Luck of the Irish

World Rugby announced earlier that South Africa has been recommended to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of Ireland and France.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said there were “three exceptional bids” and identified South Africa as a clear leader based on performance against the key criteria, which is supported by the board in the recommendation.”

What does the board judge potential host nations on?
Vision and hosting concept
Tournament, organisation and schedule
Venues and host cities
Tournament infrastructure
Finance, commercial and commitments



From the above criteria, South Africa ranked highest with 78.97%, France second with 75.88% and Ireland third with 72.25%.

However, Dick Spring, chairman of Ireland’s 2023 bid oversight board, said the country still has confidence the council members will “place their trust in Ireland” come the vote.

“We absolutely believe Ireland can secure the tournament for 2023,” he said. “It is clear that the evaluation commission is impressed by the quality and detail of the bid put forward on behalf of Ireland.

“It is also clear from the report that Ireland has all the capabilities to host an outstanding Rugby World Cup in 2023.

“Our team will compete to the final whistle as we bid to turn our historic bid plans into reality.”

South Africa said it would deliver a “triple win” should it host the tournament in 2023.


The governing body’s recommendation is not binding on the council members who will ultimately decide who gets to host the event when they vote by secret ballot on November 15.

There are 39 votes available among the various unions and regional bodies with the winning bid requiring 20 votes.

Ireland’s bid received strong government support, unlike in France and South Africa.

However, unlike their rivals, they offered just the minimum bid guarantee of €120m, while France (€150m) and South Africa (€160m) guaranteed more.

While money seems to be the Holy Grail for rugby these days, wouldn’t it be nice to see Ireland host?


Dire Straits

Noises from Apia suggest that the Samoan Rugby Union is on the verge of bankruptcy.

These reports are being played down, not least by the Chairman of the SRU, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele, but the auditors of the SRU’s accounts have raised serious concerns about the organisation’s ability to remain solvent.

Reports from the UK suggest the RFU is considering giving the Samoan rugby union a cut of the match day revenue from next month’s game against England at Twickenham, after a personal appeal from chief executive Vincent Fepuleai.

The game is worth more than AUD$17 million and the SRU is asking for $250,000 while claiming that the organisation is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Perhaps the RFU could be convinced to help out a bit more!

Payment Protection

A couple of days ago I wrote about the RFU making a thing about player poaching by Scotland (’A Hippocritic Oaf’).

Turns out that it may not actually work out that well for Gregor Townsend’s team –

Scotland announced their intention to go in search of foreign-based Scottish-qualified players and even appointed three full-time scouts to help them do it, but it may come at a cost, writes Iain Morrison. According to World Rugby’s regulation 4 the RFU may have a case to claim compensation from Scottish Rugby. The relevant regulation 4.7.2 (a) on World Rugby’s website states: “A Contract Player whose written agreement has expired enters into a written agreement for the first time with a Union, Rugby Body or Club outside his Home Union, his Home Union shall be entitled to compensation for his training and/or development.” Chris Harris is not out of contract with Newcastle so, to be sure, we asked World Rugby to rule on a hypothetical player who exactly matched the Falcons’ centre, who remains contracted to Newcastle but, when or if he plays for Scotland, will become unavailable for England despite the RFU injecting something like £250,000 per annum into Newcastle’s academy.
World Rugby replied: “It sounds like they [the RFU] may well have a case [for compensation] but without the specific details it’s not possible to say for sure.” It would presumably take an RFU request to trigger a World Rugby ruling on the matter and so far that hasn’t occurred but once it does occur it will open up a can of worms, with Unions claiming against Unions the world over. There was talk of the WRU paying for the use of Gloucester academy product Ross Moriarty, who played age grade rugby for England, but no proof money changed hands. World Rugby defines the ages of development as 17-23 and have stipulated that a maximum fee of £5,000 per player, per annum in development is appropriate. Harris didn’t join the Falcons’ academy until he was 20 but Murrayfield could still, at least theoretically, be billed £20,000 for the four years he was developed by Newcastle. Meanwhile RFU chief executive Steve Brown, was rattling the sabre last week in a BBC interview. “We have a job to do,” he said. “There are maybe some regulations that are required. Are there rules and regulations that could restrict the selection of those players given they have been in an English academy system for some time?”

The RFU can’t seriously think this is a good way to foster relations with the SRFU. I mean – it’s not like they are short of cash – although maybe they are since they can’t afford full time contracts for the Women’s England XV squad!

