Bleater's Blog
  1. Summer and The Tours
  2. Cups and Playoffs
  3. The Season Run In
  4. It’s Six Nations Time!
  5. 2024 Has Arrived
  6. It’s Nearly Here…… January
  7. Countdown to Chri….. January!
  8. RWC 2023 - The Final Approaches
  9. The Summer Break
  10. Rugby World Cup 2023 Plus
  11. The Rugby World Cup Approaches
  12. The Final Countdown
  13. The Summer Tours Up Next
  14. Rugby Continues Thankfully
  15. The Six Nations - Happy Days
  16. 2023 Has Arrived
  17. The Halfway Point of the Season
  18. The Season Continues into Autumn
  19. Here we go! A new season
  20. The Twilight Zone
  21. The Season is Nearly Over
  22. The Six Nations and Some
  23. The 6 Nations Begins
  24. 2022 and All THAT!
  25. Christmas is nearly upon us!!
  26. We’re Still Waiting
  27. The Season Progresses
  28. At Last - We are back
  29. The New Season is Nearly Here
  30. Lions Tests are Here!
  31. The Lions Up next
  32. Now It’s Europe
  33. 6 Nations Beckons
  34. 2021 at last! A year of renewed hope!
  35. A New Premiership Season
  36. Still NO Grassroots Rugby!!!!!
  37. It Continues - NO GRASSROOTS RUGBY!!
  38. No End In Sight To The Madness
  39. Autumn Internationals BUT Still NO Crowds
  40. We're Back - In Part At Least
  41. The Restart is Still a Long Way Away
  42. When will we play again?
  43. Time for a beer and a haircut!!
  44. It's easing apparently???!!!
  45. Behind Closed Doors or ...... ??
  46. Lockdown or not to lockdown
  47. The Debate Continues
  48. Yet another new page
  49. The Nightmare Continues - the blog
  50. The Season Grinds to a Halt
  51. The Season Moves On
  52. It's Official - The Drought is Over
  53. 6 Nations Starts
  54. Another New Page - Sorry
  55. 6 Nations Beckons
  56. Welcome To A New Decade
  57. It'll soon be over. Xmas that is
  58. Xmas is Coming
  59. Back to the Grassroots Game
  60. Bleater in Japan
  61. The Grassroots Season Starts
  62. Not Long Now!
  63. Japan Still Beckons
  64. Japan Beckons
  65. Nearly Time To Look Ahead
  66. The Summer Break is Here
  67. The Final Countdown
  68. Yet another section of drivel
  69. The Season Continues for a Little Longer
  70. The 6 Nations Continues
  71. Six Nations and More
  72. It's RWC Year!!
  73. Its Definitely Winter
  74. Winter is here. Brrrr!!!
  75. Its the Autumn, soon to be Winter
  76. We Are Off And Running
  77. The New Season Approaches
  78. Still the Summer Tours Go On
  79. The Summer Internationals Plus, Plus
  80. The Season Climax Approaches
  81. Summer is Coming
  82. Another Section, More Drivel
  83. 2018 Already!!!! It'll soon be Xmas
  84. The Season Approaches the Half Way Point
  85. The Season Takes Shape
  86. The Season Starts
  87. More Pre-Season Build Up
  88. Pre-Season and Other Stuff
  89. The Lions Tested
  90. The Lions Roar
  91. We Are Still Counting Down
  92. It's All About The Lions
  93. The Countdown to Season's End
  94. The Season Continues Apace
  95. It's Time for the 6 Nations
  96. 2017 - Let The Fun Begin
  97. The Big Man Will Be Here Soon
  98. Let's Countdown to You Know What
  99. It's Time For Europe
  100. The Season Is Well Underway
  101. At Last Let The Competition Begin
  102. Not Long to the New Season
  103. Not So Much Rugby Now
  104. Still Plenty of Rugby to Debate
  105. The Summer Break
  106. Here Comes Summer
  107. They Think It's All Over
  108. Jones - A New Era
  109. It Was A Grand Slam!!!!
  110. 6 Nations - A Grand Slam??
  111. Six Nations 2016
  112. A New Captain, A New Start
  113. Welcome to 2016
  114. The Countdown to Christmas
  115. Winter Has Arrived
  116. November Movember
  117. The World Cup Is Over
  118. Rugby World Cup Quarters
  119. Rugby World Cup into the knockout stages
  120. Rugby World Cup Day 9 to Day 24
  121. Rugby World Cup Day 1 to Day 8
  122. Sept 9th to Sept 17th
  123. August 24th to September 7th
  124. August 11th to August 23rd
  125. July 16th to August 9th
  126. July 1st to July 15th
  127. June 17th to June 29th
  128. June 2nd to June 16th
  129. May 19th to June 1st
  130. May 7th to May 17th
  131. April 28th to May 6th
  132. April 22nd to April 27th
  133. April 13th to April 21st
  134. March 13th to Aprill 11th
  135. March 5th to March 12th
Bleater's Blog
