Wednesday 15th June - 09:15
Ok, ok, let's cut straight to the chase. Chiefs 40 - Wales 7. There is no other word for it other than 'embarrassing' and 'embarrassing' with a capital 'E'. This wasn't even the strongest Chiefs side by a long way. The men from Waikato were simply in a different class which proved that the All Blacks will dominate world rugby for a very long time. Whilst not the quickest #10 in the world Stephen Donald was the ringmaster yesterday with an outstanding performance.
The men in red lacked a cutting edge, looked heavy legged in defence and persistently came second in the contact area. You can't make any excuses about a weakened side. There were seasoned international players out there bolstered by front line troops as the game progressed. This will be a body blow ahead of the 2nd test and I fear the All Blacks will run riot on Saturday.
Let's move on............ please.
I got to watch the Australia v England game last night. England were worthy winners with a rock solid performance in both defence and attack. James Haskell played well, as did Owen Farrell. George Ford, after much recent criticism, played with authority when he came on. There was an ambition previously lacking under the Lancaster regime which freed up the exciting white back line. The late Jack Nowell try made the scoreline somewhat flattering as Australia played well for long periods, and in my mind had a perfectly good try wiped off. The obstruction was marginal at best and Burrell's histrionics were over the top.
The game was fractious at times which spoilt the spectacle as did the incessant resetting of the scrum. The authorities need to have a word with the Aussie coaching staff who impeded Mike Brown and prevented a quick throw in. This is unacceptable and must be stamped out immediately.
I thought, except for scrum management, Roman Poite had a good game, as did Wayne Barnes in the New Zealand v Wales game, except that is for ruling out THAT try for a forward pass. It was never forward.
Today, after catching up on the 109 e:mails I haven't read yet (I got less when I was working), I will turn my attention to South Africa v Ireland and the Under 20s Championship, which I am informed has been excellent to date. Thanks Tim.
As is often the case on a Wednesday can I direct you to Barnes 'talking points' on the Sky.com/sports. Some good comments worthy of a read.
Joe Marler has blotted his copy book again with an obscene remark towards Bob Dwyer on Twitter. We know Dwyer is a dick but when will Marler learn?
All of the above and all of the games ahead pale into insignificance when you read of the sad death of Ronan Costello, just 17 years old, who tragically died after being injured whilst playing for Huddersfield Giants Academy vs Salford. It is heartbreaking to hear of such tragedies whilst playing a sport you love. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
The USA - the land of the free, and the locked and loaded. I despair as I read about the Georgia gun shop selling semi automatic assault rifles at a rate of 15 per hour. Georgians will be better armed than most armies around the world. That isn't the worst of it. There is a Tennesse lawmaker who is giving away two AR-15 assault rifles as door prizes at a family hog-fest and turkey shoot. I don't quite see the connection between 'family' and shooting turkeys. You do need to bring your own rifle and ammo and of course remember those turkeys might be gun toting family members.
Tuesday 14th June - 07:30
I have just returned from Dorset where I have spent the last four days with 28 school kids and four staff from the school where she who must be obeyed teaches. The outward bound centre is so remote that mobile and e:mail connection are but a dream. So much so I was able to arrive home last night without knowing any of the weekend's rugby results.
I haven't seen it yet but I have read as many of the reports as possible and it seems as if England's rise pheonix like from the ashes of RWC 2015 is progressing amazingly well. Having been under the cosh early on England battled back with three good tries to secure a well deserved win. I should be able to watch the game today so a more informed view tomorrow.
I have watched the New Zealand vs Wales encounter and I think it is fair to say that for an hour Wales were the better side and not even the most one eyed All Black fan could argue with that. The final quarter however was a different matter. The men in black purred into a higher gear as Wales began to flag. They proved they really are a different class. The team ethic, off-loading, support play and speed of thought was unbelievable. It was irrelevant what number was on the shirt, in open play backs and forwards were the same........ simply brilliant.
Talupe Faletau, Alun-Wyn Jones and George North showed they too were world class and some of the Welsh play was the best we have seen for many a year. The ball went wide from quick won ball at set piece and the ruck area and the accuracy of pass was as good as we have seen. Sadly it wasn't enough. Whilst there was some aimless kicking it was not the incessant aerial battle of recent games.
Sadly Wales have lost North to injury for the rest of the tour so those about to run out against the Chiefs in an hours time have a chance for a test start.
