Standard Bearers

Stuart Lancaster has made a point of setting the bar high when it comes to how he expects his squad to behave – both on and off the field.

Dylan Hartley and Manu Tuilagi have been excluded from the World Cup group. This is not a new policy, in 2012 Danny care was removed from the 6 Nations squad when his off field behaviour fell below the standard set down by the coach.


Danny Cipriani is in the squad – at least until his on-going case is decided. He may yet be excluded.

Before Lancaster took over there were other incidents – in 2009 Matt Stevens was banned for two years for testing positive for cocaine.

The hard line approach by Lancaster has been fully backed by the RFU, former players like Will Greenwood, Jonny Wilkinson and Martin Johnson – and probably by most England fans too.

The tougher stance has been attributed to the well reported antics at the 2011 World Cup, although, as I have previously pointed out, other teams behaved similarly (or worse) and got away with it because their media chose not to report it.

No matter, it is what it is.

It is interesting to see, however, that both New Zealand and Australia have a less strict attitude to off field incidents.

The All Blacks squad for the game in Samoa includes George Moala who was found guilty following a nightclub brawl (admittedly in 2013) –


Today, Michael Chieka, the Wallaby coach, has confirmed that he wants to play Karmichael Hunt at fullback in the Rugby Championship.


This is the same Karmichael Hunt who earlier this year was involved in a cocaine case –




Former Wallaby Sam Scott-Young has taken issue with the Queensland Reds keeping Hunt and is worried that Australian rugby is “lowering its standards”


In an environment where junior rugby everywhere is beset with crowd problems it would seem that the Unions should have a set of standards that ensure professional players are role models for the game everywhere.

The word professional is key here, as the (understandable) obsession with commercial success is the driver for coaches and administrators above all other considerations.

In the absence of self -regulation I think it is  incumbent on ‘World Rugby’ to set some standards for all unions to follow. This won’t happen, of course, and the danger of the game falling increasingly into disrepute grows every season.


Move On

The Super 15 game on Saturday between the Waratahs and the Highlanders continues to fill column inches in both New Zealand and Australia, despite the game being long over.

The controversy surrounds the commentary of Phil Kearns who berated the refereeing of Craig Joubert – in particular his awarding of a penalty try and a subsequent yellow card.


Not surprisingly your view depends on which side of the Tasman you were born.

Kearns has defended his ‘biased’ commentary and insists that Joubert had a shocker.


He stated –

“If you’re having a good game as a referee you don’t have 30,000 people chanting ‘Joubert’s a wanker’. And at the end of the game he got booed off the field. That would tend to indicate that he didn’t have a good game,” Kearns said.

I’m not sure this is especially useful as a defence, since the game was played in Sydney before a very partisan crowd.

I watched the game and thought that, on balance, the call for the penalty try was correct. The fact that a yellow card followed was inevitable in the circumstances – either he stopped a certain try illegally or he didn’t. If he did it’s yellow according to the laws.

After an exceptional season, the Waratahs did not play well in the semi-final and the booing may not have entirely been directed at the ref in my view.

In the end the Highlanders scored 5 tries to 1 and deserve their place in the final.

In the other game the Hurricanes outscored the Brumbies by 4 tries to none – highlights are here ––super-rugby-semi-final-2015062719


Time, I think, for Australian rugby to move on and to focus on the Rugby Championship and the World Cup



I’ll Be Doggone

In Peter Kay’s recent series ‘Car Share’ there is a very funny scene where Kayleigh, his passenger, is confused about what she thinks dogging really is!


She is somewhat put out when Peter explains what the term actually means –


I have to be honest I’m not all that keen on this idea – well, we only have a small car and I’m not as supple as I used to be! Now, if I had a Range Rover, then things might be different (only joking – I wouldn’t want to mess up the leather seats!).

In America one couple were very enthusiastic about this pursuit –

On balance i’m not sure I’d be all that keen to go dogging with them


They did however take it to a whole new level, as they were not only naked, but were, at the same time, driving along and eating pizza (although I’m not sure if that is a euphemism from the Ohio police report).

