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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 42 of 75

42. Not Long to the New Season

Friday 26th August - 11:00

Don't forget the Joe Sandford fun day at H&W RFC tomorrow and the warm up games at East Grinstead a week tomorrow. Sadly I can't make either but I will be thinking of those taking part.

It comes as no surprise that Premiership bosses have voiced their concerns about the Cillian Willis legal action. They echo the views I expressed on Wednesday but are being very circumspect about the role of the slugs, aka injury lawyers in this matter. You can bet your bottom dollar they are lining up like the slimey black ones eyeing up the rest of my hoster. Let's see how this develops...... and my hoster.

Andy Robinson signs a new deal with Bristol taking him up to 2019. I'd put a fiver on the fact that if Bristol are back in the Championship in 2018 then the deal will count for naught.

Todd Blackadder must have the constitution of a saint to sit through 63 Bath games in preparation for his new role as Director of Rugby. He'll do well at Bath especially if his players stay fit and they adopt some of the steel Blackadder brought to Canterbury Crusaders.

The WRU and Warren Gatland has warned those not playing in Wales they are likely to be overlooked for selection in the Autumn internationals. Time will tell if they stick to that when the injuries start to take their toll.

Sarries fans will be disappointed to hear that Owen Farrell will miss the start of the season with a back injury.

George Ford can emulate Dan Carter says Todd Blackadder. Let me rewind. Maybe he won't do so well with thinking like that.

The next round of the Rugby Chamionship is on tomorrow. Quade Cooper will start for Australia. The mercurial Cooper will get a warm welcome, not, when he returns to his native land. His unpredictable style might just help the Aussies put the All Blacks under some pressure. Still going to be one way traffic though.

The Pumas will not change their attacking approach and this augurs well for another good game when they host the Boks. If you're still sober this could be one to watch. K.o. 20:40 on Sky. The 'Beast' Tendai Mtawarira will equal the Boks record as the most capped prop when he runs on on Saturday night.

If you are stuck inside this evening then there is the Currie Cup from South Africa. I'll be cooking, washing, cleaning, hyperventilating. We have the grandkids with us.

Leicester City in the Champions League draw. Is this a dream? No! Actually they have the easiest group but I still anticipate they will struggle in the rarified atmosphere of European football.

The Scaletrix is back this weekend with Lewis Hamilton being handicapped by an engine change. Having driven to Heathrow and back yesterday the M25 is more of a challenge me thinks than the procession known as F1. In truth the traffic was horrendous and for long periods we were in second gear doing 20 mph.

Outside sport the 'Tossers' Convention' in the US got underway with two heavyweight tossers Donald Trump and Nigel Farage taking centre stage. It was a throw back to 'The Muppets do the US'.

Lot of the papers lead with the Camber Sands tragedy and others with the horrendous events in Italy. Neither make good reading. With regard to Camber Sands I do find it somewhat worrying that some people are claiming it wasn't the lads fault for getting into difficulty. Their family and friends must be in our thoughts at this tragic time but why has everything got to be someone else's fault.

Finally you are advised to cut your alcohol consumption to 6 pints per week but the good news is women can now drink the same as men. I've known that for a while having been married to Mrs Bleater for 38 years. We all know the issues alcohol can cause but we also know the pleasure alcohol can be a catalyst for e.g. social interaction, but can the nannies trying to molly me and you sod off and let us make our own sensible decisions.

PS did you catch sight of Jezza The Liar taking up two seats on a Virgin train. It's feast or famine for Corbers I'm afraid.

Wednesday 24th August - 13:00

After three days of intensive work at the club I don't know which part of my body is aching most. Great work by The Friday Club. The place is looking great. Thank you all of you.

It had to happen didn't it. The slugs, also known as injury lawyers, are about to ruin our great game. Before I get into details I want to be clear that me, and I guess no-one else involved in our great game wants to see any player injured, and definitely not injured so that their professional career in the game is ruined.

A former Sale Sharks player is to sue the club for alleged clinical negligence following a career ending concussion incurred in March 2013. The basic facts are on The HIA test was not in place then so the player continued when perhaps he shouldn't have. Now the question here is doesn't the player himself have some responsibility in deciding to play on or not? If you look at Saturday and Matt Giteau. He had a broken ankle but didn't know it. He did not want come off and that was clear. Whose responsibility is it? If the club's then from today we might as well pack up and go home because everytime there is the faintest chance that an injury might result in a lawsuit the player will be off. We'll end up with 15 players on the field and 20 subs just in case there is the slightest injury. Rugby is a contact sport and everyone who steps onto the field (as an adult) knows the risks. If these parasitic lawyers get their tenatcles into the game then it will be the beginning of the end. We cannot, must not and in most cases will not take player saftey lightly but this has to be controlled by the game itself and not influenced by the fear of lawsuits.

To reinforce my point that Eddie Jones needs to be wary of the growing number of overseas players taking places that would otherwise be available to England qualified players I read Ryan Bevington is on his way to Bristol from the Ospreys. Of course you can always solve the problem by bringing in non capped players and waiting the ridiculously small period of three years for them to qualify. Apparently Kim Jong-Un is in talks with Wasps. He'd make a fine prop.

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin will hold the Pro12 final in 2017. Handy as it is likely to be between Leinster and Munster.

The Pro12 are also keen to move the 6 Nations so they can include a North American side in the tournament. A pipe dream me thinks. The regions are all strapped for cash as it is so I don't see how this makes any sense.

There is a good piece on on why Joe Marler missed the Australia tour. Well worth reading.

One story dominates the papers today; Jeremy Corbyn and the missing seats. This is a classic case of a young ambitious PR person who sees an opportunity by concocting a story about no seats and identifies a way to exploit it. What happens then when the plan starts to fall apart as there are plenty of seats available. You fake it to fit the message you want to give. That message is about renationalising the railways. Good on Richard Branson for biting back at this shameless publicity stunt. YES, overcrowding is a problem, YES something should be done about it but faking stories and thus destroying the message is stupidity at best.

PLEASE NOTE CRFC are proud to be included in Joe Sandford Day at H&W RFC on Saturday. A great fun fun day with lots of games to watch and lots of teams supporting. Our friends from T Wells, EG and Uckfield are all sending a team. It starts at 12:30 with all proceeds going to the Joe Sandford fund who suffered life changing injuries in a car crash in New Zealand.

Tuesday 23rd August - 07:00

What an amazing day yesterday. A Friday Club of 12 loyal, hardworking volunteers cutting grass, marking pitches, mapping cables, digging trenches, clearing space for a pop up bar, reorganising the advertising boards and doing various other crucial pre-season work. Today the focus will be on improving the drainage in various areas around the grounds. To those involved - THANK YOU!!