I haven't seen the Ireland game yet either but what a fantastic win for the men from the emerald isle, marred only by the CJ Sander red card. This game is on the viewing schedule for Wednesday.
I see sledging is alive and well with Eddie Jones being particularly unhappy with the pre-match antics of Fox, the broadcaster, and the inane questions during the post match interviews.
Obviously having not seen the rugby results it is only now that I am catching up on the horrendous violence in France committed in the name of football. These people are animals and are a disgrace to the game and this great country. The Russian thugs are often have military or police backgrounds and are seriously dangerous. I fear the coming weeks will see more violence and more embarassment for England. Please don't let the historic England v Wales (who top the group) clash be marred by violence, nor the fan zones where ticketless fans will congregate.
It also beggars belief that a human being can walk into a night club with a heavy duty army approved automatic weapon with high capacity clips of ammunition, all bought legally, and murder in cold blood 50 innocent people. USA - when will you realise that your stupid gun laws means you will reap what you sow.
Got to go grandson duty beckons.
Thursday 9th June - 21:00
As a post script for Thursday I see that Eddie Jones got my e:mail and went for Farrell at 10, Yarde on the wing, Burrell in the centre. He however ignored the Itoje idea and went for Robshaw. This is a very strong looking side and with Australia making three changes I go for England by a couple.
In the other games you already know I think the All Blacks will stroll it against Wales........ sadly. Scotland should overturn Japan but this could be a cracker. The game of the week could be the Bokke vs Ireland. I go South Africa by 10 points though.
I went out for lunch today and on the road to Handcross via Turners Hill there is a big 'Vote Leave' sign which the orchestrators of have had to add 'please stop vandalising this sign' which in turn someone has added two words, the second being 'off'. Priceless!
Thursday 9th June - 07:30
The Summer Ball - get your tickets now please. Time is running out and tickets are running out. See this website for how to pay.
The Big Kahuna - the tickets for this VERY POPULAR event on July 2nd are also going fast. See this website for how to pay.
I was hoping the England team to face Australia would have been announced overnight but it hasn't. It does seem Farrell will get the nod over Ford with the latter droppping to the bench. No surprise as Farrell has been on form, Ford has been off colour. It is rumoured Luther Burrell will start in the centre and Marlon Yarde to replace Jack Nowell on the wing. The Maro Itoje question will be answered later. The more I think about it I would give it a go with Launchbury and Kruis in the second row.
Wales have announced their side and no surprises with Ross Moriarty filling the gap left by Lydiate and Tipuric. It is a strong side with a strong bench HOWEVER Wales are going to have to raise their game SIGNIFICANTLY if their are not to be humiliated.
Kieran Read has the honour of leading the All Blacks. It seems strange to see a new Zealand side without Richie McCaw at seven. Due to retirement there are six changes which according to former All Black coach John Hart gives Wales a sniff of a chance.
The Saxons team to face South Africa A has been announced. This is a pretty inexperienced side but the idea of a Saxons tour is a sound one. The game is on SKY tomorrow night.
Is Dominic Chappell the most odious man on earth right now. His mis-management of BHS beggars belief. It could be argued he is a first class crook.
Don't you just love the French. Basically the country is on strike..... AGAIN! Good luck if you are going to or through France shortly. One question. If the French employment laws are so good and wages so generous why aren't the thousands of migrants in Calais wanting to stay in France rather than get to the UK?
Blogs maybe few and far between before Tuesday sorry!
Wednesday 8th June - 08:00
Wouldn't normally start with Scotland unless it is to discuss the merits or otherwise of Sturgeon or Salmond. The merits never take long of course. Anyway what a wonderful start to the U20 World Cup for the Scots as they overcame Australia in their opening game. A great result.
The Wales v Ireland game was a cracker with Ireland deservedly running out winners. They played with more precision and passion despite an early onslaught by Wales. The men in red were sloppy at times and as with the senior side a little one dimensional: crash, bang, wallop up the middle.
England, as expected beat Italy. Harry Mallinder stood out and pulled the strings throughout.
Japan were magnificent for 40 minutes but were then put to the sword by South Africa and surprise, surprise New Zealand thrashed Georgia. In the other game Argentina beat France.
The teams for Saturday's full internationals will be announced shortly so comments on that tomorrow.
