Almost Famous

The weekend’s Premiership matches should have all been finished and I should have had 6 out of 6.

The clock had turned red at Sandy Park – blood red since it showed 88 minutes – and then Semesa Rokoduguni skinned round Gareth Steenson (why was he out on the wing?) to touch down for the winning try.

If Steenson had put over a relatively easy penalty (for him, not me) a few minutes before full time I would at least have managed a draw.

So it was 5 out of 6 for round 7 – which is not so bad I guess.

Of the 5 I got right, 4 were pretty straightforward – the fifth was Saints. I thought they would win comfortably but it was a nervy finish and to be honest I thought the Picamoles try was a bit iffy.

Bristol predictably got another stuffing and also lost Gavin Henson again. It’s already looking like Andy Robinson’s side are in trouble with only a third of the season gone.

I’m now up to 72.6% so far for my predictions – I would have been a tasty 75% but for the tough end at the Chiefs – but then who’s counting? Well me, obviously – sulking a bit too!

The England squad are off to Portugal for an Eddie beasting – minus the unfortunate Courtney Lawes, Josh Beaumont has been added for cover.

Hopefully this training camp will result in fewer casualties than Brighton!


Cause Célèbre

The real meaning of the title of this post is a complete misnomer for this subject – but it was just too good to resist.

The Telegraph magazine on Saturday featured a number of the England squad kitted out in posh whistles, with a short write up on each of them.

The players included Maro, Henry Slade, Alex Goode,  Jonathan Joseph and Owen Farrell and it offered a brief insight into their lives before rugby.

They were all interesting, but for me the most revealing thing was about Owen Farrell.

Anyone who watches him play for Saracens and England will have noticed the sign he makes after a successful kick (quite a lot then).

He links his fingers and I, like many I expect, assumed this was some sort of celebration of the conversion or penalty.

I was wrong – he links his fingers in support of an eight year old lad, Jack Johnson who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Jack is the son of Andy Johnson , a teammate of Owen’s dad Andy, when they were at Wigan.

Owen has never made a big thing of it which says a lot about the bloke I think

‘Everyone thinks it’s a celebration, it’s not. It’s for nothing but awareness’

Nice one Owen.

A Warm Welcome

We aren’t expecting many callers tonight – not too sure why

I might save these for next time the Jehovah lot pop round.

Not really, – we have stocked up with chocs for when the little sods turn up – mind you we hope that no one comes and we can then get stuck in to the Mars bars (having deep fried them first obviously)

It’s already been Halloween in Oz – apparently Annalia and Rafa collected enough chocolate to go into competition with Cadbury! Look at the size of those buckets!

Good luck with getting them to sleep anytime soon guys!

Every Little Really Can Help

Our very close friend Lyn, from the States sent me this interesting note about a scheme that I hadn’t heard about –

From: Lynda Wiseman <
Date: 30 October 2016 at 13:59:14 GMT
To: ‘David Shute’ <davidshute@>, ‘Helen Shute’ <
Subject: I’m probably the last to know…

But here in the US we can order thru AmazonSmile & select a charity to which Amazon contributes from our orders…probably just pennies, but every little helps. I selected the Leukemia & Lymphoma society. Since ‘tis the for all those Amazon orders, wonder if you might want to spread the word thru your blog?


I tried to check it out for the UK and it hasn’t been introduced here yet. However I did find these suggestions online from people who found alternatives to Amazon Smile over here –

Log in to Amazon via
You can choose which charity the donation goes to. A sum equivalent to 1.5% of my spend is donated – I receive a confirmation for each donation and can check my account (with easyfundraising ) to see the running total. I also use it for ebay, Next, Marks and Spencer, and several other online retailers.

You can also use which is a charity and enables 2.25% for spend to go to good causes AND you can support up to 4 causes at the same time.

Interestingly both of these schemes give a higher % than Amazon to your chosen charity.

Worth doing and it doesn’t cost you.

Fool’s Gold

Despite the All Blacks knocking the stuffing out of everyone for the last twelve months the NZRU have not had a particularly memorable 2016.

If you add up how they handled the Chiefs party, the reaction to Losi Filipo being let off, and the Aaron Smith story then you would think that their PR blokes are likely to be for the chop.

You’d think that they would now be very careful about how they went about things wouldn’t you?

You’d be wrong.

New Zealand didn’t do so hot at the Olympics in Rio where the NZRU had targeted gold. Frankly I think this was somewhat optimistic given that Fiji were always favourites and the lack of support for the integration of 15s players into the NZ 7s squad.

They did undoubtedly underperform and were always under pressure after the initial loss to Japan coupled with SBW being injured out of the tournament. They lost to Fiji in the quarter finals.

Sir Gordon Tietjens got bad press when he returned and subsequently resigned form a role he had held, with distinction, for 22 years.

A couple of weeks ago he was announced as the new coach for Samoa.

With New Zealand he delivered 12 World Series titles, two World Cup sevens titles and four Commonwealth golds. Not too shabby I would argue.

Did he go with the blessing of NZRU – did he fuck!

They are holding him to a contract that doesn’t end until January – effectively meaning he will miss the first two rounds of the World Series.

“My contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union runs through December, up to January,” he told the New Zealand Herald.

“I guess you could say I am on gardening leave.

“I got a letter telling me about my contractual obligations.”

The veteran coach is being held to his contract with the NZRU right to the bitter end.

“I did find it a bit hurtful, to be told I couldn’t go to Samoa to coach and that I would effectively miss the first two tournaments,”

“I thought maybe 22 years would count for something. There’s an assistant coach in Samoa who will look after things until I can get there.

“I did offer to help with the New Zealand side some time ago, as they still don’t have a new coach. However, that doesn’t seem to have come to anything; Dubai is only a few weeks away now.”

And the response from NZRU?

New Zealand Rugby High Performance Manager Don Tricker said: “We’ve reached a confidential agreement with Sir Gordon so it’s not really appropriate for us to comment further.”

Maybe my frequent criticism of the RFU is less deserved than I thought.

So much for loyalty eh?


Half Baked Apple

I’m pretty sure that Apple is the biggest outfit on the planet. They are valued at around $622 billion and have reserves of some $237 billion.

They produce some 1 million i–phones a day – they’d probably run out of people to buy them at some point if they didn’t upgrade them so often.

You’d think that being so successful they would have the smartest blokes (and Doris’) in the world working for them wouldn’t you?

Apparently not.

Apple refused to give a refund to some poor sod until he ‘proved’ that he was not Saddam Hussein –

There seem to be a couple of problems here -. I know its Halloween season, but as far as I can remember Saddam is dead and short of digging him up and finding an empty sarcophagus I don’t know how you prove you’re not dead.

Secondly Saddam was Hussein not Hussain or indeed christened Shakrat.

If Saddam had indeed defied the grim reaper he would now be about to celebrate his 80th birthday – Shakrat is 26.

If Shakrat does turn out to be Saddam than he must have a seriously decomposing portrait in his loft.

You have to laugh at just how stupid Apple people are being don’t you? Unless you’re poor old Shakrat, of course.