Kenneth, the bloke, has set the bar particularly high for other doggers as he was holding an open beer can between his feet – I’m guessing that his truck was an automatic.

The local paper reported, that the authorities indicated the couple appeared to be under the influence of alcohol – I should think so too – you wouldn’t want to try that lot without a few cans inside you (not a euphemism).

I looked up the term ‘dogging’ on Google – there are multiple sites where you can sign up for details of when and where your local doggers meet and even helpful hints like ‘dogging positions’ – presumably depending on size of, amongst other things, the participants and the back seat.


There is also a section on ‘dogging etiquette’ which strikes me as an oxymoron of the first order!


In Turnip Town the council have put up helpful road signs (pity the illiteracy levels mean not many know what they mean! Pictures would be more useful –


In my search I found this dogging song from Fascinating Aida –


It is brilliantly funny and takes the piss out of what is, a very suspect and no doubt, extremely uncomfortable, pastime!

Not All Black

It was a pretty good day for New Zealand rugby yesterday with both the Hurricanes and the Highlanders seeing off their Aussie opponents to make the Super 15 final next week.


Both games were far less close than everyone had anticipated and, in truth, neither the Brumbies nor the Tahs turned up.

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

The Waratahs complained a lot about the penalty try and yellow card but it looked a reasonable decision and I don’t think would have changed the result.


The on field whingeing was less than that by the myopic TV commentators to be fair!

It should be an exciting final next week – both sides like to attack and there will be a lot of All Blacks (and hopefuls) on the field. So many in fact, that Steve Hansen is likely to have to change his squad for the Samoa game that follows a few days later.

Despite the disappointment of the Australians in the semi-finals, their prospects for the World Cup look pretty good. I have been saying this for some time and can’t understand the Welsh and English supporters who seem to believe that the Aussies are a shoe-in (sic) for third in Pool A.

Stephen Jones article in today’s Sunday Times underlined the fact that, apart from the props, the Wallabies now have a pack that should not be treated lightly.

Add to this, the reality that the Aussies have almost as much serious strength in depth from 9 to 15 as the All Blacks and it seems a tad early (not to mention optimistic) to book them return tickets to Sydney before the quarter final stage. It’s not called the ‘Pool of Death’ for nothing!

On an altogether blacker note is news that there has been more trouble at a junior game in Auckland this week –

Up to 40 people – players and spectators – were involved in an ugly fight which resulted in one player going to hospital.

This follows a growing concern for rugby (everywhere) about crowd trouble – in particular involving parents at junior games.

All Black captain Richie McCaw has joined the ‘Let kids be kids’ campaign –


It should not be necessary to put up posters to remind people how to behave at any rugby game.

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In Style

It’s quite often on a Sunday or Monday that I find myself struggling for something to write here.

Thankfully there is always the Sunday Times ‘Style’ magazine which invariably comes up with a plethora of stupidly priced items that I can take the piss out of.

This week is no exception – there’s an outfit that will rush you almost 7 grand and you don’t even get to take home the bear suit!!


Even better you could fork out for this lot and not get any change from £4,000 –


Plus you’ll be a knockout next time you’re invited to a ‘dress like a complete idiot’ soiree.

However, even better, in this week’s issue there is an article on how to use your mobile to track your sex life and it has nothing to do with watching porn!


Apparently there are all sorts of ways (and apps) to do this –

‘Kindu’ lets you and your partner choose different kinky stuff and whether you want to try it, decide it’s just what you’ve always wanted or think it’s bang (ha ha) out of order.

As far as I can tell, you put in your requests and personal preferences before you actually get together – so I’m guessing that if you’ve been hanging around for more than half an hour she (or he) has decided you’re some sort of pervert and you should bugger (ha ha again) off quickly before plod arrives with the handcuffs (there again, maybe not, of course).

This is a good one – ‘Sex Drive’ – which, as far as I can make out, has nothing to do with dogging, but is an inter-active (still ha ha) app. You “switch it on for 20 minutes before sex and the phone will play sounds at frequencies designed to trigger desire”.

