Branson and the like have taken 'a hit' it is the poor who have lost everything, and in the case of Mexico those living in the 'shanty' towns who have lost family and friends need our sympathy the most.
Finally it comes as no surprise that a third arrest in the Parsons Green bombing has taken place in Newport. Newport has a large immigrant, often disillusioned popluation. A breeding ground ripe for radicalisation of the young.
Monday 18th September - 09:30
If you haven't read my thoughts on our game on Saturday then go to yesterday's blog first. I also wrote the match report this week so that'll give you another take on where we are.
Let's get into the rest of the results. Hastings & Bexhill stay top by virtue of them having played one game more and their 14-14 draw away at Folkestone. The eye-catching result is Thanet Wanderers beating our next opponents 5-75 over at Sheppey. Lewes impress with a 43-15 win over Old Dunstonians. Bromley also scored 43 points, this time against Park House, their shortest away trip of the season; 400 mtrs over the road. Park House managed 10 points in return. Last week's opponents OWs drew 15-15 with Aylesford Bulls. This was enough for the Bulls to push us into 5th spot and them into 4th. After just two games it is still way too early to draw any conclusions from the results.
Into Sussex 1 now. No surprise that East Grinstead beat Burgess Hill BUT in a very close, high scoring game. Good for the league that EGs won't run away with it and great for Hill to see them do well. Hellingly beat Barns Green, at Barns Green. Uckfield beat Seaford by a single point 14-13. In the only one-sided match Eastbourne went to town enjoying a 71-5 win over Ditchling. Grinstead top the table on points difference.
Leap-frogging us into London 2 South East the stand out score is Haywards Heath beating Heathfield & Waldron 38-24. I thought the Greenies might take this one but I know Heath are determined to regain past glories. In the other all Sussex clash Hove took the spoils away at Pulborough 25-54, a result which puts Hove top of the table. Horsham enjoyed their trip to Old Alleynians winning 19-36. Our friends at Charlton Park beat Barking, Dartfordians beat Beckenham and Dover beat Deal & Betteshanger. Barking and Pulborough remain pointless.
Onwards and upwards into London 1 South. Chichester beat Havant but are second in the table to CS Rugby 1863 who beat Brighton at Brighton. Sevenoaks enjoyed the relatively short journey home from OCs after their win. Maidstone lost at home to Tottonians. Medway enjoyed their short journey home from Thurrock after their 15-20 victory.
In the grandiose world of London & SE Premier Tunbridge Wells lost 34-36 to table topping Guernsey. Wells slip to 9th as a result. Towcestrians sit bottom with their game against Westcombe Park being abandoned.
In the National league TJs enjoyed an excellent win away at Clifton 14-24. Albeit 30+ years ago I remember Clifton to be a very tough place to go and get a win. Worthing's good start was brought to an end with a home defeat to Redingensians. Both Worthing and TJs are comfortably mid table.
Finally Bridgnorth lost at home to Birmingham & Solihull and Salisbury lost by a single point away at Old Patesians. I like the duck liver patesian myself.
To prove nothing is certain in sport Quins winning away at Wasps will have caught the eye of many, and pleased many too. From the bits I saw it was a pretty good game and Quins deserved the win. If the Newcastle v Saracens game was supposed to be an advert for rugby then the US fans, the few of them who turned up, will have been let down. Not a great game.
Elsewhere Lewis Hamilton wins again. What a carve up at the start. Vettell to blame me thinks.
It looks as if the police have got the perpetrator of Friday's bombing in London, and at least one accomplice. If the press reports are true and the bomber is a Syrian refugee doesn't this highlight the folly of the EUs open borders policy and vindicate Britain's stance of tight immigration controls?
Back on Wednesday when I can review my grandson's prowess in the swimming pool. Better than me slagging off Jezza and Maybe me thinks. Perhaps not!!!
Sunday 17th September - 09:30
The outcome of our return to Crawley after an absence of several seasons was disappointing. The game was poor, in part due to the players from both sides making basic handling errors and poor decisions, and in part due to the stop start nature of the game; the whistle was heard quite a lot. The team we fielded was much changed to the one that played so well last week. In fact, almost unrecognisable. You couldn't fault the commitment but you could challenge them on their ability to manage the game and being able to play to the referee, whose decisions at times left me baffled so I can understand the players frustration.
Did Crawley deserve to win? Yes, I think so. They played the better rugby and were more disciplined at the breakdown. They defended very well, and took their chances when they came. Did we deserve to lose? Actually when we got it right we played very well. Tom McMahon led from the front making some sniping runs as did Bertie Boast. Alex Purnell and Callum Main put in some punishing tackles and the old work horses of Richard Tasker and Damien Hayes put in a full shift. Actually poor old Damo finished eight minutes early after being shown a yellow card, VERY harshly, and probably, in my humble opinion, incorrectly.