September 7th. An important date for two key reasons: 1. it is Bleater's 60th birthday. I know I don't look anywhere near 60. After yesterday I look more like 80. 2. The 2017 Lions coach will be announced. I will be amazed if it is not Warren Gatland.

What a shame! The injury sustained by Matt Giteau looks very serious. So serious it could be career ending. He broke his ankle during the New Zealand encounter. Rob Horne, Giteau's team-mate, could also be out for a while as he is due to have reconstructive surgery on his shoulder.

Sadly even before the domestic season has started Northampton's Tom Stephenson will be out for some while after breaking his leg in a pre-season friendly vs Rotherham.

Perhaps the French money is drying up as Louis Picamoles is set to run out for Northampton. I hope Eddie Jones is keeping his eye on the influx of overseas players taking valuable places away from England qualified players. Hey Ho!

So the Olympic honeymoon is over and we are back to normality. The labour leadership is hotting up. Corbyn looks set for a convincing win as the left, the far left and the hard left all mass behind him. Based on what has been said to date the policies he is pushing amounts to spending what we haven't got, give to those who haven't got any desire to work and pay for all this by taxing people who are already taxed heavily. Again Hey Ho!

The Olympics were magnificent and 67 medals was an amazing result...... as long as you think c.£275m from the National Lottery is a good way to spend lottery money. Me, as someone who loves sport, I think it is.

Kim, the lad who runs North Korea with an iron fist has called the recent defector 'scum'. Dear Kim I bet there are millions who would love to be called scum by escaping your regime. As the US and South Korea rattle their sabres on the border Kim threatens to turn the US and South Korea into a 'heap of ashes' if he feels the war games are a pre-cursor to invasion. Let us be thankful Donald Trump is not in power.

As I head off to dig more ditches I can put this nonsense out of my mind. I'll be too knackered to worry about Kim boy!

Sunday 20th August - 10:00

Firstly let me start with news from Canada. I found out on Friday that Lawrence Ross, son of County President Elect Gavin, former Crowborough player, and a player who passed through my hands when I was coaching has been selected to represent Canada Rugby league again. Great news and good luck against Fiji.

Before I move on to Saturday's internationals let me ask a question: 'can we sue the BBC weathermen and women under the Trade Description Act?' Saturday was supposed to be wet and windy in Biblical proportions. It was a long way from that and therefore made watching rugby all day somewhat problematical with Mrs Bleater. Anyway...........

Bugging the All Blacks meeting room obviously did not pay off. Whoever did it was unable to feed any valuable information to the Australians as they were blown away in 40 minutes of unstoppable rugby. On several occasions the commentators used the word 'masterclass'. I can not find a better description as the All Blacks simply steamrollered over the gold shirts every time they had the ball. Beauden Barrett wears the crown relinquished by Dan Carter superbly well. His game awareness on top of his undoubted ability makes him the world's best player right now. The second half was a more even affair, in part due to the men in black taking their foot off the gas, and in part due to the Aussies raising their game.

Even with their European based players back in the fold the Australians were simply not up to the task of holding the All Black tide at bay. This now leads on to 'there is bull, complete and utter bull and Bleater's Blog' as I leap to some conclusions. There was great euphoria at England's three nil triumph down under in June. It could now be argued that that triumph was not as momentus as first thought. The Aussies didn't have their European players for that series either. The second leap is everyone has written Wales off after their three nil defeat at the hands of the All Blacks. Outside the final test, unlike the Aussies on Saturday, Wales held the men in black for long periods. In fact for long periods Wales were the better side. So............

Yes England have improved but maybe not as much as everyone thinks and the announcement of the death of Welsh rugby may be a little premature.

Having expected the South Africa v Argentina to be a turgid affair we were served up a cracker. Yes it was brutal at times but for long periods the game ebbed and flowed with brilliant skill levels being countered by bungling mistakes. The inclsuion of The Pumas in the southern hemisphere tournament has enabled them to move up the world rankings in some style. They are clearly a force to be reckoned with and having a team in the Super Rugby set up will enhance this situation further. The Boks on the other hand will continue to be hamstrung as they are forced to select players on a quota based system. If the Boks were able to pick the best 23 players on ability and form they would be much tougher to beat. A debate for another day. A great game nonetheless.

Two additional comments from Saturday. When will World Rugby start to insist that players have to be behind the back foot at the ruck. 'Behind' means 'behind' and not alongside, or in the case of the All Blacks in front of the back foot. At the scrum there is a 5m space so why can't the referees demand at least some clear space between the back foot and the defending player. The second point is the worrying number of serious looking injuries from the two games. They detracted from an otherwise great advert for our wonderful game.

Before closing what another wonderful day of Olympic sport. Second in the medal table, some wonderful achievements and some great ambassadors for Great Britain. Well done Mo Farrah in particular. Amazing!! I love it when when Mrs Bleater is screaming 'go on, kick her. Go on, kick her in the head!' Oh how I love taekwondo.

What a complete mess; the disqualification of our 4 x 400m squad. How pedantic. My view is simple. The first man starts on the blocks when the gun goes off. The last man finsihes on the line. A few millimetres over a line during a handover make no difference whatsoever me thinks.

Possibly no blog on Monday but I guess most of you won't read this nonsense until Monday anyway........ I will be at the club with rest of the Friday Club digging drainage ditches.

Friday 19th August - 08:45

Starting with June Jones, mother of Wales legend Adam Jones, might seem strange to you but very sadly she has died from serious head injuries incurred in a fall at home. Mrs Bleater and I had the genuine pleasure of meeting Adam's mum and dad, Alwyn, in New Zealand where we spent some time with them on an excursion to Skippers Canyon. A lovely couple. We were then lucky enough to meet them again in Australia during the Lions tour. Amazingly for us they recalled our first meeting some two years earlier. This was the type of person June was. My thoughts are with Adam and his dad on this sad day.

The ITM Cup has kicked off in New Zealand. North Harbour beat Counties Manukau yesterday and Northland take on Manawatu today. Watch out for Hawkes Bay. Our very own Bill Rohipa is in the 2016 squad. He got plenty of game time last season and hopes for more starts this time around.

Several Wallabies will run out tomorrow with their heads shaved in support of Christian Lealiifano who is battling leukaemia.

Round two of the war of words goes to Steve Hansen. He is bigging up New Zealand and heaping all the pressure on Australia. 'Everyone wants to down the All Blacks so no change there for them but after the Aussies run of defeats they must be under pressure', so says Hansen.

Sarries big money spinner at Wembley this season will be against Quins on April 8th. I won't be there. My sister is getting married so I'll be in Kettering on that day.

