Wednesday July 15th - 10:30
Simon Sebo limps out of training with an injury. Only time will tell how that will affect his World Cup chances.
England have arrived in Denver for their high altitude training. The 45 will soon be whittled down to 31. Lets hope that isn't pre-determined by injury.
The southern hemisphere tournament starts on Friday morning with a tasty clash between New Zealand and Argentina, a clash that will be replicated at Wembley Stadium on 20th Sept in RWC 2015. In 2011 this was a classic, a game I was privileged to be at.
So here is the conundrum for all sides in this tournament in the coming weeks.........
Do you play your best side at all times? Probably not. You would want to test some of the fringe players.
Do you wrap some of your stars in cotton wool and therefore devalue the tournament? Absolutely.
Will the games be less intense as a consequence. Most definitely No!
Thankfully it will give us some rugby to talk about.
There is a very interesting piece on BBC.co.uk about the changing face of sport on TV and the (negative) impact it has on any given sport. The Olympics has been secured by a pay-per-view channel for an eye-watering amount of money. I mentioned cricket the other day and how it is suffering as you can only watch on SKY. Rugby has gone the same way, unless you have S4C, and even that has to be sourced via a satellite platform. You can bet during and post Wimbledon tennis rackets were being dusted off. Why? it had wall to wall TV coverage on the BBC. Hopefully with RWC on terrestrial TV the same may happen for rugby. By contrast how many kids are discussing the Ashes. Very few I bet. Hey Ho!
I see Raheem Sterling has finally moved from Liverpool. 'I am so happy' he says. 'I can be chasing trophies now' he says. So Raheem its got naff all to do with the £180,000 PER WEEK you'll be earning then? What price loyalty I ask. It is obvious then isn't one in football.
Sorry but I have to come back to yesterday's hunting debate, or lack of it, and the SNP. I listened attentively to arguments on TV and radio about this issue and got increasingly frustrated by the inability of people to get to the nub of the issue. Hunting is a very emotive, class dividing issue. People were delighted that the SNP caused the delay in the vote. Their delight was because they were anti hunting and they totally missed the point about English (and Welsh) votes for English (and Welsh) only laws.
The facts are simple. In Scotland, where the Scots determine their own laws, hunting takes place in the form that the amendment was proposed. Let me repeat that. In Scotland they ALREADY hunt in the way that was proposed in the amendment for England and Wales. This issue therefore is TOTALLY an England and Wales issue which means Scottish MPs should be excluded from having a say.
I 100% agree that laws affecting the whole of the Union must involve the whole of the union but we cannot have the political ambitions of the (often hypocritical) Scots preventing England & Wales voting on stuff that impacts ONLY on England & Wales.
Back to my other rant. I see ASLEFs Mick Whelan has likened the Government to the Nazis. This is out of order. This type of phraseology reduces the horrendous and heinous crimes committed by the Nazis to name calling on a par with school kids in a playground. Get a grip Whelan, especially as you are the one wanting to bring the country to its knees and see hard working Londoners especially inconvenienced, and sometimes severely out of pocket by your actions.
Tuesday July 14th - 09:30
Today is Bastille Day. A day to celebrate the French revolution. No strikes today of course. Its a holiday.
Le Tour de France continues today with the first of the big mountain stages. The question of performance enhancing drugs in this sport continues to hang over the contestants like a pall of smoke over a coal mine. It does take some believing that these guys can cycle pretty much continuously for 21 days over hill and down dale without some form of stimulant. Hey ho!
Courtney Lawes says this years preparation for RWC 2015 is so much better than RWC 2011. Courtney my friend, it couldn't be any worse could it? 2011 was shambolic from start to finish.
The Webb Ellis trophy is now on English soil heading for its final destination; Twickenham. You still have to look hard to find any sort of hype around the event. That said I did spot a DHL delivery van resplendent in the competition logo, the cup and some marketing bull about bringing the 'cup home'.
The Open golf tees off this week. Always worth watching.
The mighty Foxes unveil Claudio Ranieri as their new manager. Like Leicester legend Gary Lineker I find the appointment disappointing.
