Winning Post

In the Bledisloe 2 last weekend it looked like the Wallabies would pull off an unlikely win when they went three tries up and 17-0 in the first quarter.

The All Blacks didn’t go ahead until the last quarter and even then Australia scored with just 3 minutes left to surprise Steve Hansen and all the pundits who had forecast a big victory for the men in black.

Then up pops Beauden Barrett to pinch it at the death. It was a big comeback from the hosts and they looked very relieved at the end when Nigel Owens blew the final whistle.

It was a hell of a game but there have been many other comebacks that were even more impressive, here’s a few of them –

 

The Rugby Championship has a week off now – I doubt if we will see another game as exciting as the one in Dunedin but you never know!

 

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You’re Pulling my Lego

I have to say that the unbelievable talent that TV producers have for coming up with ever more ridiculous reality bollox doesn’t surprise me much anymore.

Cooking, dancing, pawn (right spelling sadly), dumped on an island or in a house or in Essex, dating, having sex in a box, lots of awful bride and wedding stuff – the list goes on and I haven’t even mentioned some of the truly idiot things (see ‘A Fridge Too Far’ below).

As far as I can see much of it is simply childish – which is truly unfair on kids to be honest.

But now there’s a reality programme that actually involves a kids toy!

Putting together Lego bricks ffs!

The new competitive craft show features eight all-age couples competing to make the best Lego sculptures. Like Bake Off, contestants are fighting to beat off the competition, and to remain on the show to ultimately win the series.

At the end of the four-part series, one pair of craftsmen will be crowned winners of the show by a panel of judges.

Viewers quickly picked up on the similarities between the show, and the upcoming Bake Off series, which Channel 4 recently bought.

The only way to make this even half way interesting is to give it the X factor – as in adult rated not another stupid singing in front of smug judges show.

In fact there are porn films of Lego – and this is by far the tamest of them –

 

 

You can Google to find the more raunchy ones – or better still download some proper porn.

Seriously what next – who can dress Barbie in the most stupid outfit?  Britain’s best hopscotcher?

I have to confess that I have a bit of a downer on the whole Lego thing – we had the ad account at our agency KWS for the launch of Legoland in Windsor.

It was due to open in the summer and we were forced to film the commercial in February when the park was less than half built. To be fair it was pretty good considering the fact that it was raining during the shoot.

At the opening the new Marketing Director demanded to know why the ad wasn’t in bright sunshine and didn’t feature the main attraction. When we explained she dismissed our argument and promptly fired us – the fact that she was also fired a couple of months later was small compensation to be honest.

Although we did laugh a lot.

 

A Fridge Too Far

Channel 5 have come up with yet another moronic reality show – ‘In Solitary: The Anti- Social Experiment –

This gruelling, psychological ‘anti-social’ experiment challenges three members of the public to spend five days in solitary confinement, asking one of the most relevant questions of our time: in a world where we have never been more connected, when was the last time you were completely alone?

 

It has been dressed up as an ‘experiment’ when in fact it is just very cheap TV for morons. I mean who the fuck is going to watch this? I’ll tell you – it is people who should be locked up in solitary for their own good frankly.

It’s not even original –

Solitary is a reality show on the Fox Reality Channel whose contestants were kept in round-the-clock solitary confinement for a number of weeks with the goal of being the last contestant remaining in solitary, for a $50,000 prize. It was the channel’s first original series commission with its debut on May 29, 2006. The last season, Solitary 4.0, ended on March 20, 2010.

In the 90s we were asked to pitch for the advertising for a milk that was processed in a way that it would last for 21 days – almost twice as long as usual.

Stay with me – this is relevant to ‘Solitary’

The idea we presented was to show a different 30 second TV ad each day at the same time for 21 days – it would have featured a bloke in a fridge on the premise that we wanted to see if he could last as long as the milk.

Obviously he would be able to get out of the fridge after each shoot, although we wouldn’t have told anyone (ha ha).