So Eva Carneiro is now a very rich woman after yesterday's agreement with Chelsea. It is a shame that Mr Arrogance himself wasn't forced to make a public apology, not only for his stance towards Carneiro but also for putting his win bonus ahead of player health and welfare.
Did you get caught up in the carnage that was Tunbridge Wells yesterday morning? The traffic was horrendous as thousands took to the roads as Southern Rail staff had a mass epidemic of 'bolshitis', a common affliction amongst RMT members who don't give a shit about you the travelling public who pay their wages. This was compounded by the trains from Hastings to London being cancelled due to emergency engineering works at High Brooms, which was further compounded by road works on key London bound routes. The perfect storm. Oh! how glad I am I don't have to endure the communte any more.
So it's Trump v Clinton. Please let it be Clinton. Armaggedon awaits if Trump gets in. The worry is that Bernie Sanders is not standing down despite Hils getting the requisite number of delegates to win the nomination. This approach could hand 'Hang 'em high' Trump the presidency on a plate.
The politically correct BBC have questioned the right of England fans at Euro 16 to wear mock knights armour as per the Crusaders of the middle ages. They say its offensive to Muslims. Are these the same Muslims that slaughtered innocent people in Paris and Brussels recently and are murdering hundreds of their own in Syria and Iraq right now. Racism is abhorent and should be condemned at every turn but come on this is a bit of fun and an opportunity for English fans to show their support. Of course when England crash out before the knockout stage..... again.... they might want to don their Morris Men outfits.
Finally next seasons 1st XV fixtures are out. Go to www.rfulondon.com and the news section to find them.
Tuesday 7th June - 08:00
I do worry about our great game when I read that even before a ball has been kicked in anger this weekend that injuries are making the headlines. Aaron Jarvis has flown into New Zealand as cover for Wales' Paul James whose calf injury is slow to recover. England's Ben Te'o sits out training following a head knock in training.
The big story for England followers is whether Maro Itoje will replace Chris Robshaw on Saturday. This makes sense with the wealth of talent England have in the second row and the magnificent form for both club and country that Itoje has shown since stepping up from the U20s.
I see that despite Sarries massive debt they are still attracting new talent to their set up. Scotland's Sean Maitland and South African Vincent Koch are on their way. So much for Sarries growing their own trees.
Don't forget the U20s kick off today and the Top 14 is still up and running. A plethora of rugby this weekend.
For those who follow the round ball game the Euros 2016 kick off on Friday. I note with some interest that the England paraphernalia available to buy is more limited than previous tournaments. The retailers have finally learnt that England's early exit from these showpiece events is guaranteed.
There is a good piece for the Welsh on the misconception that rugby is Wales' game. When you look at participation, the fan base, the quality of the top teams, and the sporting legacy soccer, allegedly, wins hands down. Go to BBC.com to find the Radio 4 podcast.
Time is running out for getting tickets for the Summer Ball. Contact me or Graysey or better still find the info on this site.
Tickets for the Big Kahuna event on July 2nd are also going fast. Again this site for more info.
The AGM is Friday July 1st. It's your club. Be there....... please!
Dr Eva Carneiro vs Chelsea FC. It was wrong, she was wronged, Mourihno was wrong BUT how unseemly it has got now money is involved as she turns down a £1.2m payout.
Finally the liar and the cheat Tony Blair continues to defend the indefensible ahead of the Chilcot report. Muppett
Monday 6th June - 09:00
Half term is over and I am back in the UK after doing some 'Leave' vs 'Remain' research in the wonderful city of Berlin. More on this later.
Let me start by apologising for not being at the Crowborough Fun Day on Saturday but obviously I was away. Thanks to Nigel Jarvis and a cohort of families and their children the club was BRILLIANTLY represented......
A HUGE thank you to all of those who gave their time, goods and / or services: Adam Westmoreland, Helen Veitch, Greg Hillman, Paul Ritchie, Sheldon Rogers, Caroline Hill, Jez Hill, Franco Picco, Jon O'Keeffe, Paul Harding, John Lamplugh, Shaun Hamilton, Sandra Hemple, Josh Jarvis, and Dave Bennett.
The feedback I've read and already heard about is amazing. This is why I love this club. You are a credit to our great sport and also to our town. THANK YOU.
The internationals kick off next weekend. The Wales management team are bigging up their chances of creating a shock by ending their 63 year wait to beat the All Blacks. A Leicester City style shock? Sorry, but as passionate as I am about Wales, there is no chance. The All Blacks are in a different league.