  1. Summer and The Tours
  2. Cups and Playoffs
  3. The Season Run In
  4. It’s Six Nations Time!
  5. 2024 Has Arrived
  6. It’s Nearly Here…… January
  7. Countdown to Chri….. January!
  8. RWC 2023 - The Final Approaches
  9. The Summer Break
  10. Rugby World Cup 2023 Plus
  11. The Rugby World Cup Approaches
  12. The Final Countdown
  13. The Summer Tours Up Next
  14. Rugby Continues Thankfully
  15. The Six Nations - Happy Days
  16. 2023 Has Arrived
  17. The Halfway Point of the Season
  18. The Season Continues into Autumn
  19. Here we go! A new season
  20. The Twilight Zone
  21. The Season is Nearly Over
  22. The Six Nations and Some
  23. The 6 Nations Begins
  24. 2022 and All THAT!
  25. Christmas is nearly upon us!!
  26. We’re Still Waiting
  27. The Season Progresses
  28. At Last - We are back
  29. The New Season is Nearly Here
  30. Lions Tests are Here!
  31. The Lions Up next
  32. Now It’s Europe
  33. 6 Nations Beckons
  34. 2021 at last! A year of renewed hope!
  35. A New Premiership Season
  36. Still NO Grassroots Rugby!!!!!
  37. It Continues - NO GRASSROOTS RUGBY!!
  38. No End In Sight To The Madness
  39. Autumn Internationals BUT Still NO Crowds
  40. We're Back - In Part At Least
  41. The Restart is Still a Long Way Away
  42. When will we play again?
  43. Time for a beer and a haircut!!
  44. It's easing apparently???!!!
  45. Behind Closed Doors or ...... ??
  46. Lockdown or not to lockdown
  47. The Debate Continues
  48. Yet another new page
  49. The Nightmare Continues - the blog
  50. The Season Grinds to a Halt
  51. The Season Moves On
  52. It's Official - The Drought is Over
  53. 6 Nations Starts
  54. Another New Page - Sorry
  55. 6 Nations Beckons
  56. Welcome To A New Decade
  57. It'll soon be over. Xmas that is
  58. Xmas is Coming
  59. Back to the Grassroots Game
  60. Bleater in Japan
  61. The Grassroots Season Starts
  62. Not Long Now!
  63. Japan Still Beckons
  64. Japan Beckons
  65. Nearly Time To Look Ahead
  66. The Summer Break is Here
  67. The Final Countdown
  68. Yet another section of drivel
  69. The Season Continues for a Little Longer
  70. The 6 Nations Continues
  71. Six Nations and More
  72. It's RWC Year!!
  73. Its Definitely Winter
  74. Winter is here. Brrrr!!!
  75. Its the Autumn, soon to be Winter
  76. We Are Off And Running
  77. The New Season Approaches
  78. Still the Summer Tours Go On
  79. The Summer Internationals Plus, Plus
  80. The Season Climax Approaches
  81. Summer is Coming
  82. Another Section, More Drivel
  83. 2018 Already!!!! It'll soon be Xmas
  84. The Season Approaches the Half Way Point
  85. The Season Takes Shape
  86. The Season Starts
  87. More Pre-Season Build Up
  88. Pre-Season and Other Stuff
  89. The Lions Tested
  90. The Lions Roar
  91. We Are Still Counting Down
  92. It's All About The Lions
  93. The Countdown to Season's End
  94. The Season Continues Apace
  95. It's Time for the 6 Nations
  96. 2017 - Let The Fun Begin
  97. The Big Man Will Be Here Soon
  98. Let's Countdown to You Know What
  99. It's Time For Europe
  100. The Season Is Well Underway
  101. At Last Let The Competition Begin
  102. Not Long to the New Season
  103. Not So Much Rugby Now
  104. Still Plenty of Rugby to Debate
  105. The Summer Break
  106. Here Comes Summer
  107. They Think It's All Over
  108. Jones - A New Era
  109. It Was A Grand Slam!!!!
  110. 6 Nations - A Grand Slam??
  111. Six Nations 2016
  112. A New Captain, A New Start
  113. Welcome to 2016
  114. The Countdown to Christmas
  115. Winter Has Arrived
  116. November Movember
  117. The World Cup Is Over
  118. Rugby World Cup Quarters
  119. Rugby World Cup into the knockout stages
  120. Rugby World Cup Day 9 to Day 24
  121. Rugby World Cup Day 1 to Day 8
  122. Sept 9th to Sept 17th
  123. August 24th to September 7th
  124. August 11th to August 23rd
  125. July 16th to August 9th
  126. July 1st to July 15th
  127. June 17th to June 29th
  128. June 2nd to June 16th
  129. May 19th to June 1st
  130. May 7th to May 17th
  131. April 28th to May 6th
  132. April 22nd to April 27th
  133. April 13th to April 21st
  134. March 13th to Aprill 11th
  135. March 5th to March 12th
Bleater's Blog 1 of 135

