Black Power

The All Black squad to tour next month was announced earlier.

Because of injury and other reasons a number of players were not considered for the tour – these include – hooker Liam Coltman, props Owen Franks and Joe Moody, lock Brodie Retallick, and outside backs Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ben Smith.

Despite the absences of top players the squad looks pretty formidable –


Asafo Aumua (20, Wellington, uncapped)
Dane Coles (30, Wellington, 55)
Nathan Harris (25, Bay of Plenty, 9)
Codie Taylor (26, Canterbury, 25)

Wyatt Crockett (34, Canterbury, 68)
Kane Hames (29, Tasman, 6)
Nepo Laulala (26, Counties Manukau, 10)
Tim Perry (29, Tasman, uncapped)
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (26, Wellington, 1)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (25, Auckland, 11)

Scott Barrett (23, Taranaki, 14)
Luke Romano (31, Canterbury, 29)
Patrick Tuipulotu (24, Auckland, 15)
Samuel Whitelock (29, Canterbury, 93)

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (25, Bay of Plenty, 50)
Vaea Fifita (25, Wellington, 3)
Jerome Kaino (34, Auckland, 74)
Kieran Read, captain (31, Counties Manukau, 107)
Ardie Savea (24, Wellington, 21)
Liam Squire (26, Tasman, 12)
Matt Todd (29, Canterbury, 10)


Tawera Kerr–Barlow (27, Waikato, 24)
TJ Perenara (25, Wellington, 39)
Aaron Smith (28, Manawatu, 68)

First five–eighths
Beauden Barrett (26, Taranaki, 59)
Lima Sopoaga (26, Southland, 13)

Ryan Crotty (29, Canterbury, 32)
Jack Goodhue (22, Northland, uncapped)
Ngani Laumape (24, Manawatu, 4)
Anton Lienert-Brown (22, Waikato, 19)
Sonny Bill Williams (32, Counties Manukau, 43)

Outside backs
David Havili (22, Tasman, 3)
Matt Duffie (27, North Harbour, uncapped)
Rieko Ioane (20, Auckland, 10)
Damian McKenzie (22, Waikato, 9)
Waisake Naholo (26, Taranaki, 15)
Seta Tamanivalu (25, Taranaki, 3)

The squad features four uncapped players: dynamic 20-year-old Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua; talented North Harbour outside back Matt Duffie; and Tasman prop Tim Perry and Northland midfielder Jack Goodhue, who both trained with the All Blacks squad earlier this year.

I don’t read too much into the loss to the Wallabies on Saturday – as well as the Aussie team played the points difference was less than the interception try.

Michael Chieka was right to urge caution – there is no doubt that the Wallabies have turned a corner, but the All Blacks are hardly in decline.

Both SH sides will be a handful in November.




Man Down

My predictions in the Champions Cup were so poor that I plunged 59 places in my pool – down from 5th= to 64th=

I only managed to get 6 from 10 and was miles out on the score predictions.

It could have been worse with both Saracens and Toulon flirting with disastrous results.

I haven’t even looked at where I am now in the UK and global charts! Well, I have, obviously – but I’m not going to tell anyone (again, obviously).

Despite this pathetic performance, there was one result that I was absolutely delighted to get wrong. To my shame I had the Chiefs losing to Montpellier.

Rob Baxter’s men were brilliant and it would be no surprise if Henry Slade, Don Armand and maybe even Sam Simmonds are named by Eddie Jones on Thursday. A word however, for Nemani Nadolo’s finish in the corner for Montpellier – worth watching –

It’s back to the Premiership next week, so at least I can’t drop further on the leaderboards – well, not until December anyway!


Bath Sort

Tory MP Tim Loughton has said that he spends an hour in the bath every morning “just thinking about things”

Presumably wondering why he’s getting cold and wrinkly!

What he didn’t mention was that whilst he was contemplating his rubber duck he was charging the taxpayer for his water bills!

A Conservative MP who enjoys an hour-long morning bath racked up water bills over the past two years of £662 all charged to the taxpayer.

Bills submitted under his parliamentary expenses show the elected representative for East Worthing and Shoreham has been spending close to £50 a month at times on Thames Water supply for his rented London flat.

He may not be nice, but he’s not that dim is he?





No Injury Time

A new study from the University of Bath and Rugby England is designed to help reduce the number of injuries in rugby.

A series of exercises performed before rugby matches can dramatically reduce injury, according to a benchmark study that the game’s coaches hope will rebut the charge that they do not take the issue of concussion seriously.

The programme, known as Activate, is the result of a project by health researchers at the University of Bath and England Rugby. The results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggest that the exercises can significantly reduce concussion and lower limb injuries.

Researchers followed the progress of 81 men’s community rugby club teams and nearly 2,000 players over the course of a season, during which players performed the programme. Incidence of concussion was reduced by up to 60%, with lower-limb injuries down by as much as 40%. The closer the programme was observed by players, the greater the effect. The best results occurred when teams practised the warm-up at least twice a week.

An increasing number of professional players are having to leave the sport prematurely due to serious injury. World Rugby has introduced heavier sanctions for high tackles. But the efficacy of this policy has been questioned. A recent study of Premiership rugby in England concluded that rates of concussion have gone from 6.7 per 1,000 player hours in 2012-13 to 15.8 in 2015-16 – or one brain injury every couple of matches. Concussion now accounts for 25% of all injuries.

The initiative was launched in September and already hundreds of coaches have signed up for the online resource and face to face training.

Frankly, it should be compulsory and part of the coaching qualifications.

LeWitt’s End

Lell sent me this yesterday, saying that it was 100% blog fodder – she’s not wrong!

This is conceptual art apparently and you have to pay for it – but here’s the thing it may look like a pile of breeze blocks to you, however the breeze blocks aren’t actually included.

What you get is a sheet of paper telling you how to build it, and then you have to go and buy the bricks yourself! No – really!

Once constructed, Sol LeWitt’s Irregular Progression (Griesdorn) comprises 111 concrete rectangular blocks arranged in columns of different heights suggesting a basic architectural framework or perhaps a city skyline. In the simplicity of its design it recalls the modular cubes of the artist’s early Minimalist works, but it is in fact a striking example of the artist’ contributions as a key proponent of Conceptual Art. In line with LeWitt’s earlier wall-drawings first shown at the Paula Cooper Gallery in 1968, the work is subject to the removal of the artist’s intervention in the creative process. The owner of Irregular Progression acquires only the paper certificate, not the sculpture itself, which they then have to recreate according to specific instructions. When the work changes hands their version must be destroyed and the work rebuilt by the new owner.

I’ve just knocked out an Oscar winning film script –

There are two blokes and a Doris

One bloke shoots the other and marries the Doris, who it turns out is a transvestite.

They live happily ever after.

All you have to do is fill in a bit of dialogue, some film directions, the casting, an original music score, art direction and a  shooting script – then send it off to Hollywood (with my name on it, obviously).

Piece of cake – which I am going to send off to Sotheby’s as a conceptual creation symbolising the ‘Bake Off’. A right bargain at £100k!

It’s hardly Rodin is it?