As expected The Boks strengthen their pack for the clash with The Pumas. Two Rhinos going head to head might sum up this game me thinks.

On the injury front good news for both Wales and England as Justin Tipuric and Jonny May are both on the comeback trail. Tipuric is already back playing (a friendly in Belgium) with May looking for an October return.

An interesting piece on Townsend as the new coach in Scotland. Well worth reading as it highlights how voracious English and French clubs in snapping up all the rugby talent they can are, including coaches.

The GB medal table got spinning again. What about those Brownlee brothers? Fantastic. Welsh wonder Jade Jones retains her Taekwondo title. Me, I thought Ellis and Langridge were great in the badminton. A bronze worth its weight in gold most definitely. Can't wait for the hockey tonight. Come on GB.

The Olympics hasn't all be sunshine and smiles. The USA swimmers lying after their drunken antics in downtown Rio is awful. The actions of the Irish and European IOC chief caught selling tickets to a tout is disgraceful. The green diving pool was an embarrassment but.........overall it is great stuff. It removes you from the reality of life for a fortnight. Dreading it ending and having to dissect the Labour leadership battle etc, etc.

Finally look for how the US tax man is treating the US medal winners. Wow! Get your cheque (check in US) book ready guys and gals

It must be Friday, it must be Friday Club, it must therefore be raining.

Thursday 18th August - 09:50

Mr Miserable aka Vern Cotter is on his toes and the affable Gregor Townsend will take over from June 2017. Whilst it could be argued that Scotland's Big Vern, not to be confused with Crowborough's Big Vern, has brought an edge to Scotland and delivered a more cohesive and dynamic side the consistency of the change has been patchy. Scotland could have so easily been in the semi-final of RWC 2015 if Craig Joubert had taken a different course of action. In contrast they failed to impress in last season's 6 Nations. Cotter has also trawled far and wide to find any player of class who qualifies for Scottish selection. This has been a little divisive with foreigners who haven't played a game for either of the Pro12 regions coming straight into the starting line-up. If Townsend can replicate his success at Glasgow Warriors and as a Scottish and British & Irish Lions player then Scotland will be in good shape

Joe launchbury to skipper Wasps. Has Dai Young made the mistake of picking his best player as captain rather than someone who is truly motivational on and off the field. Launchbury seems such a nice, mild-mannered guy I wonder how he will fair. I also hope captaincy doesn't see his form go backwards as has happened to many in the past.

The All Blacks have gone for Beauden Barrett as starting #10 for the Bledicloe clash on Saturday. This is headline news in some quarters as if this is a major shock. Come on, Barrett would have been first on the team list based on current form. This is an All Black side still in transition post RWC2015 but in my humble opinion a side that is way too strong for the Aussies.

The GB women's hockey lit up yesterday's Olympic coverage. A blank day otherwise for GB as far as medals are concerned. There are two more boxing medals guaranteed plus the sailing gold to be confirmed. Today's highlight could be the Brownlee brothers. Usain Bolt will steal all the headlines as he strolls the 200m in the early hours of tomorrow.

The sport has been magnificent and whilst I admit to being ambivilent before the first starting gun was fired I am gripped now. I remain dispondent about the vast array of empty seats across many of the sports. Thankfully the stadium was almost full last night but I guess that was the Bolt factor. Brazil's economy is nowhere near the top of the medal table and with the commodity market struggling it will only get worse. I fear Rio 2016 will leave a massive financial legacy but most definitely a negative one meaning the Government will struggle to pay for the tournament for a VERY long time to come.

The saddest news of all coming from Rio is the fact that some 50 countries may withdraw from the Paralympics due to lack of funding both from home and Brazil, this compounded by the fact that a paltry 12% of tickets for the games have been sold. The contestants in the Paralympics are amazing people who have battled against adversity, some very severe indeed, and for the games not to be supported or possibly not to happen would be tragic.

Outside sport the Labour leadership battle comes in and out of the papers. The news that 2.2m EU migrants work in the UK is one headline. Another states that it has risen by 200k in the last year. Why if unemployment is falling, as it is, is this a problem? So let me work this out. We say on your bike to 2.2m people. Where do we find the same number of people to fill the gap they leave. Possibly from the bone idle Brits who milk our over-generous benefits system or from...........? Yeah, give it some thought. I guess if the Daily Express had their way we'd all be making our own coffee in Nero's or serving our own food in Wagamamas or look after yourself in hospital or......

To counter the above, IF any of the 2.2m are not paying their taxes, and are working outside the 'grid' then yes, on your bike back home please. If they are claimimg benefits and sending that money home then on your bike to be sure.

Finally to those of you have kids and are now getting the news on their A-level results I wish you good luck.

Wednesday 17th August - 09:00

So London Irish are looking to head back to London. They are exploring a move from their current Reading home to Brentford. It makes sense as the Brentford ground is smaller and more intimate than the Madjeski Stadium. Playing in front of wide open empty stands can't be that motivating and with the fickle nature of supporters some will drop off the radar as London Irish battle away in the Championship. London Irish vs Ealing Trailfinders doesn't have the same ring as London Irish vs Northampton Saints.

The RFU have come under fire for launching their SEVENTH kit in two years. It is not only me that thinks this is exploitation of fans at its worse.

Closer to home the boys at Steel Cross have been training hard and confidence is high ahead of the season. Don't forget the warm up game at East Grinstead on September 3rd.

The weather is not looking as good for the weekend so let's be thankful for the Rugby Championship kicking off.

The Olympics continue to amaze and GB's performance to date has been stunning. What a night in the velodrome but it is the medals won by Jack Laugher in the diving and Nile Wilson and young Amy Tinkler in gymnastics that make it so much more special. More medals on the way too.

The French, Germans and Australians have been asking questions in a pretty pointed way on how does GB cycling do it. How do they manage to peak so perfectly for the Olympics? What a bunch of whingeing muppets. Talk about sore losers. Remember that for every finger you point there has to be three fingers pointing back at you. (Try it). In essence GB cycling is very well funded by the lottery, many of the riders are on professional teams, they adopt the very best in sport from kit to psychology, have great training facilities and employ the very best coaches. Quid Erat Demonstrandum.

Isn't it refreshing to be reading about Laura Trott pedalling her bike to success rather than about Anjem Choudray pedalling hate. Sadly prison is too good for the likes of him.

There was I praising the BBC for its demographically and ethnically well balanced line up of contestants for GBBO when wham! they come under fire for having the female contestents wielding pink icing and the men with blue icing in a publicity shoot. Do me a favour! Haven't the people who complained got better things to do. The economy is on the edge of a precipice, terror and hate is on our door step, every day young people are being killed on our streets for no more than the price of a burger, the NHS is a mess and so I could go on. Get a life!!!! Stop this PC bullshit and start talking straight about issues that matter.