Jolly Good

‘Only Fools and Horses’ has been subject of a series of documentary programmes about the making of the series, together with the story of David Jason’s career.

There have been re-runs of classic scenes that you never get tired of – ‘chandelier’ ‘bar fall’ ‘canard’ and ‘Dave’ for instance.

They also devoted virtually a whole show to ‘The Jolly Boys Outing’ to Matgate.

Back in the 60s we used to go on real ‘Jolly Boys Outings’ with the Plumstead radical Club from Woolwhich.

A crowd of about 50 of us used to go – I’ve probably mentioned it before in passing when talking about three close mates – Denis, Steve and Rib.

I chatted and laughed with Denis about those trips the other day and he was kind enough to send me some photos and to remind me of some of the stuff we got up to – I say remind, to be honest I don’t remember all of it – so I must have been pretty pissed most of the time.

The trips started in the mid -50s and we went twice a year – usually in May and September.

They were organised by Ada Last – who played the piano in the Lord Derby in Plumstead. – where we met for the coach on the Friday night. The trips became so popular that the number of coaches increased to 3.

At first on the way we would stop at the ‘Fox and Goose’ in Rainham, but had to switch to ‘The Royal Sovereign’, Chatham when there were so many of us. At these stops we became known and some of the regulars joined us for the weekend.

We stayed the weekends at the Glenwood Hotel in Cliftonville. They were always delighted to see us (and our money) and though we tried hard we never managed to quite drink them dry!

On the Saturday nights everyone did a turn – people rehearsed before the trip and some got very elaborate with props – one featured a tandem for ‘Let’s have a ride on your bicycle’

Denis, Steve, Riband I did a number of ‘turns’ – including ‘Shine’ by Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers – I always thought it a bit of a surprise that we didn’t get a recording contract.

Sunday mornings we played football – U18s v Oldies – it helped that Steve played for us youngsters – he was a pro at Crystal Palace at the time.

Sunday lunch was spent at the Belle Vue Hotel – although I don’t remember that much  food being involved.

At the pubs on the journey – both ways –  a number of the ‘turns’ were repeated.

The ‘Rad Jolly Boys’ trips finished in the late 60s – which I still feel was something of a shame.

I owe most of these memories ( & all the photos) to Denis – as I say someone must have slipped some royhypnol in my beer – on all 3 of the days!

Great trips

Den also sent me this photo – was of the two of us (& others, obviously) when we worked at Warner’s Norton holiday camp on the IOW as bar staff and in the kitchens. We worked there for two seasons – in around 1967. And those times were a lot of fun too!


Bath Plugged

Four minutes after the clock turned red yesterday afternoon my prediction that Bath would win by 6 points was spot on.

What could possibly go wrong? Gloucester had handed the win to Bath with just 2 minutes left – and then Bath dropped the ball and 3 points.

No wonder Blackadder was seething after the match.

To be fair, Gloucester had a perfectly good try disallowed when the ref didn’t bother to check with the TMO, so I guess justice was served in the end.

So instead of a creditable 5 from 6 for the weekend, I ended up with a barely passable 4.

My other mistake was thinking that Franklin’s Gardens would give Saints the edge over Wasps – it didn’t – not by any stretch.

Somehow, on the BT Predictor game I actually managed to go up the pool placings and am now sitting in 6th – out of only 18, to be fair!

On the UK I’m 455 out of 3,454 and globally – 1.732 of 11,438.

Thank fuck I don’t put money on any of my predictions!

It’s the Anglo-Welsh Cup for the next couple of weeks while the autumn tours are on – the Premiership returns on the 17/18/19th November.



Slam Dunk

Jordie Barrett has a shoulder injury and has been missing for the All Blacks and will miss the autumn tour.

That hasn’t stopped him practising his kicking though –

All Blacks rookie Jordie Barrett may be sidelined with an injured shoulder but there doesn’t seem to be any issues with his right foot.

Barrett has posted an video on Instagram account where he kicks a rugby ball from a tee into a basketball hoop from distance.

Barrett claims he pulled off the impressive trick after three hours on his 253rd attempt.

The 20-year-old Hurricanes fullback played two tests this year but has been on the sidelines after injuring a shoulder in the Hurricanes’ Super Rugby semifinal defeat by the Lions in Johannesburg in July.

He did it bare foot too!

The youngest Barrett AB is recovering from surgery and should be ready to start the new Super Rugby season.