I’m a bit confused about this one – how the fuck (yes – ha ha) do you make it last twenty minutes – I’d be on my second fag by then and well into watching a re-run of ‘Only Fools’.

Maybe the sound it makes when your time is up turns out to be an outcall to Ms Desire to come and help out.

iKamasutra is a cracker – it includes more than 200 positions and if you shake the phone it generates a ‘random position’. I should think if you’re hard (oh stop now) at it then the phone will feature a constant stream of anatomically difficult suggestions and you’ll have a real job keeping up.

I’m not even going to tell you what ’69 Places’ and ‘Luxuria Superbia’ are supposed to be used for – use your imagination – which, after all, is just what we used to do!

Just to prove I’m not making this up –


Probyn Questions

A couple of days ago I wrote here about how England weren’t the only team to transgress at the 2011 World Cup – but were the only ones who the media trashed (‘To the Pain’ – June 22nd if you’re interested).

I was delighted to read yesterday on ‘The Rugby paper’ site that there was an article that endorsed this view by Jeff Probyn (that’s where the clever title comes from! A play on ‘Probing Questions’ – oh never mind).


There’s a lot of interesting stuff that’s worth reading including this quote –

Johnson would have told Ritchie that the reason the England players went to the bar they chose was because the Welsh and Irish teams had both used the same watering hole and had taken part in similar activities.  The big difference was that neither the Irish nor Welsh Press chose to print stories of drunken players that many believed would damage their country’s chances of success. The reality is, the 2011 squad were, in all probability, no better or worse than any of the other squads that had gone before or since. Things changed for English rugby in 1991 (the last time England staged the RWC). Until then rugby was covered by a small group of journalists from mainly the old ‘broad-sheet’ papers, the Times, Telegraph, Express, Mail and Guardian, with the Press Association briefing the rest.  The squad knew all of them and were on friendly terms, knowing that they were only interested in the games, not what we got up to between them. When we got through to the knock-out stages we were warned by one of the ‘old Press guard’ that news reporters were starting to take an interest in the squad and wanted some stories. He later warned the squad that one of the ‘red tops’ had decided to create a story and had bussed in some girls (and a photographer) with the idea of creating a headline.

It is pretty rich that all the press are going on about the need to clean up rugby (although only the England team it must be noted) and what the RFU are doing in this regard when they are the ones who actively seek out  every opportunity to denigrate England players.

The excellent other point that Jeff makes is one that I find particularly annoying (I call him Jeff because he also played for Askeans when I was there *) –

Why Ritchie chose to talk to Johnson is a puzzle because there was a full and frank review after 2011 which identified no systemic reasons for what had happened – other than that the English Press had chosen to publish stories about players off-field exploits that other countries had not.


I would go further – what makes Ritchie such an authority (except by unelected appointment) that he can quiz one of the greatest players we have ever produced on rugby matters! Ritchie’s sporting credentials are based in tennis and football! He should be finding a meaningful role for Johnno in the England set-up, not digging up media fuelled dirt.


Ritchie has yet to oversee England winning anything except the odd few games over the last four years – during that time the England record has only been marginally ahead of the team under Martin Johnson.

Despite this, the coaching team were given 6 year contracts by Ritchie in 2014 – something very few other rugby unions ever do before a World Cup.


Of course he might be right and we have nothing to worry about regarding the media and our ability to lift the World Cup in October. I seriously hope he is – and if so, I’ll take it all back!

* Note – Jeff Probyn was in the World Cup final programme 1991 as an Askean (as was Paul Rendall)


You couldn’t make it up!

Every year they hand out the ‘Darwin Awards’ for the most stupid people on the planet.

The awards were based on Darwin’s ‘Theory of Natural Selection’ – which the winners think is a box of chocolates.

I have picked out a few of stupid shots that, if they didn’t get at least a commendation, they should have done!

At least he’ll soon have somewhere to park his Harley!


A fry up and no need for a bbq!


Running out of petrol is such a fag


Maybe he won’t bite the hand that…


Every little helps!


Sign language!