For the benefit of the Daily Star Celebrity Big Brother is NOT one of those issues. The rail ticket price hike is an issue and as I said yesterday beggars belief that Southern in particular can get away with it.

Finally, especially if you haven't seen it, go on line to and look at the Russian diver making a complete horlics of his dive in the Olympics. Take more drugs or have some Red Bull to give you wings me thinks. Other sugar, caffeine laden, chemically enhanced energy drinks are available.

Tuesday 16th August - 08:45

My lad's birthday today. Happy birthday David..... have a good one.

The mind games begin with both Steve Hansen and Michael Cheika winding each other up before the first of the Bledisloe Cup games on Saturday morning. K.o. 10:30 live on SKY.

South Africa recognise the power of the Argentinian scrum and are planning to neutralise this threat when they go head to head. Both games should be bone crunching encounters with New Zealand and South Africa coming out on top.

I am keen to see how the Aussies fare after the losses to England in June. This will give a marker to how good England are, or not of course.

Yet again the Olympics served up some delights for us to enjoy yesterday. For me the No.1 highlight was Sophie Hitchon winning bronze in the hammer. This is a girl who has come from nowhere, who was not expected to medal and with her last throw snatched the bronze. Her face was a picture and her joy was infectious. Loved watching that happen.

Being a fan of Le Tour Mark Cavendish winning silver was great too. He seems like a genuine bloke so good on him for his efforts.

Not sure I understand dressage but the Charlotte of the Garden did a splendid job, or so I am reliably informed, in getting her horse to prance around in time to music better than the Germans got their horses to prance around.

As we bask in the glory of winning medals reading the tragic news that the German canoe coach died in a car accident in Rio should bring us all back down to earth. Stefan Henze just 35 years old.

Former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson dying during a taser incident with the police is covered in many papers. Another sad tale of a young talent wasted and a young person going tragically off the rails.

The are lies, damned lies and statistics so the research produced by the trade unions that states rail fares have increased at double the rate of wages since 2010 might need to be read with caution. That said UK rail fares are extraordinarily expensive vs Europe and I believe there is a much more than a modicum of truth in this research. Fares have gone up resulting in some cases commuters having to pay an eyewatering proportion of their earnings simply to get to work, and for the train companies to talk about fares going up further beggars belief. Come on Mrs May, you have the power to stop that.

Did you know that a significant proportion of our rail and bus companies are owned by French and German transport companies who in turn are owned by the French and German governments. This in my view is VERY wrong. If you compare rail fares in France and Germany with those in Britain you could argue that you the British commuter is subsidising your French and German counterparts travel. If Mike Loadsa Cash was to kick up a stink about this then I would be fully behind him.

Hoorah, the Great British Bake Off is on its way back. Twelve amateur bakers going head to head for this years crown. The good old BBC politically correct as always has ensured the mix of contestants is as demographically and ethnically balanced as one of Mary Berry's recipes.

As the Gatwick flights are landing from the West today not much to see so let me give you an areoplane fact. A frequent flier over Crowborough is Easyjet's A319. This has 26 rows of 3 x 3 seats, a 156 seats in total. Rows 10 & 11 are the emergency exit rows giving extra legroom, at an extra cost of course. This compares with Ryanair's 737 which has 189 seats, 51 of which are offered as premium seats.

Please let there be rugby news tomorrow.

Monday 15th August - 09:30

Can I thank The Friday Club for their efforts last week. They continue to work tirelessly for the club and without them I dread to think what the grounds might look like. Dave Bristow has worked miracles on the pitches and they are looking superb. In recognition of these efforts The Red Arrows did a fly past at about 09:45 on Friday straight over the grounds. It was much appreciated.

Seriously it was an amazing sight as they flew very low straight over the mini training area and on towards Tunbridge Wells.

Other than the Currie Cup, which appeared to have been watched by one man and his dog, there is very little rugby news to discuss. The Rugby Championship starts this coming Saturday. As team news and squad gossip is circulated I will comment. I am surprised that the Top 14 also starts this weekend. They finished late in June and now they start again. This doesn't seem right. When do the players get to rest?

What a weekend in the Olympics. Team GB sitting second in the table after a medal rush including Max Whitlock, Justin Rose and Andy Murray. It has been superb for the Brits but two of the world's true superstars have rightly captured the headlines: Bolt and Phelps. What amazing athletes who have dominated their sport. Inspiring? Most definitely. I love the fact that there are only 31 countries in the all time medal table ahead of Phelps and a massive 135 countries with fewer medals than him.

Before the games started I struggled to get motivated but now it is in full swing it is great. Sadly, very sadly indeed, the stadiums are far from full. I watched some of the badminton when the Adcocks were taking on the Danes and the only people watching were the 10 or so games volunteers. The issue is the ticket pricing, and of course the Brazilians are just simply obsessed with soccer. There was a full house at the tennis final and obviously for Bolt in the main stadium last night most seats were taken but I fear the Brazilians will be a long way short of their revenue target when the final sums done.

The Premiership football season kicked off last weekend and normal service has been resumed.......... Leicester City losing and failing to impress, the Gunners fans calling for Arsene Wenger's head, Mourihno being an arrogant ass and before a ball being kicked talk of the first manager to be sacked.

More horrendous news about unprovoked attacks, this time in Switzerland. It is not all one way traffic either as a Muslim cleric and his assistant are attacked in New York. It takes the gloss off an otherwise glorious weekend.

All of the papers lead with the Olympic success which is great. Two stories caught the eye however. The Daily Express are urging Theresa May to stop dragging her feet and get us out of Europe. Whilst I wanted to stay in I think they are right. Prolonging things will only make matters worse......... unless of course Hollande and Merkel get hammered in their upcomimg elections. The Daily Mail claim success in getting the law firm who has for years 'hounded our troops' with spurious claims. Whilst there is much to applaud our law firms for and much in our legal system to be proud of these parasites aren't one of them.

The Muppet of the day has to be Louis Smith. A guy who has been a great ambassador for British gymnastics and has been a fine role model for sport in general blew it yesterday with his spoilt brat sulking after losing to his team mate Max Whitlock. To blub, to claim the result was bullshit and to snub Whitlock made him look a fool.

Time to go, the weather forecasters have said it is going to be glorious today............ so I am just digging out my umbrella and pullover right now.

Friday 12th August - 08:30

Ok, Ok, yet again Bleater's ability to forecast is at the same level as his ability to be cheerful. On the floor.