Greece is going on strike. I am sorry but the country will implode. They are up to their oxters in debt, they have a history of not paying tax, of being rebellious, being poorly run. Britain will come under significant pressure to contribute to this latest bailout. That would be like giving an alcoholic a bottle of scotch for his birthday. Basically it shouldn't happen.
Elsewhere Nicola Sturgeon has stated her parties intention to vote against plans to water down hunting laws. Laws which affects only England & Wales. This reinforces, to me of course, the perfect reason why English only votes on English only laws makes sense. The hypocrisy of this woman is beginning to know no bounds. She and that Muppet Alex 'Gonzo' Salmond would be apoplectic if people tried to tinker with Scottish laws.
Now is the time to start watching out for a rising star; Stephen Kinnock. Kinnock, son of the arch Welsh freeloaders Neil and Glenys, the former being my MP when we lived at home in Wales. This is a family who are a dynasty like the Kardashians; over paid and over hyped. Kinnock Jnr is married to the gorgeous former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Why the interest Mr Chairman?
Simple! Put your politics to one side please...... to liken the governments proposal to cut child benefit to the first two children with Nazi style eugenics is totally unacceptable. What the Nazis did was unspeakable, deplorable, disgusting, and beyond comprehension.
Mr Kinnock, if you are so concerned about human rights then why don't you become an MP in North Korea, or China, or dare I say it Russia.
For the record his constituency is Aberavon, a pretty deprived area of South Wales with a high proportion of people living off benefits.
Must go, my mate Genghis has just arrived for our coffee morning.
Monday July 13th - late
Yes, I have been busy. Yes, it is difficult to find any decent rugby stories. Yes, I spotted that the RMT have cancelled strike action planned for Southern services after a breakthrough in negotiations.
Firstly let me thank my good friend John Wilmshurst for some sound advice. Apparently, if travelling on holiday in Europe this summer you need to be aware of dodgy Euro notes. They are relatively easy to spot as they have been printed on Greece proof paper.
England lose five from their RWC 2015 training squad. Seems a bit mean but on the other hand if the players concerned have zero chance of being in the final squad why traipse them across to the US (at huge expense) for zero benefit.
Looks as if the mercurial Quade Cooper will be at 10 this weekend for the Ozzies against the Bokke. Thank goodness rugby is back on the box.
The Gruaniad reckons the French referees will benefit England in the group stages of RWC 2015. Note here I said 'benefit' and not 'favour'. Not sure about that as Jerome Garces is prone to les erreurs.
A greedy, arrogant piece of work seems to be a good description of Raheem Sterling. He finally got his wish to leave Liverpool for Manchester City. Money, money, money. At least they didn't add slug to the description as that is reserved for his agent Aidy Ward.
I see the hater of all things England and all things upper class found time to be at Wimbledon this weekend. Yes, playing wide out left, Nicola Sturgeon had no problem mixing with the great and the good of high society in the royal box at Wimbledon, a true symbol of the upper classes. She needs to get back in her box up in the frozen tundra of the Highlands and stop being a two faced trouble maker.
The is a song with the line 'what a difference a day makes'. Well that could certainly be applied to Greece and their politicians. Yesterday they had a mandate from the people to defend themselves against austerity, today they have acceded to all of the EUs demands, and interestingly even more than was being demanded just last week. I guess that what happens when the Germans put a Glock 9mm to your head.
And finally a belated to Happy Birthday to my sister for yesterday. Not that she reads this rubbish.
Friday July 10th - 08:00
I write this drivel so I can take advantage by including personal messages to my family...................
Happy birthday Nigel. Have a great day. Keep the streets of Cwmbran safe.
The Lions schedule is out. It looks great. Lots of great places to visit, great venues and a fantastic opportunity to see some brilliant rugby. We are not going this time around having been to NZ for RWC 2011 and June July can be like Wales on a winter's day........ wet, cold and miserable. There is an argument that goes 'like Wales on any given day'
The official Lions Tour and Gulliver's Sports Travel are well worth considering if you are thinking of going.
The 6 Nations have been saved from the payTV companies after the combined BBC/ITV bid beat off their challenge. Hoorah!