1. Summer and The Tours


Thursday 20th Jun: 08:30

At last we are destined for a period of dry, warm weather here in the UK. Not before time. That said, the horror stories of wild fires, and extreme heat around the world is troubling. As is the extremes of cold and rain experienced elsewhere. Global warming is an issue. The Caribbean Sea for example has warmed by 2 degrees in just one year. That is unprecedented. Spraying orange paint over Stonehenge however is going to achieve absolutely bugger all of bugger all. The moronic vandals who should be locked away somewhere far from here. I don’t know the answer but we all have to do our bit. Use less, recycle, drive more economically, use public transport, walk, turn off what you are not using. If we all did a little then that would add up to a lot. The one thing these eco-zealots steadfastly avoid is talk about is the global population. It continues to grow at an alarming rate, and when combined with people living longer, this cannot be sustainable. Just a thought.

Bleater, that is a bit heavy for a rugby club blog. Yeah, I know, but we are all in this together. Are you going to stop your holidays? Absolutely not! That genie is out of the bottle so yes call me a hypocrite if you want. I’ll do my best to offset those treats to the best of my ability however.

Moving on. Yes please!

Vincent Koch will earn his 50th South African cap on Saturday. He was destined to start on the bench until a classy act by Frans Malherbe changed all that. Malherbe was originally selected to start but refused to play until Rassie Erasmus made Koch the starting prop. That is team spirit epitomised.

Stuart Hogg is packing his bags and heads to Montpellier. Yes, it has been confirmed, his u-turn on retirement is complete. Some are saying it is a bad move. Others think it will get Hogg’s life back on track after a turbulent period in the spotlight. Only time will tell.

Another u-turn could be in the offing. This time it is Kevin Shinfield who is pondering a change. Having original stated he is leaving the England camp, there is a strong feeling he might now stay. That would be a good thing for England, as a) he is a good coach, and b) the players, according to those in the know, love him.

Dan Biggar, writing in the Fail, has said it is great Marcus Smith is starting against Japan, but feels Fin Smith should get the nod when it comes to taking on the All Blacks. I am believer in unpredictability at #10 which is why I would stick with young Marcus.