I think it would have been funny and gained a lot of publicity and made the brand famous instantly – but then I would say that wouldn’t I?

 

We’ll never know – the client went with another agency and the idea that it tasted better (which it didn’t) – the ad said that the ‘cows wanted it back’.

 

I think our idea was a lot better and would have made the brand a huge success – but again – I would say that wouldn’t I?

 

 

Balance Sheet

As I am now getting on a bit I have decided that I should probably exercise more (yeah right) and watch what I eat.

So I’ve taken to having a really good look at the chips, chocolate and cake that I’m about to chomp. If you want to also watch what I’m eating let me know and I’ll put it up on Instagram – of course not ffs – I wouldn’t know how!

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Aviva Arriva!

The Aviva Premiership kicks off on Friday with the 2016/7 champions Exeter playing Gloucester at Kingsholm and Worcester at Newcastle Falcons.

On Saturday there’s the double header at Twickenham plus Wasps v Sharks. On Sunday Bath are at Welford road.

With the plethora of transfers, retirements and new coaches, predicting the top 4 and the relegation candidates is going to be hard in the first few weeks of the season. This will be further complicated by the delay in introduction of some of the Lions players.

Despite these problems here are my predictions ahead of the start –

Top 4

Saracens

Wasps

Leicester

Exeter

Relegated

London Irish

I’m sure a lot of Bath, Saints and other club fans will disagree.

BT Sport has just launched a free predictor game for the Premiership –

http://sport.bt.com/rugby-union/bt-sport-launches-free-aviva-premiership-predictor-game-S11364207839710

You can win tickets to the 2017/18 Aviva Premiership Final just by predicting which teams will win, and by what score, each weekend this season.

You can set up a league to challenge friends and colleagues this season, and take on the BT Sport rugby experts as you win points for the accuracy of your guesses.

As well as climbing private leader boards with the accuracy of your predictions, you can also compare yourself to the likes of Ugo Monye, Ben Kay, Austin Healey and Lawrence Dallaglio.

The game is completely free to play and gives you a chance to win tickets to this season’s Aviva Premiership Final at Twickenham.

I haven’t decided whether to enter or not yet – might be too embarrassing based on my efforts for the last couple of seasons!

Spitting Image

Concussion remains a top priority in rugby with both retirements and long term injuries providing the focus for World Rugby in both hemispheres.

A new test is going to be trialled in the Aviva Premiership this season –

http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/20504175/rugby-england-aviva-premiership-rfu-championship-trial-new-concussion-test-2017-18-season

Rugby players may soon have saliva tests to see if they have suffered concussion.

Rugby administrators in England are excited at the potential of the development they will trial extensively this season.

The Times reports that if the trials are successful, concussion could be tested by a player spitting into a hand-held device, which would indicate within minutes whether that player has a brain injury.

These devices could be mass-produced, making proper concussion management available not just in the professional game but in club and school rugby. It would work for other sports, the military and even playground accidents too.

RFU head of sports medicine Simon Kemp described the study as potentially “a game-changer” for the sport.

The test has been pioneered by neurosurgeon Tony Belli, professor of trauma neurosurgery at the University of Birmingham, who for the last nine years has researched the development of a test that measures biological markers (biomarkers) present in the saliva and urine of players.

His findings so far have identified changes in saliva in response to trauma, The Times report said.

Players were asked to provide baseline samples of saliva and urine before the season started. Concussion tests involving further saliva samples would be measured against these. 

If successful this will provide a far more scientific approach than the current HIA which seems to be along the lines of knowing who you are, where you are and what you are doing there. I could probably pass that test on a good day.

May the Force be with you?

Super Rugby continues to be in turmoil.

The make-up of next season’s competition can’t be decided until the situation in Australia is finally decided.

The on-going shambles in Australia, which further intensified last week after the Western Force were granted the right to appeal the Australian Rugby Union’s decision to axe the team from the competition, is causing headaches for everyone.