What a final two games in the Rio 7s tournament. It was sad to see the surprise package Japan being put to the sword by a ruthless South Africa. It was definitely a game too far for the men from the Far East. They have lit up the tournament with their play and despite going home empty handed they are still worthy of a heroes welcome back in Tokyo. South Africa were simply too good and showed the form that I had assumed would take them to gold. Too late for the perfect storm but bronze nevertheless.

The Fijians ran out winners in the final in what turned out to be a disappointingly one-sided affair. One-sided not because GB were poor but one-sided because Fiji were simply unstoppable. The quality of their play in that last game was sensational. The off-loading was just brilliant and when combined with their aggression at the breakdown and their speed over the ground this took them to the coveted inaugural Olympic gold.

GB, like Japan, can hold their heads high and be proud of their achievements. They were not expected to reach the final so silver is a very, very fine result indeed. Whilst it could argued I am biased but I thought James Davies of Wales was GB's standout player of the tournament.

Whilst Rugby will be at Japan 2010 its inclusion after that is in doubt. I would say to the Mandarins at the IOC look at how well the rugby was supported, especially vs many other events in Rio, but more importantly how rugby better represents the ethos of the Olympics than many, many other sports. Despite knocking lumps out of each other on the field the bond and the friendship off the field is always evident. The way the players conduct themselves and the respect they hold for the officials and their opponents is a given.

If you doubt this point then you only have to watch how the three medalists conducted themselves at the medal ceremony. It would have been easy for Fiji whilst making history with their countries first ever Olympic medal of any sort, and winning the first ever men's rugby gold, to have wanted to celebrate on their own. No, they wanted the GB and South African squads to be part of their joy. The photo of the players intermingling together on the podium will be one of the endearing ones of the games and epitomises everything that is great about rugby.

Two side stories before I get ready for Friday Club. One relates to the Japan v SA game. What a complete arse! Who? The referee. Japan are losing by 47 points and there is only 40 seconds left on the clock. Yes it was a deliberate knock-on but come on have some empathy. Japan have been brilliant and you being a pedantic whistleblower took a little of the gloss off the day.

Now, as I sat there at midnight last night Mrs Bleater came out with a key question. Is Princess Anne dying her hair. History is being made and here we are debating hair dye.

The cyclists are off and running. Another gold. Well done Katherine Grainger, history maker, and of course Victoria Thornley. An excellent result in the canoe too. Another all round good day for GB.

Before moving off the Olympics what about that Michael Phelps? Can we make him the next President of the USA?

Another terrorist attack, this time in Thailand. More on this tomorrow.

Finally I wasn't going to pontificate on the RMT and their Eurostar strike but as my outburst at the RMT spokesman speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning woke Mrs Bleater I will. She would normally berate me for using bad language but having checked the dictionary definitions of the words allowed me this indiscretion. I stick by my comment, which appears shared by many; if you bone idle lot want a better life/work balance do something else and allow some people who would be happy to earn what you earn with the hours you work to do the job.

Friday Club here we come.

Thursday 11th August - 10:15

Wow, what series of 7s matches yesterday. Has a 14 minute 7s match ever been so gripping? GB v Argentina was fantastic stuff. What a sensational extra time, and on balance the winners not necessarily being the better of the two sides. Great stuff.

All that before New Zealand were sent packing by Fiji, who in my opinion are second favourites to South Africa, and amazingly the superb Japanese side sending France into the battle for the lower places.

The Aussie v SA clash was much more one sided than expected but of the matches the most brutal.

Here it is...... Bleater's forecast..........
Fiji v South Africa in the final. South Africa to win
Japan v GB for Bronze. GB to sneak it.

It all starts at about 18:30 if you plan to watch. Most of you will be stuck at London Bridge exasperated at Southern Rail's inability to get a train to run on time however.

The Chiefs fans will be dismayed to hear that Jack Nowell is going to miss at least ten weeks of rugby due to surgery on a thumb. That is better news than Sonny-Bill Williams being out for at least nine months.

It was sad to read that Colin 'Pine Tree' Meads has cancer. Meads was one of the superstars of the game as I was getting involved in rugby at the tender age of 11.

Elsewhere in the Olympics what a very good night for GB with plenty of medals to celebrate. It is wonderful to see these young people who have dedicated much of early years to their sport enjoying such success. Even those who didn't quite make the podium did amazingly well and should be massively proud of their achievements.

Lots of great Olympic stuff to watch today, including the start of the cycling in the velodrome.

If that isn't your bag then the final test vs Pakistan starts today. Test cricket can be pretty dour at times but this series has been fascinating.

Outside of sport surprise, surprise the RMT have called off today's and tomorrow's planned strike. This on the day that The Times has revealed that Mike LOADSA Cash earns an eyewatering £126,000 per year, him and his executive committee claimed more than £60,000 on expenses and the RMT members funded nearly £7m on salaries and expenses for union employees. (Full story in The Times).

What a HYPOCRITICAL b'stard. This is a man who stands on a platform and berates the fat cats in the banking industry for their high salaries, criticises MPs for what they earn, dislikes anybody in a management position, yet is happy to cause people who are working all hours to put food on the table the maximum discomfort by preventing them getting to work. This at a time when he is taking home FIVE times the UKs average wage.

As I cut the lawn yesterday, because I can, because I took the decision to get my work/life balance in order, I thought of my description of Cash as an Economic Terrorist. Is it libellous I asked myself. Well Mr LOADSA Cash, get your fat cat lawyers to come talk to me because I think that is exactly what you are. Look up 'economic' and 'terrorism' in the dictionary and then tell me you are not attacking the economy with 'the systematic and orgainsed use of (violence* and) intimidation to force a government or community to act in a certain way or to accept certain demands'.

* Now I FULLY accept that Mr Cash is not a violent man and violence has not been used by him or his members in any way shape or form but the rest of the description is 100% accurate.

Let's move on before I have to take another blood pressure tablet.

Today's fascinating fact. The Emirates A380-800 that you see over Crowborough has 14 first class closed suites and 76 buisness class seats/beds in the upper deck and 399 standard seats in the lower deck.

Finally Eastbourne Airborne starts today so keep your eyes open for some great aircraft passing over.

Wednesday 10th August - 10:00

Let's get straight into it............

Japan. After the shock of them downing South Africa during RWC 2015 who would have thought they would have beaten the mighty, all conquering New Zealand 7s side in Rio 2016. It wasn't lucky either. They deserved it!! They were more aggressive, quicker in thought, more adventurous and more accurate in all aspects of their play. Well done the men from the land of the rising sun.