According to the Torygraph England are experimenting with Ben Earl at centre. Why? Steve Borthwick has plans for a 6-2 split on the bench when they are in the land of the long white cloud. Aaarrggghhh!!! Reduce the number of subs. Stop this desire to have the game dominated by leviathans.

I stumbled across a piece on the Sale Sharks website that tried to explain the vagaries of the 24/25 European Cup draws. I got a quarter of the way through before I realised this was way too complicated for my small brain to comprehend. It happens in a couple of weeks. What struck me though was the absence of any Welsh region in the senior tournament. A sad state of affairs.

Plenty of rugby this weekend as you know. It looks as if South Africa v Wales and Barbarians v Fiji are being shown on SKY, if you have that, as is the Super Rugby Final. The URC Final and the Top 14 play-offs are on some obscure pay-per-view channel I’m afraid. Shame, as the Top 14 games could be brilliant.

Right, that’ll do until Sunday.

Before I go I see the Whisky and IRN Bru party have launched their script for the next Edinburgh festival. The word ‘independence’ features strongly. Disappointingly, what doesn’t appear are all the tales of woe about corruption, financial mismanagement, rampant drug and crime problems north of the border, but then again, I guess they are not funny!!!

I see the pollsters are having a field day. Right now they are predicting we will become a socialist republic from July 6th onwards. A single party state. On a serious note, I think the country needs change, but the country needs a cohesive and real opposition party. We are not Russia, North Korea, or China, despite some like the RMT and ASLEF wishing we were!!!

Wednesday 19th Jun: 09:50

Let me put the RugbyPass TV thing to bed first. If you want to watch Japan v England on Saturday morning then this is definitely your option. The app is quick to download, you just need to sign in, set up a password, and your are ready to go. If you have smart TV you can also ‘cast’ from your device onto the TV. I did exactly that yesterday and it worked perfectly. Now, if tens of thousands decide to log-in will it still be as robust. That I don’t know.

Plenty of positives in the papers about England’s selection and therefore England’s chances. Sir Know-it-all is headlined in the Daily Fail as saying Marcus Smith should not be switched to fullback midway through the game. Fair point. The headline also states; ‘Here is what I think of Eddie Jones……’. I don’t know what he thinks of Jones because the article is part of the subscription, and I’m not subscribing to that rag for sure. If its free, bring it on.

Warren Gatland announced his side yesterday to face the Boks at Twickenham. It is a very inexperienced side led by Dewi Lake, in the absence of the injured Jac Morgan. It is so inexperienced only the Twickenham grass will be greener. Gatland experiments with Mason Grady in the centre alongside Owen Watkin. I was wrong!! James Botham does start in the back row, alongside Taine Plumtree and in form Aaron Wainwright. Ellis Bevan has been given the opportunity to show what he has got at #9 being picked ahead of the combative Gareth Davies. The bench, with the exception of Davies, is very green indeed.

South Africa on the other hand, thanks to their abundance of riches, have picked a strong pack including many two times World Cup winners. The back line includes a couple of new faces but otherwise is very robust. There are plenty of game breakers on the bench too, including Mbonambi, Malherbe and de Allende.

I fear this will be no more than a training run for the Boks with Wales humiliated. We’ll know come 5pm on Saturday. I might need my mate Mal Bec on stand by for moral support.

A couple of interesting things of note. They are playing for the Qatar Cup. This raised the question in the Welsh press conference whether the top nations should sell their soul to the devil and play the new Nations Cup competition in Qatar. Gatland did not, like others, duck the issue. He was very clear. The game is on its uppers so should ‘take the money and run’. I am not in that camp. The Middle East’s record on human rights is appalling, and whilst I can be right of Genghis at times, being bought off is a terrible thing.

The second aspect of the weekend with regard to the SA v Wales game, and the Barbarians v Fiji game that follows it, it will be played under the new law variations, e.g. no option to take a scrum from a free kick. That will be interesting to watch. Troubling, and I haven’t read this anywhere else, extra powers for the TMO will be trialled. This means they can intervene on knock-ons, forward passes, and other aspects of the game. NO! NO! NO! We want less TMO interventions. Rugby is not part of the PlayStation world (other video consoles are available…. Sadly).

