A Cunning Man?

I suppose it was inevitable with only two matches left that the media have been a bit stuck for rugby stories this week.

Obviously there’s been a plethora of views from pundits, former players and coaches about who will win and why – most of them with their own agendas. Some have been worth reading too, although in a two horse race nobody is likely to look totally stupid – I mean it’s not like they were predicting that England would definitely be in the final is it?

When the papers got really desperate we had nonsense about where the ‘Royals’ will be seated for the final (like we give a toss), a petition from down under about moving the time of the final (like that’s going to happen) and a gaggle of predominantly faded, American movie stars declaring their support for one of the two teams still standing (like we believe they’re not just after some publicity).

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One English paper even knocked out some advice for antipodeans on how to stay awake for the final for fuck’s sake. Presumably on the basis of trying to improve circulation in Wollongong and Papakura!

By far the best story though has been the apparent discovery of the Wallaby plan for the big game this afternoon –

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http://www.itv.com/rugbyworldcup/australia-coaches-give-away-cup-final-tactics

These were notes captured on a photograph and detail how the Aussies will target and defend against individual All Blacks.

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Apparently The instructions appear to have been organised into four separate sections – ‘K’, ‘D’, ‘T’, ‘A’ – which could be seen as representing kick-off, defence, turnover and attack.

Nobody could accuse Michael Chieka of being stupid – he speaks Arabic, French and Italian (and Strine presumably) and he created a multi-million dollar fashion business. There have been suggestions that this is a double bluff and not the plan that he will be using this afternoon.

Either way I am just impressed that he, in fact, has a plan – it’s not something that us England fans knew you could do – it seems like quite a good idea to me – but then what do I know?

If we did indeed have a plan to get out of the Pool, I suspect I know who might have been asked to devise it!

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I’m being unfair of course – the RFU have just released their secret strategy for the 6 Nations –

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How’s that for a ‘plan of a tack’

Still, better luck next time eh? Or the time after that…or…

Later this afternoon we’ll find out if indeed Chieka was being devious and that just maybe ‘the leak will inherit the earth’

Fat Chances

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Tonight is Halloween and so we’ve all stocked up with fun size bags of chocolate stuff to give out to kids who knock on the door after dark. Many of these are already a bit porky and shouldn’t be out collecting a bucket load of mini Mars bars that will make their togs even tighter.

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How did this non-event become so popular over here?

It’s like we have a shufti at America and thought – well, their kids are carrying a right load of lard – we’ll have some of that!

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Cadbury and Mars must be pissing themselves – at a time when everyone is obsessing about obesity, here’s an excuse to offload a ton of confitures to help add more beef to the chubby little bastards.

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Of course we’ve stocked up too – I did think about getting those little boxes of raisins which are a lot healthier. Then I thought fuck it – what if we still have some left over?

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Hmmm – Mars bars or soft fruit for Sunday breakfast? Yeah right.

Everyone is getting in on this stupid thing – nearly every web site has ‘spooky offers’ – even if they’re knocking out tins of glue or flogging time shares in Magaluf.

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The tabloids are in on the act too – all week there have been ever more banal stories about people seeing ghosts and even the all Blacks were supposed to have been shacked up in a ‘haunted’ hotel ffs!

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Personally, I think Halloween is a complete load of Ghoulies

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Final Selections

After four long years we are almost at the time when the destination of the World Cup will be decided.

We already know that it will be heading down south – we knew that a fortnight ago.

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And it’s almost a month since we knew it wouldn’t be headed for Twickenham – well, except to hand it over to someone else, anyway.

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The World Cup is now the focus of everyone’s attention – of course the 6 Nations, Rugby Championship, Pro 12 and Top 14 are exciting in themselves each year – but their familiarity does not hold the same magic as the pilgrimage towards becoming World Champions. England’s journey in 2015 was sandwiched exactly between the ‘pil’ and the ‘age’!

Only a British Lions tour comes close, at least for the Home nations anyway. Again only every 4 years – and that excludes France and 2 (now 3) of the Southern hemisphere teams. How long before the Pumas get their own Lions tour?

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As far as tomorrow goes I really find it hard to look beyond the All Blacks to be honest – their record since the last final in 2011 is unparalleled.

Having said that the Wallabies have proven success in World Cups in the Northern hemisphere – whereas New Zealand have only ever won it in Auckland. The Aussies regularly bring out something special when playing their closest rivals too.

I still think it will be Richie McCaw picking up the trophy from Prince Harry though – so at least one English bloke is guaranteed to be on the winners’ podium.

My choice for 3rd place is the Springboks – although wouldn’t it be great to see the Pumas win tonight’s game?

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Frankly I think it will be somewhat of a comedown on Sunday when it’s all over – we have to wait another four years for Japan. It isn’t just because we were so poor either – but ‘tempus fuckit’ (as my Latin master never said) – I’m not sure I’ll still be around for the next one!

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England apart, this has been a great World Cup, not least because many of the smaller nations have performed so well. This is a surprise given the resources of the Tier 1 teams, as you would have expected the gap to widen – it hasn’t and that can only be good for the game worldwide.

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Back home the Premiership heads into week 3 tomorrow and even more internationals are expected to be back playing for their clubs. All the Saturday games will be finished before the final kicks off.

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My predictions are as follows for the weekend –

Saracens will add to London Irish misery and they will stay bottom

Bath to edge Quins at the Rec

Gloucester should see off Worcester

Chiefs to win on the road at Newcastle (BT Sport)

Saints also to win away at Sale – but it will be very close

Wasps are my third pick to win away at Leicester (BT Sport)

At least 2 very dodgy calls for away wins – but then ‘who dares wins’!

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Or doesn’t most likely.

Designer Faults

Some time ago I drew (sic) your attention to a designer who had included a picture of a willy on one of his stupidly priced creations.