The coaches will be making the most savage of cuts soon. Those in the training camps who are not going to feature in RWC 2015.
To all club members who read this are you..........
able to help the club with a massive event on September 5th. Working at outside bars, supervising events, keeping the place tidy etc. Contact me if you are.
ready for the World Cup. The club will be open and showing all the key games, often in combination with our own fixtures and some surprise events. Get your diaries out and be there.
Talking of RWC 2015 I have been accepted as a volunteer, as you know, and I now know what I'll be doing, broadly. On Friday 18th I will be at the Brighton beach fanzone where they will show the opening ceremony and the opening game. On Saturday 19th I will be at AMEX Brighton Community Stadium when the Bokke take on Japan. If you have tickets for this game come and find me, and see how well the tact and diplomacy course has worked and the transformation from miserable git to charming has gone.
It is a great honour and as the Crunchie ad goes (other chocolate products are available) 'I'm so excited'.
Much in the news about the latest Foreign Office announcement about telling tourists to leave Tunisia. Sad for Tunisia and their burgeoning tourist business and is possibly playing into the hands of the terrorists.
A letter from TfL laying out their side of the night tube story and the offer on the table made interesting reading yesterday. It reinforced my view the action is motivated by the unions desire to cause mayhem and nothing to do with their members.
Wimbledon continues with Murray making his final appearance of the year as he faces the machine that is Roger Federer.
Le tour continues to grip. Yet another crash capturing the headlines but I love the history, geography and the spectacle. A word of wisdom from the stupid......... don't watch it whilst on the exercise bike. You try and keep up and it hurts.
Today's culinary delight is Marmite (other spreads are available) on toast. Delicious, and even more so if you add a thin layer of mashed banana on top. Yummy.
What a beautiful morning. Time for a coffee, some Marmite on toast before heading off for Friday Club. Sun tan cream and hat at the ready.
Thursday July 9th - 10:00
If you watched it then I am sure you will agree the Samoa v New Zealand match was a brutal affair. Some of the tackling was intense to say the least. Samoa fronted up to the All Black threat and took them to the wire. Samoa will certainly be a team to watch during RWC 2015 and it is great they will be playing in Brighton.
There were a number of old hands in the All Black squad and this could prove to be a weakness as they approach the tournament.............. but I doubt it. Carter and McCaw continue to be mercurial. Keven Mealamu and Sam Whitelock both proved they are still up to the challenge. The youngsters who came on played well too. The All Blacks are favourites, quite rightly.
Closer to home pre-season with Siggsy starts tonight.
BBC and ITV combine resources to keep the 6 Nations on terrestrial TV. It will be a huge blow to the game if they don't. For the record we are exploring our TV options as most English rugby is now via BT sport vs SKY. More on this to follow.
Nice piece in today's Gruaniad about Steve Hansen being made high chief of a Samoan village. Just goes to show how important that game was yesterday.
The RFU have been defending the indefensible........ SIX new kits in 10 months and the £120 RWC shirt, which to be fair is a limited edition and other shirts are available for just £70. JUST £70, as if that is cheap.
Is Jaco Peyper the new Lady Gaga, turning up everywhere. His passport must be very impressive with him doing the All Black game yesterday after the Super 15 final.
I hope if you have decided to work from home today are not wasting your time with this drivel. After all there are much more balanced reports of the mayhem being caused by Mike 'Loadsa' Cash and his union colleagues today across London and elsewhere. I am sure the Socialist Worker and The Organ of Truth have well thought through arguments for and against the strike????????
You cannot always believe corporate 'bull', and perhaps First Great Western have indulged in being economical with the truth but I read their open letter about what they have put on the table with regard to the new trains being launched soon on their routes. It seems fair, sensible, offers opportunities for those affected and puts the consumer at the heart of what they are doing. The RMT, yet again, seem hell bent on causing chaos when what is being offered is good for their members. Read it for yourselves as I am blinkered when it comes to the RMT and their total disdain for the hard working people of London and around the UK.
