Joining the Gig Economy

By comparison with the RFU, the BBC is an exemplary employer when it comes to looking after the fairer sex.

Twickenham just became the latest example of running a gig economy – dishing out contracts for a one off job. As soon as the Women’s World Cup finishes next month, so do the contracts for most of the 50 England Women’s rugby players – well about 80% of them anyway. They will no longer be called professionals or treated professionally.

Since I also wrote about this yesterday you might think I’m a tad miffed – you’d be wrong –I’m fucking apoplectic – as should every England supporter be.

Nigel ‘I’m alright’ Melville was appointed as Director of Professional Rugby at the RFU – they should immediately delete the words ‘Director’ and ‘Professional’ from his title and frankly ‘Rugby’ is pretty questionable too.

He currently reports directly to Ian Ritchie

He just perpetrated the most unprofessional act from the RFU ever – and, as you can imagine he was up against some pretty stiff competition. You might remember that it was this was the lot that, under no pressure, suddenly gave Stuart Lancaster a 6 year contract some months before the 2015 WC – how did that work out for you eh?

Run England professional rugby? I wouldn’t trust him to run a bath.

Protected no doubt, by his own long term generous contract, he sits comfortably in Twickenham which is (laughably) referred to as HQ – it should now be known as Twickenham FU.

Many in the press and on social media have described this failure to renew contracts as disgraceful – I am surprised and disappointed that none of the England squad or management have expressed a similar reaction.

Melville’s response to the criticism was laughable –

It was reported in The Rugby Paper that XVs players were only recently made aware that their contracts would not be renewed for 2017/18 season. However, RFU Director of Professional Rugby Melville stressed that players were made aware of the changes.

“The women’s squad were always aware that contracts would end in September, after the World Cup. The current XVs squad was informed in April that the next contracts will be focused on sevens, reflecting the cyclical nature of the women’s game.

“The squad fully understands the position and are focused on the World Cup in Ireland next month.”

England head coach Simon Middleton named a 28 player squad to travel to Dublin and Belfast next month. England are the only nation participating in the tournament to give their players contracts of this nature, so they could focus solely on World Cup preparation.

The governing body explained there would be a return to contracts for XVs players in preparation for the next Women’s Rugby World Cup. 

Really – You seriously think that giving them 4 months’ notice before the World Cup is good management?

Informing them in April that they soon won’t be able to pay mortgages or child care is at best stupid – at worst callous.

These women will have given up good jobs to become professionals – something you’re not, no matter what it says on your business card!

Last year the RFU made a profit of £400 million and paid out sizable bonuses to the execs, despite making a complete balls of the 2015 WC.

Paying 50 professionals in the Women’s squad could be covered by a half decent negotiator getting them better sponsorship ffs.

I never thought I’d say it – but I’d rather have Rob Andrew and let Melville slink back to the States.

Hang your heads in shame – everyone one at the RFU who signed up for this – today I am ashamed to be an England supporter.

Stop Messing About

Super Rugby has now reached the business end of the tournament and the top 4 teams will compete in the semi- finals this week. So it’s all worked out in the end yes?

Well no, actually – there remains a fair bit of controversy.

Not least because the ARU still haven’t sorted out the cull for next year – but more of that later.

Even at this late stage you have to wonder how a format can allow the Lions to play 16 games before they meet a NZ franchise. And yet they have guaranteed home advantage through to the final – as long as they keep winning, obviously.

There are already rumblings in the NZ media about whether it is realistic to keep playing the SA sides – a similar sentiment is echoed in SA by Brendan Venter –

There is no denying that Super Rugby has become a rather cumbersome competition since I last played for the Stormers in 2000. At that point in history, the tournament was known as the Super 12 and New Zealand was represented by five teams, South Africa four and Australia three. The round-robin format made far more sense than the current conference system, which doesn’t enhance the product, and interest was piqued as the play-off battles ensured a strength-versus-strength scenario.

While the short-term solution for South Africa is to remain part of Super Rugby because there is a broadcast deal in place until 2020, I would urge SA Rugby to explore the option of joining a northern hemisphere competition at some point.

With SA Rugby serving as the primary funder of Sanzaar, we can no longer afford to have a situation whereby the tail wags the dog and we subsidise other organisations.

SA Rugby possesses the resources and must make use of their clout going forward. I don’t agree with the notion that we should be helping to build rugby in Argentina and Japan through a structure which we largely fund. I don’t believe it’s our problem to solve and from my point of view enough has already been done in order to develop rugby in those regions.

Another anomaly by Sanzaar is the failure to appoint neutral referees.

Glen Jackson took charge of the Brumbies v Hurricanes and Jaco Peyper is to ref the Lions v Hurricanes this weekend.

I think they are both excellent referees but it seems odd that Sanzaar don’t automatically use neutrals for the play-off stage.

Why run any risk of bias accusations – however small?

Another point that underlines the problems in Super rugby is the poor turnouts for the quarter finals –

Super Rugby’s issues were laid bare last weekend when crowds across three countries gave the distinct impression that this competition is no longer a premier event.

From Christchurch to Canberra and Johannesburg, three of the four quarterfinals featured underwhelming turnouts.

The Stormers and Chiefs match in Cape Town pulled the most punters with around 27,500 rocking up to Newlands; a stadium which will be expected to hold over 51,000 for the All Blacks later this year.

Fans in Christchurch at least had an excuse. The Crusaders sold 15,500 tickets – more than 5,000 shy of capacity – but 11,000 braved the dire weather after a state of emergency had been declared in some parts of the city. Even the big screen television was pulled down for safety reasons.

Those in Canberra, where it is believed a pitiful 9,000 watched the Brumbies collapse in the second half against the Hurricanes, had no such excuse. Here the plight of Australian rugby was there for all to see.