Ireland have named a very strong squad to travel to South Africa in the next few days. Jack Conan, Jamison Gibson-Park and Hugo Keenan are all missing, however as Ireland are blessed with strength in depth their absence should be little more than a hiccup. The BBC Sport website carries the best analysis of the Irish squad if you are interested.

It has been confirmed that Black Lion, the Georgian outfit, and the Cheetah’s from South Africa will be included in next season’s European Challenge Cup. They will be based in Amsterdam.

I know I said I would give you my view on the NHS, which more than ever I think is no longer fit for purpose, despite my dear old mum get amazing care, but I’ll hold off for the time being.

I did get round to reading ‘Water Parks and other Attractions’ yesterday. Yes the LibDem manifesto was a hoot. Some bloke desperate to hide his past as a Post Office villain doing very poor impressions of Tarzan swinging through trees and swimming through crocodile infested lakes. His piece about building sandcastles on beaches here in the UK, and across Europe was interesting though. Most got washed away pretty quickly when the tide came in.

I was planning on reading something called ‘Green is Best’ but its already been recycled. Shame, as articles on ‘how to live in cave’ and ‘candle power for all’ might have helped with my insomnia.

Tuesday 18th Jun: 09:35

There I was trawling through the papers looking for something to drone on about when ‘ping’, up pops the England squad to face Japan. ‘What’ I cry, this isn’t due until Thursday. No, its not a mistake, Steve Borthwick has gone early. In a classy move which undoubtedly will take the wind out of Eddie Jones sails Borthwick has also gone full guns blazing. No experimentation ahead of the New Zealand tests. This squad is one to set the tone for the rest of the tour.

No real surprise with Marcus Smith at #10 and Alex Mitchell at #9. Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade look a great pairing in the centre. Proper wingers out wide and George Furbank at full-back. The ball carrying Bevan Rodd is preferred at prop to Joe Marler. George Martin gets the nod in the second row. I really like the look of the starting back-row: Chandler Cunningham-South, Sam Underhill and Ben Earl at #8. That is a really dynamic set of loose forwards (like the use of old terminology?). It is a strong bench too which includes Tom Curry and Harry Randall. On the face of it, this is the strongest 23 that Borthwick could have selected.

All the papers have the full squad broken down, and a much more in depth analysis of the permutations than I have done. They also comment on Borthwick’s decision to surprise everyone by announcing the team early. This is a tactic used by Warren Gatland and Rassie Erasmus. It takes hold of the narrative, stops leaks and throws down the gauntlet to the opposition: ‘now show us what you’ve got’.

The game against Japan will be no ‘gimme’. It will be hot and very humid. Both energy sapping and difficult to hold the ball. A bar of soap springs to mind. Jones will still have plenty to say but his grandiose relaunch of Japan rugby has been well and truly scuppered. The game in Japan is vibrant, buoyed by overseas stars. It is fast and furious and they will be well accustomed to the conditions. It should be worth getting up early for. I understand it is free to watch via the ‘rugbypass tv’ app which is available for the ios and android platforms. I’ve just downloaded it so will give it a trial run ahead of tomorrow’s missive.

Before moving on the Torygraph have an exclusive interview with Eddie Jones which bizarrely is titled: ‘England are now benefitting from my selections’. What a crock of shite. The man singlehandedly brought England Rugby to its knees, and overspent by millions in the process. I tried reading it but it was a rambling invective full of ‘I’ and ‘me’.

I hope there isn’t an added twist to the tragedy which is the passing of Highlanders Connor Garden-Bachop at the age of 25. The gifted player passed away in Christchurch on Monday following a ‘medical event’. His family is one amazing catalogue of rugby brilliance (see Daily Fail or Guardian). Young Connor’s contract was not renewed at the end of the Super season. You can draw your own conclusions. Whatever the circumstances it is a tragedy.

As was the case of a young Holybush RFC (near Caerphilly, Wales) player who tragically collapsed and died during his club’s summer touch rugby program. Life is all too short. We are here for a good time not a long time, and life is definitely for the living. Don’t waste it!