There is an advert on TV for a well know window replacement company fronted by Craig Doyle that has the tag line; 'You didn't expect that now, did you'. The same could be said for Georgie Porgie's budget yesterday. It was much more dramatic than I had expected, and in my very humble opinion not all for the good. Hard working teachers, police officers, fire-fighters and nurses being held to a 1% pay increase when those greedy so-and-sos driving tube trains have been offered 2% and £2k bonus for working a night shift. This is galling and can't be right.
Let me close on a brighter note, the club hosted the Crowborough Chamber of Commerce Cheese and Wine evening last night. I for one thought it was an excellent evening, so much so I had to scrounge a lift home after being over enthusiastic with the tasting side of things. Cork & Keg provided the still wines, Ridgeview the sparkling wine and Cheeseworks some amazing artisanal cheeses. Matthew Collins, club member, did a great job in pulling it together.
Wednesday July 8th - 09:00
The Samoans are about to kick off against the All Blacks. I have it on pause so I don't miss it. What a splendid anthem the Samoans have by the way. Much better than the crap you hear on the Eurovision song contest. Anyway, to the point. It is good to see the new 'rule', if that is what is, that states the top flight rugby nations must do more to support the smaller nations in action. This is a perfect example of how it should work. The All Blacks, the biggest rugby show in town, travelling to the home of a number of their players and even more of the Super 15 players. This will help support Samoan rugby no end. Great idea.
Take it to the next step. Wales play a tour against New Zealand. Why not bolt on an extra game in Fiji. A beautiful, beautiful place. Great for Fijian rugby, great for the Wales stars and fantastic for the fans, who can afford it.
This might seem contradictory to my comment on Monday about a Lions game in the USA prior to the New Zealand tour. US rugby have refused to sanction Aviva clubs having warm games in the US which indicates to me, those (one-eyed) Muppets don't need help.
I read with great interest that Jason Leonard has come out and said England will be hard to beat at home during RWC 2015. I have had the pleasure, and it is a genuine pleasure, to meet Mr Leonard on several occasions and spend time chatting to him. There are at times though when he is the master of stating the bleedin obvious.
The WRU appoint the ex-head of B&Q, Mr Martyn Phillips as chief executive. Lets hope he brings some real business steel to the dinosaurs in blazers in the background of Welsh rugby, and hopefully he might lay on some new turf for the pitch at the Millennium stadium. (That said it is looking much better now they have gone 50% plastic).
Mike Brown has declared himself fit and ready for the England's RWC 2015 campaign. Great news for him and great news for England. Let's hope there is no recurrence as that might just finish his career.
Well done to England Ladies for coming second in the Super Cup tournament.
Want to see the gruelling conditioning work Wales are going through in readiness for RWC 2015. BBC.co.uk has it.
Today is budget day. Georgie Porgie is going to be getting his scythe out to benefits today. Not before time................ Let me be clear, there are millions in the UK who need help, deserve help and should get help. We the tax payer should be happy to support this. On the other hand there are also bone idle, good for nothing scroungers out there who are taking the pith and having a laugh at our expense. Go George Go!!
Those of you who still persevere with this drivel would not expect me to miss out on a dig at the RMT and Mike 'Loadsa' Cash. Chaos will be the order of the day tonight, tomorrow and into Friday morning as the RMT and ASLEF bring London to a transport standstill. What appears to be a very generous offer to drivers and other staff affected by the introduction of the night tube has been tabled and rejected. This is on top of an inflation busting pay rise of 2%. Oh how I wish my meagre savings were getting 2% interest. No-one has been asked to work more hours, no-one will be out of pocket, and when you already earn £50k I struggle to see how that can be possible anyway. This strike is political and when I read about work-life balance as being a demand from 'Loadsa' Cash I then know this is about a Trotskyist trouble maker causing mayhem for his own self-aggrandisement than looking after his members.
I don't know if this guy has kids but if he does next time he needs a nurse or takes them to school or wants them protected by the police or takes them into a shop he better think about how his actions affect their lives and the money they earn vs his own overinflated salary, and I say again, the £50k his drivers already earn. Bugger off to North Korea Mr Cash. See how you like their politics.