The result will give Crawley a boost and is a setback for us. The coaching team are doing an excellent job so it is not the game plan or patterns of play that are the problem, it is player availability. The priority that is given to rugby is now lower on the players list versus work, social and family commitments. This isn't just a Crowborough thing it is a widescale problem. We the old farts and the players shouldn't be downhearted, the season doesn't finish at the end of September. There are 20 more games to come, and with players returning I for one remain optimistic.
Full league round-up tomorrow.
Are the All Blacks from a different planet? No, but boy do they know how to play rugby. What a performance. They simple blew the Boks away and showed the world how to play the game. Two moments stood out for me. 1. the skill of Beauden Barret to flick the ball behind him for Nehe Milner-Skudder to score. 2. Brodie Retallick's try was the epitomy of open fifteen man rugby. Simply amazing stuff. There is a caveat to this however in that South Africa will never fulfill their potential whilst they are not allowed to pick the very best 23 players. Overseas stars are excluded and they have to meet stringent quotas on the racial make-up of the squad. You know my view on this so let's move on.
Australia proved that rugby union isn't yet finished in their country. After a sluggish start they turned on the afterburners and put a tiring Argentina to the sword. A pretty enjoyable contest this with some good tries from both sides.
In the Aviva Leicester finally got a 'w' on the board and in Philadelphia Saracens ended Newcastle's winning start to the season.
In the Pro14 Leinster were victors over the Southern Kings and not surprisingly the Cheetahs killed off the Zebre. Ospreys still can't get going, nor can Cardiff. Glasgow came out on top in what was a pretty good game to watch. The Blues were better than when they played Edinburgh but still have much to do.
Wasps v Quins later on BTSport. That is if you haven't gone into an F1 induced coma from watching the Singapore Gra........ Zzzzz!
Saturday 16th September - 09:00
Just a few hours to go before our second game of the season. Newly promoted Crawley will no doubt offer up a tough challenge over at their place. Sadly no games at our place today as Horsham 3s had to pull out of the fixture with our 2s.
The big boys games did go ahead last night. As expected the Ulster v Scarlets game was thoroughly enjoyable. The first half was gripping, the second half was great. Some great tries and a high level of skill throughout. Ulster deserved the win being the better side overall. Scarlets have been brought back to earth and this is good for the season ahead.
Well done to the Dragons with a fine win over Connacht. This was a crucial result for the region after the investment made by the WRU and Newport RFC members. Edinburgh losing to Benetton Treviso was a complete surprise after their fine wins thus far.
In the Aviva Bath came crashing back to earth with Northampton Saints showing them how the game should be played. Another indication, like the Pro14, the season ahead is going to be unpredictable. Worcester losing to Exeter: normal service has been resumed. Sale Sharks finally get the show on the road with London Irish realising that their opening day win might just be a flash in the pan.
The All Blacks game versus South Africa is just about to kick off so I'm curtailing the blog for now. Back with a review of today's action tomorrow morning.
Before I go a mention of yesterday's attack in Parson's Green. The people who carry out these attacks are scum. If they don't like life in Britain, or France, Belgium, Germany or Sweden then bugger off to wherever their oppressive religious beliefs are acceptable. We cannot cower to these morons. Let us defend our freedoms. Life must go on. I'll see you later at Crawley enjoying their hopsitality and joie de vivre that rugby brings to society.
Thursday 14th September - 09:40
November 2018 all eyes will be on Twickenham. The ticket touts will be out in force. The mercenaries at the RFU will have launched yet another special 'must have otherwise you are not a supporter of the game' special edition shirt. Other than the touts tickets will only be affordable to the most affluent in society; union leaders, bankers, politicians and train drivers. By then you'll only be able to watch rugby on a special pay-per-view channel. Yes, the All Blacks are in town. By then both England and New Zealand will have their eyes firmly on the World Cup in Japan in 2019. Being serious about it it will be an important benchmark for both countries and therefore definitely one to watch.
Watching is exactly what Leinster's Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park will be doing as they are denied entry to South Africa. New Zealanders now need a visa before arriving at South Africa's borders. Leinster are trying to resolve the problem before kick off on Saturday against the Southern Kings. Visa requirements are not always obvious and do vary from country to country. For instance did you know Brits now need a visa to enter a Canada by plane. Anyway, someone should have known about this change as it was headline news when thousands of New Zealanders were denied access to the Super Rugby Final due to this very issue.
Plenty of rugby to look forward to this weekend. Our 1st XV are away at Crawley. The 2s are at home to Horsham 3s. The Crows are await