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http://hollywoodlife.com/2015/05/04/fka-twigs-penis-dress-dick-gown-met-gala-2015-pic/

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I used to knock out pics like that – when I was about 12 – obviously now my stuff is far more crafted, as well as being more anatomically accurate.

Not to be outdone (by the dick dress, not me) another ‘designer’ has come up with the female equivalent of a knob number

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http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/vagina-dress-takes-internet-storm-6722436

I don’t want to pussy foot around so I’ll just say that it seems to me, to be in very bad taste!

Farce Majeure

Just when you thought the joke that is the RFU review panel couldn’t get any more farcical this comes along –

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/england-set-approach-warren-gatland-10344378

We are going to ask Warren Gatland why he thinks we were so bad?

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I mean seriously? Like he’s going to be straight with us?

I’m pretty sure he will be joining the other band of foreign coaches and commentators who are desperately keen for us to keep the same coaching team. Am I the only one who thinks maybe they might not have our best interests at heart?

Maybe it’s me, but I would have thought that the architects of our downfall and other rivals are a tad unlikely to want to help us to beat them next time out – like in the 6 Nations, 12th March – Twickenham! Remember what happened there last time out?

Obviously Warren will be keen to help us beat his lot then won’t he?

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Would this happen anywhere else? No – although just maybe –

Ed Miliband

Ed 1 : “Blimey that was a bit of a fuck up Ed! – maybe we should ask Dave how we cocked it up so badly?”

Ed 2 : “I did try to have a word, but he and George were pissing themselves laughing so much that they didn’t take me seriously”

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I also wonder if Adolf ever asked the question – “So, Joe – good idea to march on Moscow in the middle of winter – yes or no?”

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So – instead of asking blokes who have form with England – Clive, Loll, Johnno, Jonny, Will etc. – let’s pop down to Cardiff to give Warren and his mates a good laugh eh?

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Mind you – Sean might be worth a chat – after all he is out of contract – and, oh yeah, he’s a proud Englishman!

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As a matter of interest – did you hear Woodward, Dallaglio and Wilkinson giving their views during ITV’s coverage – more rugby nous in 14 minutes than has come out of the RFU in 4 years!

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Cereal Offenders

I’ve seen this one before, but still think it’s funny –

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I suppose it was lucky that neither of them fancied a toasted slice of this for breakfast

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And no – I didn’t Photoshop that – it’s a bread brand from Finland! Plus I’m really crap with Photoshop!

Crystal Balls

It’s now 25 days since England were dumped out of the World Cup at Twickenham.

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In that time all the RFU have managed to do is set up a review panel – one that has been criticised for its make-up by pretty much everyone who cares about England rugby.

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Laughably, two of the panel (of 5) were involved in appointing the current coach and one of them has been quoted as saying that he should stay.

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The panel have apparently all had to sign non-disclosure agreements so that their findings do not leak out to the press, as was the case in 2011. Hands up all those that think this will work!

These ‘wise men’ are supposed to report to the RFU board on 17th November (45 days after we were out). Even in the unlikely event that the board stand up and applaud rapturously on that day and accept the findings in total, there will be just 67 days before the 6 Nations kicks off.

Looking into my crystal ball, here’s what I think is likely to happen –

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  1. Stuart Lancaster will be kept as interim coach using the excuse that there is little time before the tournament – at this point even the RFU are unlikely to announce that the 6 year contract stays intact.
  2. They will ask him to look after the team for the 6 nations whilst they consider if they do need an alternative head coach.
  3. Lancaster will be told that he will be given a different role at the RFU if a suitable new coach is found to be needed.
  4. Lip service will be paid in terms of searching for an experienced international coach
  5. Lots of excuses under the headings of ‘not available’, ‘too expensive’ and ‘wrong fit’ will be leaked to the press
  6. Meantime, they will be praying that England do ‘okay’ in the 6 Nations, so that they can confirm Stuart Lancaster as coach until 2019
  7. The concerns of anyone questioned by the panel will be ignored and the RFU will open their drinks cabinet and congratulate themselves on having done a ‘jolly good job old boy’
  8. In 2019 – go back to number 1. and start all over again

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This may sound a bit too familiar – Lancaster was originally appointed interim for the 6 Nations in 2012 before being confirmed.

The only real difference is that Martin Johnson fell on his sword and was shamefully dumped by the RFU – who then disgracefully let him take all the blame.

There’s a scene in Blackadder that reminds me of the RFU –

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Melchett:       Good man. Now, Field Marshal Haig has formulated a

                brilliant new tactical plan to ensure final victory in the

                field. [they gather around a model of the battlefield]

Blackadder:     Now, would this brilliant plan involve us climbing out of

                our trenches and walking slowly towards the enemy sir?

Darling:        How can you possibly know that Blackadder? It’s classified

                information

Blackadder:     It’s the same plan that we used last time, and the

                seventeen times before that.

Melchett:       E-E-Exactly! And that is what so brilliant about it! We

                will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard! Doing

                precisely what we have done eighteen times before is

                exactly the last thing they’ll expect us to do this time!

                There is however one small problem.

Blackadder:     That everyone always gets slaughtered the first ten

                seconds.

Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is simply madness!

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Another WW1 saying also comes to mind – ‘Lions led by Donkeys’.

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We have some great talent in England – but it needs the right selection, combinations and coaching. Based on the last 4 years, do we really think that’s been the case?

Note to the RFU – repeat after me 1 million times “Don’t do it again!”

Here’s a thought – Wayne Smith is in England until at least Sunday

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And Sean Edwards is out of contract with Wales. Both have proven (and successful) international experience in spades.

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Don’t give me ‘he’s not available’ – the RFU have more money than Croesus – everyone’s available!

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