Tuesday July 7th - 10:00
It seems unreal that 10 years have passed since the appalling atrocity committed in London when 52 people had their lives taken from them in the name of ......... what? I can't answer that.
As I type the first of the services is taking place at Hyde Park.
I can vividly remember where I was when I first heard the news. I was in the back of a car being taken to Domodedova Airport in Moscow along with a Dutch colleague. It was a little after 12noon there and it was only when in the airport lounge and able to watch the news that the full horror of what had taken place became clear.
I for one cannot come close to comprehending what drives people to commit such terrible crimes. Neither can I possibly understand what the families of the victims go through as a consequence.
May those 52 rest in peace and let us not forget them.
Monday July 6th - 11:00
Happy birthday to my grandson. He is three today.
The boys start pre-season training this week. They are already chomping at the bit, especially those who are returning from injury.
What a match the Super 15 final was. Two teams going flat out for a win, as opposed to the two French teams in the Top 14 final desperately trying not to lose. The game was end to end, with few stoppages, and thankfully little aimless kicking. The skills on show were excellent. It was gripping right to the last whistle. What a cracking atmosphere to boot.
The quality of the game had a lot to do with the quality of the refereeing. Jaco Peyper kept the game flowing, although a little lax at times. Huge applause to him too.
Stephen Moore has been announced as Australia's World Cup captain.
England show of their £120 rip-off World Cup kit
The Aviva Premiership fixtures have been released. South Africa B (aka Sarries) kick it all off against Sales Sharks.
France and South Africa throw their hats into the RWC 2023 bidding.
Wednesday sees the announcement of Lions 2017 tour itinerary. No gimmick warm up game this time around according to the papers, that is against the USA. Bet HSBC are putting pressure on for a repeat of the Hong Kong game though.
In other sport well done Lewis Hamilton for winning the British round of Scaletrix. If you are bored with F1 try the Crowborough school run as an alternative. You can be at the heart of the action; death defying speeds, near misses, driver abuse, tricky circuit and no safety car to slow you down.
Andy Murray continues his good form and what a great performance Heather Watson put up in her match against the Amazonian Serena Williams.
Well done to England women for an excellent third place in the soccer world cup. Managed by a Welshman of course!!
In other news the Greek crisis is quite rightly dominating the headlines. It is, in part, down to them and definitely in total down to those faceless EU bureaucrats that the FCA financial safety net of £85,000 for your savings has been reduced to £75,000. More unnecessary EU interference.
Princess Charlotte gets the aaarrrrr award this weekend.
In the 'it gets my blood boiling' award Hani a-Sini sweeps all before him. This is the hate preacher that recruited and trained the murdering thug involved in the Tunisia tragedy last week. He lives off £50,000 of benefits in London and cannot be deported due to his ability to twist the Human Rights laws to his advantage. It IS wrong. He should be put on a plane and removed.
Talking of removal lets get rid of that moron Russell Brand. I am a passionate supporter of freedom of speech but for him to say a minutes silence for the 30 who so tragically lost their lives in Tunisia last week is 'bullshit' is overstepping the mark by a long way. He too has to go.
Finally does anyone think the Met Office have the faintest idea about weather. On Friday they forecast Sunday to be sunny and warm so what did I do? Like any sensible person shopped for a barbecue. What happens is it rained most of the day. Can I sue them under the Trades Description Act? Is their actions impinging on my Human Rights to have a barbecue on a sunny Sunday? Can I sue for injury compensation for having got the barbecue out on Saturday only to have to lift it back into the garage on Sunday. Answers on a postcard to Ridiculous and Spurious, The Injury Paraistes 4U, Claimitnow Lane, London, UP4 1T
Friday July 3rd - 07:30
Lots going at the club at the moment. The party bookings keep coming. We host a major event the 1st weekend of September. The on-going grounds work continues apace.
On August 15th a 'family day' is being planned. More details to follow.
The referee appointments for the pool games at RWC 2015 have been announced. Jaco Peyper gets the honour of opening proceedings when England face Fiji on September 18th.