On a typically cold winter night in the Australian capital, many locals simply stayed away because they didn’t believe the Brumbies could win. The sight of near-empty stands should have shaken organisers to their core. For a game of this importance, it was embarrassing.

And while there was a decent crowd (around 26,000) in Johannesburg as the Lions snuck past the Sharks, Ellis Park was still well under half full (61,000 capacity) despite being baked in sun.

9,000 for a quarter final of a major competition?

Finally back to the conundrum of axing an Australian franchise.

The favourites to go seem to be ‘The Western Force’

In 2017 the Force got more points (26) than three of the Australian franchises – The Reds (21), Waratahs (19) and the Rebels (9).

The Brumbies who were rewarded with a home quarter final only accumulated 34.

The Force were also ahead of the Cheetahs (21), the Bulls (20) and the Sunwolves (12).


The tournament is a shambles – it used to be brilliant. And Still Sanzaar haven’t said how the new Super 15 (or will it be 16?) will be structured for 2018.

Having been unceremoniously dumped out, the Cheetahs and the Kings have quickly sorted themselves out by joining the Pro12 (now 14) league.

Sanzaar don’t seem to have a clue – which is a disgrace.

In a proper business, the CEO and board would have already been sacked!

 The NRA must be so proud!

This week there was another tragic firearms accident in the States –

A 10-year-old boy has died after he was shot in the head accidentally by his 13-year-old brother inside their St. Louis home, police say. 

The tragic shooting that left Anthony Turner, 10, dead happened on Sunday evening at the Clinton-Peabody public housing complex, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.  

St. Louis police say the boy’s older brother was handling a firearm when it went off around 5.45pm and the bullet struck the 10-year-old in the head. 

How can a 13 year old get hold of a loaded weapon in his home?

The following day a politician used the soundtrack of a shooting in a TV ad showing his support for gun rights!

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks is using audio of last month’s shooting involving GOP Whip Steve Scalise and other Republican congressmen in a campaign ad touting his support for gun rights.

Brooks is running in a Senate Republican primary to fill the seat left open by Jeff Sessions, who became U.S. Attorney General.

I really don’t think the Founding Fathers meant the right to bear arms included kids do you?


I Effing Knew It!

A couple of great pieces of research –

Firstly it seems that getting pissed is actually good for the old memory –
Drinking alcohol can actually improve memory, academics at Exeter University have found as a study showed that those who drink after studying are better at recalling what they learnt.

In a study, 88 social drinkers were given a word-learning task.

They were then split in two groups at random and told either to drink as much as they liked – the average was four units – or not to drink at all.

The next day, they all did the same task again – and those who had drunk alcohol remembered more of what they had learned.

Professor Celia Morgan said: “Our research not only showed that those who drank alcohol did better when repeating the word-learning task, but that this effect was stronger among those who drank more.

I have to be honest, in the many times I’ve been trollied I have had a job remembering who I am, much less what I did. Obviously I’m not drinking enough – definitely need to address that next time I’m out with Harro or Airdy I think.

The second research is one I’ve mentioned before – I’m fucking sure of it!

Swearing appears to be a feature of language that an articulate speaker can use in order to communicate with maximum effectiveness. And actually, some uses of swearing go beyond just communication.

I sodding told you didn’t I?

rFU Ladies

You would have thought that with all the ranting about equal pay (or not) at the BBC that everyone else would be likely to be careful regarding gender pay at the moment.

Obviously the RFU don’t seem to worry about that sort of nonsense!

According to ‘The Rugby Paper’ the RFU are not going to renew the full and part-time professional contracts for the Red Roses – the England Women’s rugby team.

Currently, there are about 50 players who are on a mixture of full-time and part-time professional contracts with many of these players have given up careers and job opportunities to fully concentrate on the 15s game. However, come September, there will only be 17 contracts handed out to 50 of these players, and those contracts will be for the sevens programme, not the 15s game.

According to the report, the Union want to focus on the seven woman code ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the sevens World Cup taking place in San Francisco next year.

This announcement comes just a few weeks before the team are hoping to defend their title at the Women’s World Cup in Ireland.

Yes – just in case you missed that RFU – England are the current World Champions. They also won the Grand Slam in this year’s 6 nations and just returned from an unbeaten tour in New Zealand!

Great motivation and support for the England team – from the richest Union on the planet!

What a disgrace – we now know what the FU stands for at Twickenham!

Blood Sport

I have an odd blood group – I’m what they call a ‘universal donor’. I’ve also been called a lot of other things that are rather more derogatory – and still am to be honest.

I was a blood donor for about 50 years and clocked up a fair few lost pints – because of my group I also gave up a load of platelets.

Similar to my time on the rugby pitch, I wasn’t that brave and regularly made as much fuss as Tony Hancock.


I am only telling you this as I read an interesting article yesterday about the changes in the rules for giving blood amongst the gay community and sex workers –

Apparently blood can now be given from these groups as long as they haven’t had sex for three months. I don’t belong to either category, but I wouldn’t unfortunately have had a problem if the same rules applied to me.

The one thing that does surprise me though – if a sex worker hasn’t has sex for 3 months then presumably they are unemployed, either that or really not very good at their job.

Home and Away

I read that the past weekend was going to be the busiest time for the travel exodus from Britain as the schools have all broken up for summer.

Something like 2.4 million people have now buggered off abroad in the last few days.

I’m a bit surprised – with how Brexit is being fucked up I would have thought a lot more would have sodded off – with most of them not bothering to return!

Jonathan Pie also has some entertaining views on MPs going on holiday at this time –



No doubt they will all be congratulating themselves on their brilliant year in politics!