Warren Gatland announces his team to face South Africa later today. This will be an experimental side ahead of the trip down under. James Botham has been called into the squad but I don’t expect him to play on Saturday.

The Euros continues unabated. Plenty of pathetic diving, screaming as if shot by an elephant gun, and histrionics from the prima-donnas strutting their stuff. That said Kylian Mbappe’s broken nose is quite something. It is ridiculous that soccer doesn’t have the blood bin rule as per rugby. The French captain has blood pouring from his nose, was clearly in distress yet France for several minutes were forced to play with a man down whilst it was sorted out.

If you like your cricket then the Super 8s start tomorrow. Don’t discount West Indies after their impressive demolition of Afghanistan in the early hours of this morning. I know many of the staff at Coyoba Beach Resort will have been all over that.

How is the reading going. Pretty good actually. Plenty of laugh out moments such as ‘we won’t increase taxes’, and ‘we aren’t going to cosy up to the EU’. Of course there is the ‘we’ve done a great job over the last 14 years’. That always gets a laugh. I’m off now to read something called ‘Its Total B0!!c4s, so vote for us’, aka the Reform Manifesto. It is billed by Vanity Fair, and the TV Times as the comedy production of the year.

Monday 17th Jun: 10:00

A belated Father’s Day to all you fathers who read this drivel. It was only when my daughter called yesterday that I realised it was Father’s Day, after that I did try and milk it for all its worth. No luck however as Mrs Bleater was having none of that nonsense.

I know my dear old mum reads this guff, so ‘Hi mum, we made it home safely: 4 hours 40 minutes’. She is back in the care of the NHS in Telford Hospital. More on the NHS later, but I stand by my view; it needs a root and branch reorganisation. A reset if you like. Once you are in the system it seems to work BUT!!!!

The sports pages are dominated by the Euros and England’s hard fought win over Serbia. Yes I watched it and was cheering for England, as I had cheered for Scotland, and in fact Poland (they put Wales out in that penalty shoot out). What struck me watching last night, and on Friday, is clearly there is NO cost of living crisis in the UK. Tens of thousands of UK citizens flying their respective flags overseas, drinking towns dry, and paying exorbitant ticket prices to enter the gladiatorial arenas. Of course there might be a special box on the benefit claimants form where extra funds can be applied for fags, tattoos and football tournaments. Yes, yes, there is little or no rugby news so let me be controversial for a bit. It could well be that after July, once the Stalinist pogroms start, the freedom of the press and free speech is obliterated. This could be my last chance.

Anyway to rugby matters. Japan v England brings master and apprentice head to head. Not that I ever thought Eddie Jones was a ‘master’. A complete, arrogant, pompous, snivelling idiot more like. He speaks highly of me too. He singlehandedly left England on its knees with his tactics, his team selections and his inability to throw caution to the wind. Steve Borthwick started in a similar vein but has of late, oft through necessity, been more adventurous. With recent retirements, defections to France, and injuries, Borthwick now has the ideal time to experiment with a much more expansive game plan. Either of the two Smiths at #10 is a good thing, and please use the amazing athleticism of the side to its best advantage. In one of the papers, the Torygraph I think, captain Jamie George states ‘this England team is “staggeringly” athletic’. I still haven’t worked out where the game can be viewed. That is research for later this morning.

Wales face South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday. The phenomenon that is Taylor Swift is playing at the Principality. I wonder if she’ll do a rendition of Delilah? Doubt it !!!!!! Anyway, a much reduced Wales outfit will take on a less than complete South African side. The Boks are injury ravaged, and I think are saving themselves for the onslaught of Ireland which is to follow. Wales, always short of quality in depth, are also injury hit, but hamstrung by this game being outside the international window. Overseas based players are ineligible, which as the domestic season is all but done seems a nonsense.

