Thursday, 23 February 2017

Denny for England?

Sale Sharks winger Denny Solomona has apparently decided that he would like to play rugby for England.
Solomona has scored 8 tries in 5 games for Sale since controversially switching codes from Castleford Tigers in December.
The New Zealand-born winger has represented Samoa at rugby league but will soon be qualified to play union for England under the 3 year residency rule.
Should he be selected?
There is no problem with his eligibility. Under the current regulations he would clearly be eligible for selection.
Morally and ethically, though, it is less clear cut. He is not English, has no connection with England, has previously expressed no desire to play for England and only now qualifies to play for England owing to a period of time spent playing a different sport in this country and a switch to rugby union in circumstances which were highly controversial and which currently remain the subject of a legal dispute.
If he does turn out to be good enough to play international rugby and it is decided that he is better than the wingers England currently has, then I guess that Eddie Jones would be foolish not to select him.
It would be a decision, however, that for all sorts of reasons would not sit very easily with me.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Georgia on my mind (again)

The case for Georgia’s inclusion in the Six Nations, whether via a play-off against the bottom team or as part of an extended championship, is becoming increasingly difficult to refute.

Currently ranked 12 in the World Rugby standings (2 places above Italy and only 4 behind Scotland), Georgia have won every Six Nations 'B' tournament since 2011 and lead this year’s championship with 2 wins from 2.

The Six Nations remains an anachronistic closed shop, however, leaving Georgia starved of regular fixtures against Tier 1 nations.

To international rugby’s shame, it took years before Argentina were allowed to eat from the top table. The same fate should not be allowed to befall the Georgians.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Dan Vickerman RIP

Shocked and saddened by the tragic death of former Aussie lock Dan Vickerman.

37 is no age at all...

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Age is only a number

With no international rugby on which to focus this weekend, my attention is drawn to comments from Andrew Walker, former Australian dual rugby international, who has volunteered his services to the Brumbies at the ripe old age of 43.
According to Walker "the fire is still blazing" and although he may have "lost about 10 per cent of speed” he “makes up for that with experience”.
You have to love this guy’s optimism and enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, 52 year old Total Flanker has once again made himself available for British & Irish Lions selection.
I still have a few smouldering embers” said the rotund veteran, “and while I may have lost more than 70 per cent of my pace, I more than make up for it with cunning, dishonesty and treachery.”

Friday, 17 February 2017

The story so far…

As a fallow 6 Nations weekend approaches, time perhaps to reflect on what we have seen so far:

- Cracking rugby;

- Five of the six teams have achieved at least one victory in their opening two matches;

- England’s late, late shows are doing my heart no good at all;

- Two-thirds of all games have been edge of the seat affairs decided by one score;

- Attacking intent is evident even if, to date, defences have largely prevailed;

- Italy’s progress has at best stalled – and calls for Georgia to replace the Azurri in the competition are, whilst probably unrealistic, no longer without merit;

- The number of injuries gives lie to any suggestion that the Six Nations should in future be cut from 7 weeks to 5 – yes it’s frustrating but the fallow weekends are important to allow teams to rest and recuperate.

Can’t wait for next weekend…

Monday, 13 February 2017

Six Nations 2017 - Round 2 Verdict

ITALY - poor. Conor O'Shea now has the near impossible task of unearthing a new generation of Italian players who won't be utterly reliant on Sergio Parisse and will be able to sustain intensity beyond 50 minutes. The case for Georgia's promotion to the Six Nations grows week by week.

IRELAND - ruthless, efficient and mostly error-free against the Italians, but it will only be possible to judge this team when under sustained pressure - something that they simply did not experience in Rome.

WALES - monumental effort in Cardiff but the Welsh performance again raises the perennial question: if Wales can rouse themselves to these levels against England then why not on a regular basis?

ENGLAND - true grit. England's rookie back row were always going to be up against it but the collective will and effort of the pack and the cool heads outside them saw them home in a pulsating finale.

FRANCE - kicked on after a promising start at Twickenham last week and ultimately had too much power for Scotland in Paris. If they can add a bit of finesse to the midfield France could be a force to be reckoned with.

SCOTLAND - little doubt now that the Scottish revival is something of substance, although their second string props were taught a lesson in Paris and the Scots' scrummaging will need to improve if the revival is to be sustained.


15. Scott Spedding 14. Craig Gilroy 13. Gary Ringrose 12. Owen Farrell 11. Elliot Daly 10. Dan Biggar  9. Connor Murray  1. Joe Marler 2. Guilhem Guirado 3. Rabah Slimani 4. Joe Launchbury 5. Courtney Lawes 6. CJ Stander 7. Kevin Gourdon 8. Josh Strauss