Prop Idols

I spend quite a lot of time taking the piss out of the forwards and in particular the front row – something I would never have dreamed of when I was in the changing room (or anywhere within punching distance). From behind a keyboard it is relatively safe and I can troll away with impunity. Truth is, the forwards I played with spent a lot of time looking after us ‘girls’ in the backs – especially me – although that never did protect them from our predatory sense of humour (not that they understood or took much notice of us most of the time) I found this video clip of top tries by front rows and add it here as a tribute to all the great number 1, 2 and 3s I played alongside. Thanks to Chas, Kip, Rupert, Lunny, Sean, Doggy, Daisy, Scrapper, Brewster,Tom, Kieran, Peety, Jobber, Millie, Oaksey, Vic, Mad Dog and many others who I was lucky to wear the Askean shirt with (that’s figurative – we each had our own, obviously)



Heart Beat

There’s been a lot of media attention on the increasing number, and severity of rugby injuries in recent times – often as a result of players being bigger and fitter. What seems to have been forgotten is us poor sods who get overly worked up watching from the side-lines. It’s all very well the introduction of monitoring and techno equipment that measure everything that players do from diet to distance run and to brightness of their boots. Now, finally another bunch of blokes in white coats, who obviously have fuck all to do most of the time, have been checking out the blood pressure of the hordes who pitch up to watch. New Zealand boffins have been tracking the health of All Black fans and have discovered that when the ABs lose – especially in a World Cup – there is a serious spike in cardiac admissions to A & E. Conversely whenever the team win (as in 2011) there is a drop in the numbers keeling over – although  I’m a bit surprised that there wasn’t a bloody big rush of 999 calls in the last five minutes when France were only behind by one point! Luckily for the New Zealand docs the All Blacks tend to win a lot more often than they lose – fuck knows what would happen over here if fans down the ‘Tigers Head’ et  al  suffered similar health problems whilst watching the England football team. I imagine the NHS would actually have its own cardiac arrest from being severely over loaded. Fortunately they only have to deal with our fans biting each other’s ears off and the alcohol poisoning from trying to drown their sore heads. The stomach pumps would be working overtime which is more than the blokes with tubes down their throats would be doing anytime soon. Talking of pumps (clever eh?) I found another article which is worthy of being ‘tossed’ in here. In China a different set of ‘brokes hin why cose’ have invented a new machine that is about as much fun as finding out that your girlfriend used to be called Fred.  It’s wittily called an Automatic Sperm Extractor – and it probably does exactly what it says on the tin although you wouldn’t be able to read the instructions for laughing your pants off. It’s ‘hands free’ technology so I imagine it has blue tooth – which, blow me, is probably an added benefit on the deluxe model. It doesn’t say if you can get one fitted under the steering wheel although I expect it to be an option on new ‘HanShandee’ electric models out of Bejing. The instructional video is very helpful in case you can’t afford your own ‘knock one out’ job. You’ve got to hand it to the Chinese – this is one machine that’s hard to beat!


Farrelley & Away


Farrelley & Away

Farelley & Jan came to visit us in Carrot Corner last week – as usual they were laden with gifts – including the rather fetching T shirt which I can be seen modelling here. It’s not a ‘selfie’ as I couldn’t get it far enough away to show both my boat and the RWC logo. As always we had a lot of laughs – despite the fact that neither Tony nor I drink these days! As usual I forgot to take photos – so can’t show you how good Jan & Terry look and how buff Farrelley is these days! Still, you can see what a twat I remain!

Brewer or Bauer?


Brewer or Bauer?

Another rugby look- a -like today – is it really Keifer Sutherland racing round London in the latest series of 24? I don’t think so – I suspect one time Askean hooker Brewster is doing all the stunt work whilst Donald’s son takes all the credit for saving us Brits (again!). Colin’s hair may look a tad seventies – possibly because the pic is from 1971

Biting Back

With England out of the world cup the tabloids have been scrabbling around to find stuff to fill the back pages. Inevitably there are the recriminations and a performance audit for the England camp and Roy and the boys will be secretly pleased that Luis Suarez is doing his best to keep them out of the spotlight. I talked yesterday (okay, scribbled here if you want to be pedantic) about rugby’s not so dark arts and mentioned that biting wasn’t a drama in my day as most  forwards didn’t have any teeth left with which to chomp. This would have given them a first class alibi, although I forgot to mention that more than a few Askeans would leave their choppers in the changing room – mostly by choice. I can tell you that, after a game,  it can be quite disconcerting to shove your hand in the valuables bag (definitely not a euphemism) in order to locate your drinking vouchers – and to mistakenly think that something resembling a bear trap has been left there! Let’s be honest we’ve had enough of this Suarez nonsense – if a little nibble is considered to be serious offence then football is about as violent as table tennis or carrying some heavy shopping. FIFA also consider spitting to be a major problem – it’s a bit of phlegm for fuck’s sake – not especially pleasant I grant you – but we’re not talking king cobra venom here guys. Another thing football authorities don’t like is ‘brawling’ – which makes it sound like a playground scuffle – they can’t even bring themselves to call it fighting. In rugby it’s called ‘handbags’ which is largely ironic if you look at some of the slaps that land – think Federico Mendez and Paul Ackford  – and the contretemps between Manu and Chris Ashton. –  FIFA should focus on blokes rolling around like nancies when someone brushes past them – that and working out how to convince us all that Qatar was selected because, at 125 degrees, it’s such a perfect venue for kicking a ball about. For one final thought on gnashers I would like to quote the Springbok Johan Le Roux who after biting Sean Fitzpatrick’s ear said: “For an 18-month suspension, I feel I probably should have torn it off. Then at least I could say, ‘Look, I’ve returned to South Africa with the guy’s ear.'” I often wondered if Sean asked him out for a bite when the All Blacks were next in Port Elizabeth.