Warren Gatland, if he is to win over the fans, has got to let the players play what is in front of them. Too often Gatland’s game plan has been one dimensional and when it doesn’t work players are left floundering like rabbits in the headlights. Use the undoubted talent wide out, even if it is a bit raw. Wales are always fit. Run the wildebeest to exhaustion. Keep the ball in hand for longer periods. Give us something to cheer. That said the wily old fox, Rassie Erasmus, always has a few tricks up his sleeve, if foxes have sleeves.

The NFL is huge in the US. Tens of thousands turn up at the Draft and millions and millions tune in to watch it on TV. That is the power of NFL. For a young Welsh kid to break into the game would be a miracle, but that is what it is looking like. Louis Rees-Zammit continues to take Kansas by storm. He hasn’t caught a ball, or run a yard in anger yet, but already he is fans favourite. Can’t wait for the Netflix movie if he does make the breakthrough, not that I have Netflix !!!!

That’ll do for now as I need to catch up on my reading. I love crime fiction. As my good friend Ken calls it; chewing gum for the brain. You don’t have to think too hard about it. I might try a different genre this week. Political fiction. I understand these are called ‘manifestos’. Full of fictitious twists and turns, false promises, double dealing, and best of all outrageous lies that the main characters will shamelessly foist on the innocent reader later in proceedings.

Sunday 16th Jun: 09:50

Well, it’s been quite a rollercoaster ride since getting back from holidays. Hours on the UK motorway network, and plenty of experience of the NHS. More on this later in the week. Not a great deal of time to reflect on all things rugby in the meantime.

There has been rugby, including the two United Reform Church semi-finals. Did Leinster travel to South Africa to face the Bulls more in hope than expectation? It was a very strong Leinster line-up but playing in Pretoria at altitude, in front of the noisy loyal Afrikaners, and after a long domestic and international season was always going to be tough, and so it proved.

Would Munster fly the flag for Ireland in the final. No, they came up short against a very strong Glasgow outfit packed with Scottish internationals. To be fair, for most of the URC season Glasgow have led the way. So it is Bulls v Glasgow in Pretoria next week. Home advantage and at altitude you have to go Bulls.

Rugby is dwarfed by football, and for the next few weeks it will be wall to wall coverage of the Euros on terrestrial TV. It is a real shame that the URC is tucked away on a non-entity of a pay-to-view channel. Whilst we get glimpses of some of it thanks to BBC Wales/S4C, it is an issue. TNT Sports is a bigger platform but still a subscription channel so the coverage of the Premiership is limited. I think all the upcoming Summer Internationals are on one or other of the subscription channels. The RFU are planning to stream the Japan v England game because a deal wasn’t forthcoming. This is not great for the game.

If you have SKY then you would have had access to Super Rugby. It will come as no surprise the Super Final will be between two New Zealand franchises after the Blues put away a dogged Brumbies outfit, and the Chiefs beat the Hurricanes. That game follows Japan v England next Saturday, a marathon of a day if you love your rugby.

South Africa v Wales and Barbarians v Fiji both from Twickenham follow later in the day. If the weather is anything like it is right now then I’ll be watching both.

The RFU have finally seen sense and offered an olive branch to the Championship. The eligibility criteria in terms of stadium capacity has been dropped to 5,000, and a play-off between the bottom side in the Premiership and the top side in the Championship will now decide on clubs’ fates. That’ll come in to force for the 25/26 season. There is still much debate about funding however. You know my view, the RFU isn’t a charity, and clubs with ambition must be self-supporting. Too many clubs have gone to the wall because the game is overpaying players and reliant on benefactors.

Ben Obano has been given a four match ban for his red card of last week. No surprise there.

Bristol Bears and Gloucester-Hartpury face each other in the Women’s Premiership Final next weekend.

That’s all the main rugby news for now. I could scrape the barrel a bit more but there is tomorrow to think about.

Don’t forget touch rugby is now on at the club every Thursday come rain, more rain, and even more rain. If that is too energetic for you walking rugby is at 6pm and all are welcome; young and old, male and female, and the bar is open too!!!

In other sport, and there is plenty of it, you have the Euros, the golf, and the T20 World Cup. England scraped through to the ‘Super 8s’ by the skin of their teeth after two impressive wins, but against low ranked nations, and only then after Australia beat Scotland in the early hours of this morning.