England have arrived on Australian soil with Eddie Jones already being targetted for some abuse. 'Abuse' might be a little strong but if you have been to Oz or have watched Nothing to Declare about Australia's border controls you'll know how fastidious they are about smuggling and immigration. He got pushed into the baggage check area for a long winded and thorough check. The mind games begin.
Despite Australia's second place ranking I can see England winning three zip. The way Wales were dispatched is an indicator of how Jones has turned around the Red Rose in a very short space of time.
The Under 20 World Cup kicks off tomorrow. This is always worth watching. Sky Sports if you have it.
It would be wrong not to mention the sad passing of probably the greatest sportsman of all time; Muhammad Ali. May he rest in peace.
Ok, so back to Berlin. Mr Cash and Mr Kahn please note that we took the Berlin Express and then the U-Bahn to the hotel for the massive sum of 3.30euros per person. A journey of 40 minutes. It was on time, there were no ticket offices just very efficient ticket machines, an on board customer services manager and most definitely not the wrong kind of sun, snow, rain or trouble making union members bringing the network to a standstill. The other notable fact was there was not a single barrier to be seen. Every journey was done on the trust of the travellers to pay.
Did the trip help me make my mind up about the EU vote? Actually it did..... a little.
Monday 30th May - 11:40
SUMMER BALL - Tickets are going fast. If you have not booked yours yet get your skates on. All the details are here on this website.
WALKING RUGBY - Yes there is such a thing and it is catching on fast with old codgers like me and The Bard. Would you like to have a go? We are thinking of running some sessions at the club over the summer. A bit of fun, a bit of exercise, plenty of social interaction and perhaps, just perhaps a few beers and a sandwich afterwards. Open to all regardless of sex, age, EU in or out, or religion. Dogs and RMT are NOT welcome. Interested - let me know.
Sunday 29th May - 18:00
Last night the awards dinner was a hoot. Dress code: Hawaiian shirts, club tie and club blazer. The speeeches, except maybe for mine which by default has to be a little more serious, were excellent. Striking the right balance between humour and summarising the season just gone. The team, especially Sandra and Jacqui, were great, and the organisation was spot on. Thoroughly enjoyable.
One downside was John 'Damper' Sayer being in hospital and not making it. We wish him a speedy recovery.
It was also sad to say a farewell to 'Andy 'Bones' Barker who is retiring as the club's osteopath. He will be missed BIG TIME!!
A couple of highlights.
The mix of people attending was great. 1s, 2s, 3s, The Friday Club.
Richard Tasker picking up Player of the Year plus several other awards along the way.
David Radford being chosen as The Crows Player's Player of the Year despite only playing 45 minutes all season..... BUT and it is a BIG BUT he is at every Crows game home and away.
The taping of the rugby ball to Liam Derrick's hand as a punishment for dropping the ball over the line when a score was certain was the funniest thing I have seen for a long time.
The food. Excellent.
Thanks to all.
During the day I watched the Sarries beat Exeter. A one-sided first half and a gripping second half. The best side won. What a dick .... Chris Ashton. His antics at the end when he got nowhere near scoring the try were an embarrassment.
Well done Connacht. A great result and another reason to celebrate the rise of the underdog.
So to this afternoon. Wales leaving Twickenham with a morale boosting win was shot pieces today by a fine England performance, except for George Ford who was average at best. A depleted England side played with discipline and precision for long periods and outclassed a disjointed Welsh showing. There was ambition but the accuracy was too often lacking and the ball retention in contact was pretty poor. With England bolstered by the Sarries and Exeter contingent they will go to Oz buoyed with confidence. Wales will be heading to the land of the long white cloud with trepidation, this despite the All Blacks announcing six uncapped players in their squad.
Whilst Wales could argue that the Jack Clifford should have been chalked off there is NO excuse for Dan Biggarhead's petulance. Dan, man up and get on with it. If you behave like that in NZ you are going to have the S1 kicked out of you.
It's half term so no blog for a week. Keep well and keep safe.
Saturday 28th May - 09:00
The big game of the day is Saracens v Exeter in the play-off final. I have said enough about this already ....... but just see how yellow the ground is and then ask who is the main beneficiary of this event.
I can't see past a Saracens win but I guess the neutrals will be backing an Exeter win. This the club who has climbed through the leagues and now is very successful at the 'top table' of rugby. I am one of those .... 'come on Chiefs!'