The crucial England v Wales game will be managed, or not, by Jeromes Garces. The good news is he is Northern Hemisphere, the bad news he is probably the weakest of the top flight referees, in my very humble opinion.
Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell benefit from Australia's change in selection policy and return to the Ozzie squad.
For those of you going to the games the official wines & spirits provider will be William Grants & Sons, the producers of Glenfiddich. So mes amis Francais there will be pas de Ricard ou Pernod pour vous.... malheureusement.
England women lost to New Zealand in the women's super tournament.
Elsewhere Wimbledon has been a bit disappointing so far, expect for Nadal being bumped out by Dustin Brown yesterday.
Talking about 'bumping out' that is exactly what we should do with those Roma who desecrated the Hyde Park 7/7 memorial by setting up a camp there this week. These people are here for one reason and one reason only...... I will leave it there as I am likely to get into trouble if I carry on. Whilst free movement of people within Europe has many, many merits, this is a perfect example of why that right is fundamentally floored.
Tomorrow sees the Hurricanes and the Highlanders go head to head. Should be a cracker, but then again so was the Top 14 decider which turned out to be absolute rubbish.
I didn't watch it, as the doctor is keen that I try and keep my already high blood pressure under control, but I see yet another TV documentary about people on benefits. The chef who doesn't like long hours so doesn't do any, the man who hasn't worked for 37 years and the women who has her cannabis funded by benefits. To the lazy, useless bloke who can't get a job I say there are hundreds of thousands of Poles who have come to the UK, found work, set up business and are making a positive contribution to this great country of ours. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Got to go Friday Club and therapy awaits
Wednesday July 1st - 10:30
Yesterday we successfully hosted an AXA staff fun day. Yes we did with it excellence, and that according to AXA. Thanks to Sandra and team and Dave Noone for their great contribution
Still not much in the news about the 3rd largest sporting event in the world. Maybe it is too soon. Maybe post Wimbledon, the British round of Scaletrix, the Ashes, the start of the football season, the leek growing championships and of course the Montgomery Primary School sports day we might see some meaningful hype for RWC 2015.
England start their gruelling fitness camp this week. Graham Rowntree says it will be brutal. England are still hopeful on Ben Morgan being declared fit and able to go. He will make a difference.
Gatland says Taulupe Faletau can move to Bath without fearing for his RWC 2015 chances. Of course he does. Gatland knows he doesn't have the luxuries of his counterpart Stuart Lancaster. Wales' pool of players is significantly smaller.
France join the race for RWC 2023. Yipee do!
The BBC lose the Olympics to Eurosport from 2023. The more sport gravitates to the pay tv channels so a sport declines in popularity. Cricket is a classic example. Unless you have SKY how else can you watch live English cricket. You can't. I fear for rugby on this basis.
Leicester City and Nigel Pearson depart company. I am not surprised. Whilst he is an excellent manager he can be a liability and of course you don't let your moronic son insult the country of your paymasters.
Ok! As it is a new month lets get political.
Calais and the French ferry workers. A) They are acting like criminals yet the French police do nothing. B) They are aiming their anger at the wrong people. The decision to sell MyFerryLink was one dictated by the faceless bureaucrats in Brussels not by hardworking lorry drivers or British holidaymakers. Taking MyFerryLink out of the hands of Eurotunnel will do nothing to increase competitiveness. It might even have the opposite effect as you will go back to two operators competing for the over water cross channel business from three. Typical EU ill-thought through interfering policies.
Greece. Now there is another shambles. This is what happens when you spend what you haven't got or you lend to people (countries) with a track record of not being able to handle money. My eyes are already turning to Ireland and Portugal, two other countries bailed out by the EU. If Greece gets away with defaulting what do you think Portugal and Ireland might be contemplating.
Tunisia. I read with some distain those who are berating the authorities for the speed at which the confirmed death toll is being announced. It is better to be slow and get the identification right than rush and find a family member is in hospital and alive. Afterall you don't carry a lot of identification in your thong or mankini do you.
Finally the weather. Yes it is hot but STOP WHINGEING. Take sensible precautions: hat and suncream and go out and enjoy it whilst it lasts.