It didn't end there as they nearly turned over GB. GB had looked mightily impressive against Kenya and must have thought 'it can't happen twice and this will be easy enough'. They were in for a shock. A draw would have been a fair result. GB look good but so do the South Africans.

Nice to see a larger and more engaged crowd for the rugby but still lots of empty seats. One of which can now be filled by the luckless Sonny-Bill Williams whose tournament is over with a nasty sounding Achilles tendon injury.

As I am now finally back at home I have access to the red button so can gorge on the Olympics. Anything to avoid decorating!!!!

Before moving off rugby Fiji are living up to their pre-tournament favourites tag and will be tough to beat.

Elsewhere what about the green diving pool. I recall being on holiday in Madeira when that happened to the hotel pool. The filtration system broke down and algae started to form pretty instantly. I fear that is what has happened here. Digressing for a moment, what a horrendous situation in Funchal where forest fires are now raging on the edge of town and threatening to engulf key tourist hotels.

The women's gymnasts, the women's divers both missing out by very small margins was a shame but what about Johanna Konta? I watched the last set of that gripping encounter. A stunning, stunning performance. Well done Murray who cruised through his match in just over an hour. That is a third of the time it took me to get from Salisbury to Crowborough last night.

A couple of silvers in the pool. Could have been gold but do you know what..... still brilliant for GB.

Got lots to do today around the house but Froome in the time trial and more rugby are on the agenda.

Now, I am in danger of contradicting myself after my missive on work / life balance a few blogs ago. It appears that the Trotskyist, Economic Terrorist Mike Loadsa Cash and his union intend to bring Eurostar to a standstill over work/life balance on one of the busiest weeks of the year. I stick by what I say work/life balance is IMPORTANT but this is another strike that is about causing the most discomfort for the British (and French) public. If the VERY HIGHLY paid train managers on Eurostar want a better work/life balance then they can go and work elsewhere. Go and drive the miniature train on Crowborough's miniature railway if you want to chill out. You CANNOT have it both ways. If you want the big bucks (and the travel perks) then you have to take the pain that goes with it.

Dear Comrade Cash when your members are back at work please ask them to look out of the window and spot the thousands of migrants in Calais desperate to get to the UK. Migrants who would bite their arm off to work on Eurostar for less pay and doing longer hours than your members. As I have suggested before perhaps the Pyongyang rail network might be more suited to your political bent.

Before I go and lie down what about that ffffnnnnn idiot Donald Trump. How on earth is it possible that a person can suggest his rival in the presidential race could be gunned down. This man could have his finger on the nuclear button soon. Heaven help us all if that happens.

Finally, because I might as well be Mr Completely Grumpy this morning, can I ask all those who voted for Brexit and its consequences, and asked for the Australian system of immigration which you want to emulate, especially how they manage illegal immigration, that you read the front page article in The Gruaniad and be ashamed, be very ashamed.

Let there be aeroplanes over Crowborough today. I need the relaxing therapy of plane spotting.

Tuesday 9th August - 14:30

Today's blog is sponsored by Southern Rail and endorsed by the RMT union. That is why it is shorter than normal and severely late. The spell checker is on strike because the thesaurus has been withdrawn from this service. To compound matters the union members who drive the correct use of grammar have called in sick so grammatical errors will be more noticeable than usual. Bleater apologises for the inconvenience but like Southern Rail and the RMT he really doesn't give two hoots about what you the reader thinks.

So the GB women's team blew it as they imploded against New Zealand and then didn't have a clue against Canada. In essence both NZ and Canada were much more aggressive and street smart at the breakdown and more alert to what was in front of them in open play. Being a player, or two, down doesn't help.

The final was a cracker and well worth waiting up for. Hasn't the women's game come on leaps and bounds. The skill levels are excellent. Well done Australia.

What a shame there were so many empty seats. This has been a feature of every event to date. Not a great advert for the organisers and a sure fire way of adding fuel to the 'we should never have agreed to host' debate that is raging across Brazil.

Lots of talk about Dylan leading the Lions. A bit early to discuss this me thinks but a good shout nonetheless.

If you have been frustrated by my 'rugby is getting more and more like soccer' comments then just go on-line and read about England launching yet another new kit. Money, money, money............. from you, and you, and you.

Do you watch PMQs? If yes then you will have watched Jeremy Corbyn reading out mails he has received as part of his six questions. Well Jezza, two can play at that game. I have received a mail from Paul in Thanet, and unlike your mailers mine definitely exists...... of course it is only alleged that yours Jezza are not real. Anyway, Paul has advised me of how the Australians are dealing with the growing issue of clubs below the top levels paying players. In essence they are dealing with it ruthlessly. Much more heavy handed than the RFU me thinks. If you don't read anything else today read this....... (cut & paste into your browser)

Tomorrow I am hoping for a mail from Mike Loadsa Cash answering my question about why overground is different to underground and driver only trains are acceptable in the latter. By the way this dispute won't end amicably as both sides are more entrenched than the plantains on our A Pitch.

Finally I did smile when I saw the story about the guy who managed to evade desk staff at Barajas Airport in Madrid, run down the air bridge, clamber off the end and run across the apron to try and stop the Ryanair aircraft from leaving without him. Madness but very funny.

Monday 8th August - 10:30

As expected The Hurricanes beat The Lions to take the Super Rugby crown. I haven't watched it yet but from what I've read The Hurricanes adapted better to the terrible conditions and took their chances, two of which were gifts, when they presented themselves.

The GB women have cruised into the semi-final of the Rio 7s. They looked mighty impressive against Canada and Fiji in particular.

The sad news of the weekend is Christian Lealiifano being diagnosed with leukaemia. Let's spare a thought for him and his family as he starts on a difficult journey, hopefully to recovery.

The Aussies are not taking the Rugby Championship lightly as they recall five of their French based stars into the squad. The first game is on Sat 20th August.

In other sport well done to Adam Peaty and Jazz Carlin for getting our presence on the medal table underway.

Leicester City went down to Man Utd yesterday in the traditional season curtain raiser. By the way I was at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Great win for England over Pakistan. Having looked down and out on day two this was a splendid turnaround.

I guess for many of you the RMT strike and the chaos it is causing is top of your minds. You know my view on this subject. Lets move on.

The grammar school debate will be fun...... Not!!

Lizzie Armistead fails in her bid for Olympic gold........ good!!

Russia are banned in totality from Paralympics........ good!!

Christopher Biggins in another Big Brother storm...... who gives a damn!!

CRFC are proud to be a part of the Cowboys & Indians (no offense intended) fancy dress day on Sept 3rd. This includes warm up matches for 1st, 2nd and 3rd/Vets XVs vs East Grinstead RFC. Details on the news page.