Franchises would usually have received a draft of next year’s proposed draw, before submitting their feedback to Sanzaar so they could firm up the schedule.

“That draw, it really does need to be with all the teams very, very shortly,” said Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach 

“But we’re still waiting to see that first version of the draw, which will enable us to provide feedback. I would imagine we won’t get a huge amount of time to give that feedback this year.”

Sanzaar declined to comment when contacted, but is sure to have a first draft ready to fire out to the teams as soon as the 15 teams are confirmed. 

All franchises will eagerly be awaiting the conclusion of the drawn out mess across the ditch, which kicked off after Sanzaar announced in April two South African sides and one Australian team would be culled from the competition after this year. 

With the Force and Melbourne Rebels on the chopping block, the ARU predicted it would take 48-72 hours to make a decision.

However, it took four months for the Force to be told their license would be discontinued, prompting outrage in Western Australia when the decision was made on August 11. 

South Africa decided to cut loose the Cheetahs and Kings early last month. Both teams have joined the Pro 14 (formally Pro 12) competition in Europe. 

This morning a further revelation came from Andrew Forrest, the billionaire trying to save the Western Force –

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest has called on Cameron Clyne to resign, claiming the ARU chairman lied about the reasons he chose to axe the Western Force.

Forrest says he has stumbled across legal advice sent to the ARU in February stating the Force was the best Super Rugby team to axe because the legal risk was low.

Forrest says the ARU’s axing of the Force was a charade and the franchise had been ambushed.

‘It’s clear now with the document that I have just received that the Western Force was ambushed. It’s been bullied,’ Forrest said.

‘It shows clearly that in late February this year, the advice was received and taken to cut the Western Force for no other reason apart from legal advice.

‘Well I’m here to say to the ARU you cannot bully this team. Your ambush has been sprung.

‘You have now been discovered. Chairman of the ARU Mr Cameron Clyne, you’ve told me so many times that there was a broad spreadsheet of factors which were all based on merit and on fairness.

‘And we all now know that was a charade.

‘I ask you now to resign. This has been discovered. The secret is now out.

‘The process from here on must become transparent. We must all come clean.’

Last week, Forrest offered the ARU a package worth about $50 million for them to reverse their decision to axe the Force.

A significant portion of that money would have gone into grass roots rugby, but the ARU rejected it.

The Force could still win their way back into the Super competition if their Supreme Court appeal is successful.

A judgement could be handed down by as early as this week.

Forrest says it’s not too late for the ARU board to reverse the decision.

He says Australian rugby can thrive with five professional teams.

Force great Matt Hodgson said he felt betrayed by Clyne, and also called on the chairman to quit.

Below is the document Andrew Forrest claims was sent to the ARU board from the ARU management on February 24.

SUPER RUGBY TERMINATION RIGHTS

BRUMBIES

Legal risk: High

Unless circumstances change, ARU would need to negotiate an agreed termination of the Participation Deed with the Brumbies.

If a negotiated exit is not achievable, an attempt by ARU to terminate the Brumbies Participation Deed without cause would constitute an unlawful termination.

REBELS

Legal risk: High

Unless circumstances change, ARU would need to negotiate an agreed termination of the Participation Deed with the Rebels.

If a negotiated exit is not achievable, an attempt by ARU to terminate the Rebels Participation Deed without cause would constitute an unlawful termination.

FORCE

Legal risk: Low

There is no legal obligation to retain the Western Force in the Super Rugby competition following a renegotiation of the broadcast contracts.

If the broadcast contracts are renegotiated with effect from the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season, the Alliance Agreement will automatically terminate at the end of the 2017 season, and the obligation on ARU to maintain the Western Force as a Super Rugby team in Perth will lapse at that point.

And when it has all finally been settled there is little chance of a Super15 being much better than last year’s structure – there will still be weak conferences and unfair advantage for some teams.

Bring back Super 12 format or go with Sean Fitzpatrick’s idea of two divisions with promotion and relegation.

What a shambles!