I Hate The Six Nations

Heretic! Well no, what he is really talking about is a rejig of the season and whilst he doesn’t go on to say it, a global calendar. This is something I’ve been planning to write about and I’ll respond in my Rugby Thoughts piece tomorrow.

Cardiff Rugby Life

It’s a bold statement from any Northern Hemisphere rugby fan, and maybe it’s not strictly true, ‘really dislike’ would be a better way of describing my feelings towards the Six Nations. It’s not even the Six Nations as a competition, it’s the time of the year it’s on, right in the middle of the club rugby season. So basically, I really dislike the organisers of the Six Nations, but that’s a boring article title. For two months every February/March, fans of professional club rugby collectively groan as all of our top European internationals are snatched away for the International window and second rate teams, or even third rate teams in the case of some Pro12 sides, are put out to compete the domestic leagues. It massively devalues the competition in the sense of the decreased quality of the players and rugby on show, as well as giving an unfair advantage…

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We ask it every year.. but is now the perfect time for Georgia and Romania?

An early Sharing Sunday: Another interesting piece from The Scribbler (@RugbyScribbler) this time looking at the 6 Nations and it’s expansion. I think this is part of a bigger topic and been meaning to put my thoughts on virtual paper. Tomorrow I’ll post my Rugby Thoughts on getting Tier 2 teams more games.

Rugby Scribbles

We are only in the first round of this years instalment of the Six Nations, so perhaps this is premature. However, following the first round of the Championship, I want change. I want it to become a more exciting tournament on the whole.

The Pumas (Argentina)have found success following constant exposure to the best the south has to offer, no doubt. They came 4th at the global showcase that was England 2015. Their inclusion in the Rugby Championship is a perfect model of how the power houses of World Rugby can help global development of our sport and is a testament to all involved in the competition. Argentina are in turn playing their part, this year participating in the America’s cup against emerging nations Canada, USA, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. Wouldn’t it make sense for us to finally give Georgia and Romania a chance?

If there should be one…

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A record season for the PRO12 in Europe!..

Sharing Sunday: The Scribbler (@RugbyScribbler) asked me on Twitter for my thoughts on the Pro12 in Europe. What he really meant was my views on the Pro12 in the European Rugby Champions Cup. As it’s going to take more than 140 characters I thought I’d share his views with you and add mine on top.

Let’s start with Treviso and Italy, basically another year of thrashings where they and everybody else gained very little. Well that’s not true, it helped Stade to qualify for the quarter finals as one of the nest 2nd places. Until the Italian sides earn the right for a place in the Champions Cup by their Pro12 placing I think they would gain more from playing in the Challenge Cup. Also it would remove the imbalance that they create in the tournament.

With only two teams in Scotland, they are always going to suffer from more disruption than most in a World Cup season. So I don’t think that this season is a true reflection of what Glasgow are really capable of. The problem is that with sporting careers being so short you can’t afford to throw away one season in four. Scotland really need to try and get a third viable team be it in the boarders or London Scottish to spread the disruption. What I find more concerning is their inability to retain players such as Maitland and Visser. This is probably a sign that they aren’t able to fund that third team at the moment.

As Scribbler says it’s been some years since the Welsh sides have made it to the quarter finals so this year should be no more worrying than any other. Ospreys were very close to qualifying and Scarlets rightly are concentrating on the Pro12. With central contracts and the Union working in more harmony with the Pro12 sides there are reasons for optimism. I can’t help feeling though that Welsh rugby will find a way to shoot its self in the foot like they have with and ambiguous “Gatland Law”.

Finally to the real reason we are all talking about Pro12 in Europe and that is the performance of the Irish sides. Ulster are a side that to my mind have not reached their potential. They are too reliant on one or two players and if they aren’t available they come up short. It’s going to be interesting to see what Les Kiss can achieve over the next season or so. Leinster and Munster though are teams in transition so I’m not worried about the squads. My concerns are on the coaching side. Both Foley and Cullen are inexperienced coaches and I have heard rumours that they got the roles as there were no experienced coaches interested. I understand that you want a growth path for local coaches but I think that they have been rushed into head coaching roles too quickly. My concern for Irish rugby is their ability to attract quality coaches not so much their performance this season.

There are my thoughts on the Pro12 sides in the European Rugby Champions Cup check out Scribbler’s thoughts in his piece as well. We are both very interested in your views so let us know either on our blogs or chat to us on Twitter.

Rugby Scribbles

.. but unfortunately not a good one. It’s easy to look at the Champions Cup from a PRO12 perspective with doom and gloom this year. For the first time since its conception, not one PRO12 side has made the knockout stages of Europe’s premier rugby competition; The European Champions Cup.