In the later game I see a Leinster win but I think this might prove to be a closer affair than the Aviva final. Connaught for a long time the whipping boys of the Pro 12 are now a force to be reckoned with and could sneak a win.
Tomorrow an almost full strength Wales side take on England who give New Zealand born Teimana Harrison his debut. His dad is English so no issues there by the way. Despite missing a number of first choice players England still look a strong side. The starting 15 at least. The bench looks a little lightweight and this is where Wales will have the edge.
Steffon Armitage has all but given up on playing for England as he moves to Pau.
If you have access to Sky Sports then find the clip that shows Lima Sopoaga's kick against Hurricanes. Amazing.
On the same site there is a good piece about Dylan and concussion and previews of the England v Wales game with Eddie Jones.
I had steam coming out of my ears when I read about the high level of sickness / absenteeism amongst RMT members on Southern Railways. This strikes me as a deliberate act and therefore an unofficial strike. The bosses have gone on record making a clear statement to their paying customers who is to blame for the problems Southern face. That is the RMT. I tend to agree with their stance. The economic terrorist Mike 'Loadsa' Cash has responded by demanding to see the sickness records, pay and perks of the bosses of Southern. A reasonable request but let us see yours Mr Cash. I bet you are paid SIGNIFICANTLY higher than the UK average and I bet your perks add up to another SIGNIFICANT wedge.
The other news story is that Mr Tony 'I am a lying, deceitful b'stard' Blair is back in the news having a go at Jeremy Corbyn. Whatever you think about Corbyn he has joined the gathering throng asking for the Chilcot Report into the Iraq war scandal to be released and the lying Blair and Bush brought to book. Good on him. Blair is squirming because he knows he is culpable so I say 'get back in your box Blair'.
Tonight is the Senior Awards. Can I thank all involved in the planning and preparation in advance. Great job team. Update on how it went (written through an alcoholic fug I guess) tomorrow.
Thursday 26th May - 08:40
I think it is fair to start in the West Country and with Bristol. It wasn't as easy as many had thought it would be. In fact Bristol lost this the final game but went through on aggregate. I watched the second half and for long periods Doncaster were the better side. The move to Ashton Gate from the Memorial Ground (I have played there against Bristol 2nds) seems to have been an inspired one. 16,000 fans baying for success. Bristol will do well next season I think.
The fans who were there last night will disagree but I still think this play-off system is a nonsense. The team that wins the league should be promoted automatically. If you want a play-off then 2nd place in the Championship plays last but one place in the Premiership. A one game shoot out.
So Tuilagi is out. Richard Cockerill will be happy but that is a blow for England. I haven't always been a Tuilagi fan for a range of reasons but his game has improved and his power will be missed when England take on Australia next month.
James Horwill has been recalled to the Australian squad. He will add a powerful dimension to a strongish looking squad. The French based players are missing however.
Warburton will miss the game v England. Alun Wyn Jones will play some part. I think Wales will win this one as England are missing a number of key players.
Stuart Lancaster has been seconded onto the independent review into British Cycling. I guess the RFU saying 'on your bike Stuart' has put him in an ideal place for this task.
Put to one side England's pathetic showing in RWC 2015 in every other aspect it was a great success, especially financially. The UK tourist industry have also claimed it gave the UK economy a boost with hundreds of thousands of overseas visitors coming here for the games.
The EU vote still dominates the news with claim and counter-claim. I hope you are clearer than I am about which way to vote.
I read with growing anger that as soon as a date for night tube launch was announced so Mike 'Loadsa' Cash and his terrorist organisation the RMT announced another strike in objection to it. This time engineers and adminstrators. It is a criminal act of holding the country to ransom. I have said this before there are 1000's of people desperate to come to the UK for work. Lets get rid of these terrorists and replace them with people who would recognise what a fantastic job working for TfL is with the high wages and perks. Cash, you are an 'economic terrorist' that needs dealing with.
I hope you are not thinking of going to France any time soon. The country is on self destruct right now. Fuel depots being closed by pickets, power station workers going on strike. All this due to the Government wanting to rein in the ridiculously generous employment laws the country has. There are thousands of migrants in Calais. I am sure they would be happy to work in France on significantly less generous terms given the chance. The French need to wake up and smell the coffee.
Obviously Jose Mourihno and the return of Top Gear are also prominent in the news. Sorry but I can't be bothered with either.