Scotland have been excellent and can count themselves unlucky not to progress. Their footballing counterparts however were woeful on Friday. After all the hype it was a dreadful showing by the Scots. William Wallace replaced by Wallace & Gromit.

Must go, the kettle’s boiled, and my blueberry wheats with fresh strawberries are not going eat themselves.

Wednesday 12th Jun: 14:45

Sorry about the lack of words on Wednesday. Too much to do and not feeling great. Much improved now however.

The CRFC 1st XV fixtures for 24/25 are out. We start with Canterbury II at home on 7th September and finish with them away on April 5th.

The league is pretty much as last season with the exception of Dartfordians who were promoted to Regional 2, and Sevenoaks II and Park House who were promoted into Kent 1 from Kent 2.

The full fixture list can be found on www.rfulondon.com under ‘news’.

Gregor Townsend has included ten uncapped players in his squad who tour the Americas shortly.

Johnny May is off to France to play in the Pro2 with Angouleme.

Fascinating piece in the Torygraph about how much Bruce Craig has invested into Bath over recent years. It is an eye-watering amount which highlights the precarious position clubs put themselves in. Craig walks, Bath collapse. The article does talk about the upcoming transformation of The Rec, which I believe Craig is underwriting.

Aussie fly-half Carter Gordon who has been instrumental in bringing some flair back to the game down under is off. He has announced he is heading to the NRL and the Gold Coast Titans. This is a blow for the union game but with the Rebels collapse not unexpected.

Right, that’ll do for now. Sorry but nothing until Sunday. Bridgnorth beckons I’m afraid.

Tuesday 11th Jun: 09:20

Not sure if anyone reads this guff anymore but I’ll keep going. Anyway, I’m back from a fantastic break away in glorious sunshine, with amazing beaches and way too much food and drink. Boy was it cold here by comparison yesterday.

I missed plenty of good stuff by the seems of it. The Premiership Final sounds a cracker. I’ll watch that on ‘catch up’ at some point. The sending off of Obano on the 22 minute mark has caused quite a stir. It changed the complexity of the game with several pundits saying that within the laws the decision was right, but with regard to the integrity of the game are the laws themselves right. I’ll follow up on this in coming days, but in essence with the litigation hanging over the game, we have to take head contact out of the equation.

The news that Rob Burrows has passed was sad. Obviously not unexpected as his fight against MND has been a long one, but sad nonetheless. It was good to see both codes marking his passing with the respect it deserved.

Steve Borthwick announced his squad for the upcoming tour yesterday. With George Ford absent due to injury is this the moment Marcus Smith finally makes the coveted number 10 shirt his own, or will he be usurped by the other Smith, Fin of course. The Curry brothers have been included despite Tom only playing a few minutes of late. The inclusion of Maro Itoje has raised some eyebrows too. Despite all the noise about player welfare and limiting game time Itoje is set to break the game-time limit agreed by the various bodies running our game. Jamie George leads the side.

Warren Gatland has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons with the recall of Cory Hill. This is seen as a slap in the face for the talent that has stayed in Wales. To be fair Wales is not overrun with quality second row at the moment, what with injury and suspensions, and the ridiculous rule that prevents the English based players from being included (in the test against South Africa).

The much troubled Stuart Hogg has announced a return to playing. He is off to France to play but has suggested he might do a Keiresque u-turn and push for a place in the Scotland squad.

I see the Melbourne Rebels are no more. A sad state of affairs for the union game in Australia, especially as Melbourne is a sports mad city. Aussie rules dominates however.

It was brilliant to read that the club did the game proud with the hosting of the RFU / Honda Rugby Grounds event. The sun shone at Steel Cross with the Friday Club, Louise and Jacqui adding the icing and cherry to the cake. You can read all about it on the website. Well done all.

Just a short missive this morning as I need to catch-up on all the election drama I’ve been missing out on. Actually I need to cut the grass and trim the hedges, way more interesting than listening to mealy mouthed politicians talk complete nonsense, and speaking with forked tongues.