Bite Marks – 2/10

There has been a ton of stuff in the media and on social network sites about the Suarez ‘bite’. The best of the jokes and pictures linked him with Jaws and Hannibal Lecter. Some newspapers have been only too delighted to point out that rugby has also had a number of incidents of chomping and to list the players involved along with the penalties for getting caught (actually a bigger offence in my view). Once again we leave football in our wake – you can hardly notice any marks on Chiellino’s shoulder – in rugby it is not unusual to see a lot of claret – distributed roughly evenly between a ragged earlobe and the gnashers of a front row forward. A lot of the ‘vigorous debates’ are held at the bottom of a ruck apparently – luckily I have no first hand (or molar) experience of this – seeing as how I made fucking sure not to be anywhere near one of these unruly places – a demonstration of my wisdom (teeth) in action. To be fair, biting nowadays in rugby is not that prevalent – most of the front row forwards I know didn’t actually have any teeth left after their first season in club rugby. Mind you, I imagine being gummed by one still wouldn’t be that much of a picnic – except for them, obviously. In addition, for the few still with canines, it is quite hard to get a decent purchase on your opponent’s soft bits whilst wearing a gum shield. The forwards have probably developed far better ways to incapacitate one of the opposition in a melee where the cameras can’t penetrate – again rugby scores over football on initiative and innovation. No self -respecting prop is going to munch on a schnoz during open play with TV covering every angle on the pitch. In any case most of the front row facial features would more than likely be improved with a lump out of them. If you really want to get an unfair advantage – try water polo – I played rugby with Benny and Jez who were in the GB water polo team – their stories about what went on below the surface would make your eyes water a lot more than a heavy dose of chlorine. As for Chiellino’s rolling around on the pitch – you’d have thought he’d been attacked by a very hungry alligator, not the pantomime croc from Peter Pan. He wasn’t exactly in danger of losing a limb – what a tart! Sorry Suarez – you only get a low score for that passing glance with the Italian ‘nancy’ job. Must try (and bite) harder if you want to make the top ten. A decent drop of claret would help too!


From Russia with Bill

Had a rather jolly e-mail from Bill Rushton earlier this week – he is trying to locate some blokes who were on the school trip to Russia back in 1964. I have no idea why, but he is apparently keen to get some photos taken whilst we were doing our bit to prolong the Cold War. It’s quite possible that Bill was actually a spy back then (more George Smiley than Bond I suspect) and wants incriminating historical photos to flog off to one of the tabloids and embarrass William Hague. I imagine he’d have more luck if he had a couple of rare shots of England scoring a goal or even of one of the players scoring with a Brazilian Doris sporting a Brazilian! I do recall Louis Sandler knocking out a pair of Levis in exchange for a balalaika but can’t think this is of more interest than who’s shagging who on ‘Made in Chelsea’. Anyway, here’s his note –

From: W.RUSTON [mailto:
Sent: 23 June 2014 10:31
To: David Shute
Cc: James Russell
Subject: Russia 1964


Dear Dave,

I have managed to find a number of people. 


Jim Russell

Les Blyth

Brian Pritchard

Jon Herd

R Sandler

G Simpson

D Trist

I have also put messages on Friends Reunited for P Highmore, K R Shepherd and T J Jenkins but as yet have not had any replies.

Perhaps you can put the list of people on your blog it might elicit some response.

Nobody seems to have any photos.

I think Bert Lear’s wife is still living on the Thamesmead Estate but as yet I have been unable to find the address. Its likely Bert has died.

I will continue to follow this up.

Best Regards,



I have no idea who Bert Lear is, but hope that he is still with us and in possession of both some of the illicit photos much desired by Bill as well as all his faculties (although I’m not sure Bert was a teacher!). Why Bill thinks this blog might be of assistance I’m not sure, but any of my readers in The Republic of Korea or Sri Lanka who happened to be in Moscow in ’64 with a Box Brownie, he’d much appreciate your help!