Missing You Already

Surprisingly not a post about how much we miss the kids (although we do, obviously)

Billy Vunipola broke his arm at the weekend and will miss all of the 6 Nations by all accounts

 

Just to remind everyone just what England will have to do without, here’s a few clips of Billy in action –

 

Whilst the other 5 nations will no doubt be pleased, Eddie Jones has to make some big calls in the back row now.

This is a link to the tackle where Billy broke his arm –

http://www.rugby365.com/tournaments/european-cup/82818

Speedy recovery Billy!

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Cover Up

After almost a year of the ‘Donzo’ presidency it is worth having a look at how he has dominated the front covers of some leading magazines

He must be so proud!

He may actually achieve his claim of having been on the most covers of Time magazine –

Although I’m not sure that these are what he had in mind!

Pond of Life

Apparently there are amoeba lying on their backs in ponds that seem to know more about rugby than I do!

After 6 rounds on Saturday evening I had the princely total of 1 correct prediction!

I recovered a bit on Sunday to end up with 5 from 10, but it was not pretty.

I checked my position on the Suprbru league tables and was somewhat surprised to find that I had moved up in both my pools. Obviously there are some amoeba who are less au fait with the Champions Cup even I am!

According to the Superbru summary, the big shocks came at Bath, Quins, Saints and Ospreys – all of which I also got wrong!

It’s not looking good for the Premiership teams with chances of making the last 8 hanging by a thread for those who have any chance of progressing.

I have tried to summarise in the post below the permutations for the last week of the pool stages next week.

Calculators Out

Who needs what and the various permutations by Pool in the Champions Cup

Pool 1

Sunday (3.15pm): Wasps v Ulster; La Rochelle v Harlequins

Do-or-Dai for Wasps. They must take a bonus-point win. Then if Quins beat La Rochelle and Ulster do not take a losing bonus point it will come down to head-to-head record between them and Wasps, with both on 17 points. Any win for Ulster and La Rochelle sends them through. Quins are out.

Pool 2

Saturday (3.15pm): Saracens v Northampton; Clermont v Ospreys.

A bonus point win for Saracens is very likely to send them through as a best runner-up on 18 points. Defeat Saints are long gone despite their impressive win over Clermont on Saturday.

Pool 3

Saturday (1pm): Montpellier v Leinster; Glasgow v Exeter
Leinster have already secured a home quarter-final having won all five of their matches. Chiefs will probably make it with a win at Glasgow on Saturday, but will want four tries and a bonus point to make absolutely sure. Montpellier are in the same boat as Saracens, needing a big win and some help from elsewhere.

Pool 4

Sunday (1pm): Munster v Castres; Leicester v Racing 92.

Victory for Munster puts them through to the last eight, but they may not have a home quarter-final,
depending on other results. A Racing win would mean they set the bar high for a best second place, which would be bad news for the English clubs in other pools. Tigers are long gone, having won just once, and Castres are struggling.

BT gave this round up after Sunday’s games –

http://sport.bt.com/video/state-of-play-in-champions-cup-qf-race-91364243290863

 

Pool 5

 

Saturday (5.30pm): Scarlets v Toulon; Benetton v Bath.

 

Toulon, Scarlets and Bath all still in contention. Bath, after their home defeat by Scarlets, have the slimmest chance, needing a five-point win and several results to turn in their favour. The winners of Scarlets v Toulon on Saturday go through as table-toppers, but the losers could go out. Benneton are already out.

 

It would not be a huge surprise if there is only one Premiership side in the last 8 possibly not even that – any that do make it will face the prospect of an away tie.

 

Times of the Month

After 30 days we waved goodbye to Rich, Silvi, Annalia and Rafa at Birmingham airport yesterday lunchtime.

As always saying good bye was difficult and tearful – especially knowing that it will be a whole year before we see them again.

But what a month it was!

They blew in like a hurricane and the house was full mostly of laughter, except when one of us (mostly me) shouted “Don’t touch that Rafa!”

Christmas day was the usual chaos ‘Chez Shute’ – Lell and Silvi helped out Terry with everything whilst Rich and I made sure that the Chateau Neuf had been left to breathe for long enough. I have no idea what Annalia and Rafa were doing – mind you, there are a number of things that don’t work so well now.

The whole month was shambolic and messy – in fact the house looked less like a tip the last time we were burgled.

It was also full on – two pantomimes, trips to Monkey Mania, National Trust, the Curry emporium (‘Back Passage’) and McDonalds. The swing park, a hunt for the Gruffalo, painting pots and Nanny (Terry not a live in au pair) helping them make Christmas cards and decorating hats (actually two sick bowls ‘borrowed’ from the hospital – although we may have forgotten to mention that).

The library was a mistake frankly – Annalia and Rafa found 6 books each, nothing wrong with that – however when you have to read all his to Rafa every night they do get a tad repetitive! When I said you just then, I actually meant me – obviously.

I really have no need to ever open a book on ‘Mog the bleeding Cat’ or ‘Georgie at bastard Knight School’ ever again. The addition of the expletives in the titles being exclusively my own literary contribution.

And don’t get me started on Peppa bloody Pig!

Terry and I just had the most magical month ever – the house is quiet and gradually getting tidy.

It is sad but we have some wonderful memories.

I know you shouldn’t wish your life away – but we can’t wait til the end of 2018