It seems a long time since the days where you could safely pencil and Irish side into the quarter finals. The Welsh sides are no longer making such an impact and haven’t reached knock out territory since the Ospreys lost to Biarritz in the quarter finals in the 2009/10 competition and many feel that in Scotland, Glasgow aren’t reaching their potential. But should we be worried just yet?

This year was disappointing by most accounts. In one of the tightest pools we’ve seen in European rugby, Ospreys were one game point away from an away semi final to the impressive…

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Getting the boys back together… Right? 

Sharing Sunday: It’s good to see that the RFU are trying but clearly it’s not perfect and you hope that the decision makers are in touch with the grass routes clubs.

dmorris444

I recently attended the internal, unofficial launch of a national campaign designed to incentivise more ex-rugby players to get back into the game. The campaign, created by the RFU in collaboration with sports marketing agency Ear to the Ground, concerns a hand picked selection of mere 50 clubs around the UK and providing them with online and offline marketing collateral to use on club literature to raise the profile of both their club and the Return To Rugby campaign.

The notion of the programme is that rugby clubs promote the return to rugby scheme through a plethora of mediums (press, radio, web and social media), which generates a number of people to attend a 6 week re-introduction to the game of rugby, sessions led by an RFU community coach. Over the weeks, the players on this programme are phased in to the main squad, thus ensuring that the transition at…

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Kitted Out – Pool A

Sharing Sunday: A new blogger who’s doing some fun stuff and here he’s looking at the kits of the world cup teams.

The Odd-Shaped Balls

Another World Cup, another batch of kits. Twenty, in fact, from an array of manufacturers. Kit aficionado Jack Fitzgerald is here to give you a low down on this year’s kits.

Pool A

England

England-kits

It’s not often we hear terms such as ‘fabrication’ when it comes to kits. However Canterbury have done just that with what they call their ‘most lightweight kit ever’. Featuring ‘ball-deadening’ grip chevrons on the chest, England’s kit this time around is one for the purists. A quite simplistic look for the hosts, with little details that make a difference such as an ‘3D’ injection molded crest and an embroidered Webb Ellis Cup on the arm representing their 2003 conquest. The change red kit features the same details, but the sleeves are a different shade to the base giving it a slightly fussy look.

Rating: 9/10

Wales

wales

The Welsh Rugby Union were under strict orders about…

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History of the Haka

Sharing Sunday: With the Bledisloe Cup last night I thought it was a good idea to share this piece on the history of the Haka.

The Áed

Is there any greater sight in sport than to watch the 22 or so men put up a challenge as powerful as the haka to the opposition? You know the feeling, absolute quietness descends the household when these men begin their war cry and you just feel the hairs on your head stand up! Well we thought it might be a good idea to learn a little more about this awesome tradition. So strap in…here is the history of the haka!

Origin

The origins of the haka are deeply rooted in the mists of time. It is a history rich in folklore and legend that reflects Maori heritage. New Zealand has grown up immersed in haka since first encounters between Maori and early European explorers, missionaries and settlers.

While recent tradition suggests the haka was the domain of men exclusively, legends and history reflects a different story. Indeed, the story…

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Is rugby racist?

Sharing Sunday: A good look at some of the issues facing South African rugby. As is often the case there is no easy answer.

My Sports point of View

My South African Adventure: ‘Is Rugby Racist?’

Cath Everett examines why if you are black in South Africa you play football, and you are if white you play rugby
By Cath Everett
August 28, 2014 10:56 BST

The Sprinkboks – South Africa’s national rugby team – can only field three black players at any time.(Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images)
South Africa must be one of the few countries in the world in which the sport you watch, or play for that matter, is largely dictated by the colour of your skin.

While it’s always a bit tricky to trade in stereotypes, as a general rule, the games that people enjoy here appear to be linked to the racial categories assigned to them under the apartheid regime that was disbanded 20 years ago.

If you’re black in this sports-mad nation, chances are that you will support, or maybe even play for, a local…

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Dream come true

Sharing Sunday: A good post giving us a behind the scenes view of what the Rugby World Cup volunteers are experiencing.

AMII @ THIRTY

I’ve written before about the voluntary work I’m involved with for this year’s Rugby World Cup but we’re now just 53 days away from the start of the tournament and my excitement levels have hit a crazy high.

On Friday I received my schedule and it is incredible. The only Twickenham game I’m not working is England v Australia but that’s ok because it gives me a weekend off to relax and watch the match with friends instead.

My first shift is in 51 days as I’m needed a couple of days before the tournament starts for an induction and to help with the set up ahead of the Opening Ceremony and first game and yes, I now have a countdown calendar to tick off each day.

I also spent the weekend in London as I had training at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday. I got to meet all the other…

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