Also watch out for the invite to join The Friday Club who need YOUR help in finalising key tasks before the season kicks off. W/c Aug 22nd is when YOUR help is required.

Friday 5th August - 09:15

Let me start with young Sam Smith.


Sam has had to retire at the age of 26 due to a recurring biceps injury. He was playing at Worcester last season but will now turn his attention to his new speciality coffee shop in the city.

Yes but why are you telling us this? Well, when Sam was at Harlequins he spent the day at one of the Quins Summer Camps being held at our great club. He was just breaking into the 1st team then and had been part of the England 20s set up. He was delightful with the kids and a great ambassador for Quins and our game. I wish him well in his new venture.

So it is true Wasps are now the Toulon of English rugby. Buying up any and every overseas player they can. South African Willie Le Roux joins them from Japan where he was plying his trade. Oh how I fear rugby is heading the same way as soccer. The only thing that matters is money.

Exter Chiefs have been urged to change their name by a Native American expert because the use of 'Chiefs' is offensive. Well Dr Rachel Herrmann let me tell you what is offensive........ the fact that a swimming pool in Luton has segregated men and women's swimming with women being relegated to a much smaller pool than the men. At the same time strict Islamic guidelines have been introduced regarding dress codes. This is a PUBLIC pool not a PRIVATE pool and I find it VERY offensive that these draconian rules are being foisted on the British public. When I last checked Luton was in Bedfordshire, UK and not a suberb of Islamabad. Sorry for the rant but I am firm believer in the principle of 'when in Rome do as the Romans would do'.

Anyway back to the Chiefs business. Again this is political correctness gone mad. We should be proud of what Exeter, and in fact Worcester, have done for our great game. They rose through the ranks with the unstinting support of a loyal and generous backer, a committed coaching team, a determined bunch of players over the years, and the amazing support of great fans. They now sit at the top tabel of English rugby. This is what we should be looking at and not pontificating about a name. There are many more offensive things in life than this........ you just have to be Welsh to know how hard it is being called 'Taffy' afterall.

The Super Rugby draws to a close tomorrow. I hope to watch but being on the road might make it difficult. Have set it up to record though.

The Olympics kick off officially tonight but the small crowds at the soccer so far and the protests don't portend well for the games.

Before I move on I have been following the resignation of the marketing executive from Saatchi & Saatchi following his comments about women lacking ambition. Now this is offensive and quite rightly he has gone but...... I think some of what he said was fair though and it might be worth some considering his point. Some women are more likely to forgo ambition, promotion, chasing the dream in order to achieve a better work / life balance than men. They are more able and willing to weigh up the options and the benefits and therefore are in a much better place than men to make what is obviously a tough decision. I see nothing wrong with this viewpoint and believe there are too many people, men and women, chasing the dream at the expense of all else. Afterall who do you hear on their death bed say: 'I wish I had spent more time at the office'.

It is worth considering that if Clinton beats Trump in the US election, oh please let that be the case, then three of the most powerful countries in the world will have women at the helm. I think that would be FANTASTIC.

Wednesday 3rd August - 09:15

Firstly many of you will know Hugh Jenkins, referee and frequent social visitor to CRFC. A fine Welshman to boot. Sadly Hugh has had a heart attack whilst in Swansea. I am delighted to say he is making a good recovery already but will need a period of recouperation back to a semblance of full health. I wish him well, as I am sure many of you will.

I have scoured the papers for anything vaguley rugby related and have come up with zilch. Therefore let's look at three controversial stories and allow Bleater to indulge in giving you his personal opinion.

Lizzie Armistead. A fine cyclist, a fine British cyclist, BUT, a cyclist who missed three, yes THREE, drugs tests. Now, my view is if I had written 'a fine RUSSIAN cyclist' we would all be screaming 'cheat'. As she is British we all seem to have our heads in the sand. Not me. I think she should be banned, and banned now. All elite athletes, particularly those who are receiving generous funding, know about the tests and there is therefore ZERO excuse for missing one, let alone three. This is a hypocritical and embarrassing stance.

The High Court has deemed that a drug to prevent HIV should as a matter of course be prescribed to those who ask for it. There are plenty of preventitive medicines available in the UK: MMR jab, flu jab are but two examples so prevention is not a bad thing. In fact it is a good thing. HOWEVER, in the case of HIV in the UK most cases are as a result of lifestyle and behaviour choices and could be prevented by changes in said lifestyle and behaviour. I don't know the answer but will ask the question anyway: 'is it not the case that this will allow allow healthy young men (in the main) to use up valuable and limited NHS funds to maintain a lifestyle, this possibly at the expense of a young person requiring life saving but expensive cancer or cystic fibrosis treatment?'. As I say I don't know the answer but.........

For the record HIV is a scourge in Southern Africa. Here I can see significant merit in starting preventitive measures to halt the march of this terrible ailment.

Finally, and maybe not controversial at all but it is a question to ask: 'Who is the most dangerous person in the world right now?'

a) Donald Trump - who could soon hold the trigger to the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world
b) Kin Jong-un - a man who controls his people with an iron fist and wants to have an nuclear arsenal big enough to obliterate the world
c) Vladamir Putin - a man who already has a finger on the trigger

My view is b) by a very long way. The two others have, or will have sufficient checks and balances in place to prevent Armageddon.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday 2nd August - 09:30

Where does the time go? Here we are in August already and as I look out of the window it feels like winter is back. A truly miserable start to the day. This contrasts to Sunday which was a glorious day. A day spent in Salisbury with the family.

Anyway, less about me, more about rugby.

As expected The Huricanes overcame The Chiefs with a degree of ease on Saturday. Is Beauden Barrett the best player in the world right now? It was, unusual for Super Rugby, a stop start affair for long periods but thankfully lit up with moments of brilliance. The scrum was a mess at times but overall I enjoyed it as a contest.

The Lions were unstoppable at home against The Highlanders. I was surprised at the win and most definitely surprised at the magnitude of the win. Some of the play was superb with another fly-half; Elton Janjies stealing the show. I am pretty sure home advantage and being played on the high veld made a huge difference. If you've been to Jo'Burg you will know that the altitude does make life difficult especially when you are exerting yourself.

Moments of the games; Barrett's break and the subsequent off-loads, Jantjies inch perfect cross kick for Kriel's try.

So Nigel Melville, who effectively has replaced Rob Andrew at the RFU, not before time as I have always said Andrew should have gone after the RWC 2011 debacle in New Zealand, has brought his mate Dean Ryan in to replace (sort of) JC as head of international player development.

Agustin Pichot has been voted most influential person in rugby *. Good!! Let us hope he gets to grips with this ridiculous residential rule urgently. Nathan Hughes is a perfect example of what is wrong about the current rules. He has been here for three years so he qualifies to play for England. This is nonsense. Three years is NOT long enough and all the rule is doing is denying, in this case Fiji, the opportunity to have a top flight player playing for them and inspiring youngsters in Fiji to play. Nothing wrong with him playing in the UK but come on....... this residence thing is rubbish.

* full story on

In the same squad announcement out went Cipriani and Ashton. No surprise in either case. Luther Burrell's international career also appears to be over, certainly as long as Jones is in charge. The full squad is online and better writers than me are dissecting its make up.

The latest round of Scaletrix was, as expected, 10 seconds of brilliance by Hamilton and then 'follow my leader' for 67 laps. Didn't see it because the paint drying was fascinating.

Rio is just a few days away. For someone who loves sport I am genuinely finding it hard to get motivated by the Olympics this time around. I am sure the minute the first event gets going I will be gripped.

Can you believe a soccer player will be transferred for £100m and then get paid £300k A WEEK for his services. This is madness........ in my mind at least.

Thankfully the news is full of mundane stories, unless they affect you directly. Bernie's mum-in-law has been freed. Cameron's cronies getting gongs is a farce and WRONG. Trump is shooting himself in the foot with his big mouth gaffs. Hoorah!

Finally, you know it is a slow news day when the Welsh language is a major topic on BBC breakfast news. Must go.......... off to Welsh Japanese class.

Friday 29th July - 10:00

I was supposed to be at Friday Club this morning with the other elder statesmen, however it wasn't to be. Here I am in damp and dreary Salisbury with the grandchildren whilst my daughter is undergoing day surgery at Southampton General. She's got a screw loose....... a bit like her dad....... but this one is in the knee and has to be removed.

Have trawled through the papers and obviously the big rugby story is the announcement that Nick Easter is to retire. He has been a loyal servant to Harlequins and England and will be sorely missed. Do you put him in the same world class category as say Gareth Edwards or Ritchie McCaw or Willie John McBride? I am not sure, but for certain as a player of great skill and courage, determination to win but to win the right way, and for being a superb role model for youngsters to follow he is right up there. I have never had the pleasure of meeting him but from what I have read and seen he is fine man and will be missed by the supporters at the Stoop.

The other story of note is the arrival of Todd Blackadder as Director of Rugby and Tabai Matson as Head Coach at the recreation Ground, Bath. This is a big coup for the West Country outfit. Luring a top coach away from a top flight Super Rugby franchise is a big story. This pairing might just be what Bath needs to get them back to the pomp of the 70s, 80's and 90's.

Matt Giteau is forgoing two months wages to play for Australia in the upcoming Rugby Championship. He is probably not losing that much as the ARU are surely paying him to play. He was definitely missed when the Aussies played England recently.

South African coach Coetzee is looking for his team to play expansive rugby in the same tournament. Good luck.

The four teams in the tournament have also expressed an interest in playing at least one game in Europe next season........ depending on the success of this Argentina v Australia game.

Yet another round of the Scaletrix 'follow my leader' happens this weekend. This time in Germany. The only show in town is Hamilton v Rosberg so I will probably be watching the paint dry as this is likely to much more exciting.

Bernie Ecclestone, another money obsessed, power crazed person will probably have other things on his mind. £28m other things. Is he going to pay the ransom for his mother in law or not? That is the question.

Don't forget the Super Rugby semi-finals tomorrow. Definitely back in Crowborough for those.

In other news I was delighted to see Nicola Sturgeon losing in court. It does seem as if the Big Brother state is going a step too far when you want every child to have someone watching them and therefore snooping into their parents behaviour. The arrogant piece of work has said she is going to implement the initiative anyway. This is the sort of behaviour that indicates to me that the only person she is vaguely interested in is herself. This level of arrogance is unacceptable.

Talking of unacceptable is the fact the RMT have called yet another series of strikes over the driver only issue. I still haven't had an answer to my question; if it is ok on the underground then why isn't it ok on the overground services? However, and there is always a 'however' where Southern are concerned, don't you think announcing the closure of many ticket offices and the loss of jobs associated with that move is like pouring petrol on a raging fire. That said when in Berlin recently there was not a ticket office (or a ticket barrier) in sight and everything worked brilliantly.

Finally, and on the subject of train travel, I was horrified to have to pay £41 for a trip from Tunbridge Wells to London and back with a short journey on the tube. This compared with a similar trip in Berlin which cost €7. Daylight robbery.

Wednesday 27th July - 12:30

Here I am in Bridgnorth. A town resplendent with colour. The streets, the bridge over the river, many shops and many houses have dressed for the traditional Bridgnorth in bloom summer season. It looks great. It is a town, albeit a little off the beaten track, well worth a visit.

Anyway it looks as if the 6 Nations won't be moving. This in no small part due to the new £225m deal the RFU have concluded with the Premiership clubs. England will now have guaranteed access to players during the relevant international periods and clubs will be compensated handsomely for said access.

One negative outcome is young Sam Underhill, an England star in waiting will not be selected as he has committed to play for another two seasons for the Ospreys. This coincides with the conclusion of his studies at Cardiff University. The RFU have made it clear a) they won't fund a move for him to a premiership club and b) won't select him if he doesn't move voluntarily.

One of the coaching opportunities Stuart Lancaster had his eye on has gone. Nick Stiles has been appointed coach of the Queensland Reds

Good news for Wales as Dan Lydiate is well on the road to recovery.

Yet another incident in France. How the cycle of murder is going to be broken I don't know.

Political correctness or sensitivity? A 2014 episode of Fireman Sam, a great kids programme by the way, has been withdrawn because it depicts a page from the Koran being flown into the air after a pile of various papers was trodden on. PC madness in my mind. It is over sensitive and being blown up out of all proportion. We should not desecrate or insult anyone's religion but this a simple slip up. By making a fuss it becomes something it isn't. After all the murderer of an 84 year old priest was said to be a faithful follower of the Koran. Surely this needs more attention than an episode of Fireman Sam.

The Russians are flying into Rio, not all on aeroplanes apparently.

So it is Trump vs Clinton. The end of the world is nigh.

Corbyn remains under pressure, this at a time when the RMT are not only causing mayhem on the railways they are also causing havoc on the North Sea oil rigs. Any excuse for a strike me thinks.

Anyway, must go. Mum needs picking up from the hairdressers but not before saying hoorah!! British lamb is back on the menu in the US after a 20 year absence. If Trump gets in we must consider the real possibility that British lamb might be considered a terrorist threat and he might retaliate with a full nuclear strike against UK sheep farmers. Hey ho!