Re: Six Nations

Steady Eddie has named the same team to play Scotland as faced England. Reddan onto the bench for the injured Boss is the only change to the 22. Think it’s the right decision myself, Tony Ward was arguing for giving a start to Neil Best, Flannery* and Trimble, and bringing Murphy back into the fold, to include guys & give them a shot, but I’d rather see us finish off the Six Nations properly and give guys game-time in the summer and autumn internationals (actually for the summer games in Argentina I think we should leave our key players at home to avoid them being taken out before the World Cup).

In stark contrast, 10 changes to the English team, Wilkinson, Farrell and Vickery all injured, while Freshwater & Grewcock have been cut from the 22. Catt back in at 35, and anyone ever hear of Easter or Payne?

English team: J Lewsey (Wasps); J Robinson (Sale), M Tindall (Gloucester), M Catt (London Irish), D Strettle (Harlequins); T Flood (Newcastle), H Ellis (Leicester); T Payne (Wasps), G Chuter (Leicester), J White (Leicester), M Corry (Leicester), T Palmer (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), T Rees (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: L Mears (Bath), S Turner (Sale), L Deacon (Leicester), M Lund (Sale), S Perry (Bristol), S Geraghty (London Irish), M Tait (Newcastle).

  • I think Flannery’s better than Best & should start for that reason but that’s a separate argument.


Missing Ball Ox Are we Pagey? :’(

Christ that England team is going from bad to worse. They’re really lacking a depth of talent. Far too many average guts in the Premiership.

No qualms with the Irish team, had to be the same again and agreed on the Flannery and Argentina points. Scotland have recalled Parks at out half.

Disappointing game and a disappointing performance. We weren’t helped by the fact that Scotland were shite because we were clearly frustrated at our inability to put them away easily and it took them ages to get in front which sparked us into gear again.

Horgan had a poor game - making some awful decisions with the ball: he forced offloads that weren’t on, he kicked badly and at the wrong times and he delayed passes too often.

Other than that nobody really stood out as playing all that badly - it was just a collectively bad effort, though D’Arcy was excellent once again and Hayes put in a number of big hits. I think Rory Best probably played badly enough to give the jersey back to Flannery. His throwing in was inaccurate and he wasn’t very prominent around the park.

Ulster will have plenty of work to do with Dewey on that performance. He turned the ball over a few times - including one crucial time at the end, and D’Arcy burned him on the outside every time. It’s no use having a battering ram if he can’t offload or break tackles.

I suspect Ward and Thornley praise Rory Best just for the sake of being controversial. His throwing was awful today, two ruled crooked (I thought he as lucky only to be penalised twice for that) and one to the wrong man; and Flannery’s always been better in the loose.

Looked at that O’Gara incident again from all the angles, and while he’s down at the bottom of the ruck there doesn’t appear to be a Scottish player near his neck, only the No 4 lying on his lower half. In fact John Hayes is lying on top of him. Also, who saw the incident? No Irish player reacted at the time as if they’d seen anything untoward, and O’Sullivan says himself he didn’t see it, so the report could only be coming from O’Gara himself, who was buried under Hayes & surely wouldn’t have a proper view; much more likely in my opinion that someone’s arm (Hayes’ probably) was pinned on top of him.

Crazy end to the Italy-Wales game, just watched the end of it again and White (the ref) clearly says “Ten seconds” and “Take it now”, and again “Ten seconds left” just as Hook kicks. The clock on the TV (not sure if that’s official) shows time as being up just as Hook kicks. But if there had been ten seconds left as Hook kicked, and noting that the linesman’s flag goes up instantly, the fact that more than ten seconds passed as the Welsh walked to the line-out would be irrelevant, the line-out should have been taken. There’s more aspects to this I haven’t figured out myself yet, but will look at it again tomorrow. Basically the officials fcuked up big time. But thought Italy deserved the win in any case.

Haven’t seen much of the O’Gara incident again but like you say Law it looked to be a worrying moment for him, and for Hayes who reacted to it, but there didn’t seem to be much of a suggestion of foul play at the time.

Also agreed on Best’s throwing - you could hear the crowd booing twice when the ball was clearly crooked but not picked up by the ref.

The Italy-Wales ending was awful refereeing. I don’t think the referee is in charge of time anymore (he decides when to start and stop it, but there is someone else actually keeping track themselves) but he has a responsibility to get his facts right before he tells the players what’s left.

Crazy referring alright in the Italy Wales game - Jenkins could lose his job on the head of that

Re Ireland game (man I’m saying ‘re’ a lot recently) I genuinely think that Ward believed Best had a good game. He also thought both centres were ‘immense again’

What incident is this?

The O’Gara one that you talk about?

Ireland were rubbish. Don’t think anybody played well.

What a bizarre weekend: cheering on blond-haired English wingers and outhalves as they come back from a 30-point drubbing by us to beat France. Will probably come down to points difference now, France are +42, we’re +38 and England are +13; France are home (to Scotland) & ourselves & England are away (to Italy & Rome). We play first, then France, then England. Since the result can so easily come down to points difference, all games should probably be at the same time, but it shouldn’t make a difference: England are unlikely to make up the points deficit against us and France but the fact that they’re playing after France should keep France honest. It’s a big ask for us, but if we can put in a performance like the Australia or England ones we could put up a total to give us a great chance of our first title since 1985.

Yeah I’d think we’ve a cracking chance of winning the tournament but the order of play definitely works against us. Can’t see England making up the points difference so it looks to me like a shootout between ourselves and France. We don’t have much experience at this, and often struggle to put teams away when we’re expected to hammer them, so the bookies will probably favour France. That said I can’t see us struggling two games in a row and I think we’ll put the Italians away comfortably.

When there were only 2 games on (5 nations) I thiink the last games were usually played simultaneously but back then there wasn’t even really a championship - there was no trophy for the winners for example I don’t think.

TV now dictates it all, a couple of years ago they fixed the whole scheduling so it would end with France playing England under lights on the Saturday night I think it was. From memory the game was a dead rubber.

Dead right on the France-England game, Wales had already won the Grand Slam against us earlier that day.

For most of the 5 Nations it would have been much less of an issue anyway, as points difference wasn’t used to determine the victor, rather the Championship was shared (around 1972/3 there was a season where each team won twice and there was a five-way tie).

I don’t think the lack of a trophy is a big deal, the Triple Crown trophy is only two years old, and there is no trophy for winning a Grand Slam, but these have been no less valued for that. If we come out on top on Saturday the celebrations will be delayed but will be class.

I see O’Connell’s out with a fractured thumb.

Does O’Driccoll automatically come in or are Hogan/O’Kelly options? Maybe O’Kelly’s injured though.

I’d say the likelihood is O’Driscoll given his familiarity with the rest of the pack and lineout calls with one of O’Kelly or Hogan getting onto the bench, O’Kelly if fit presumably.

Your comment abouts points difference Law was what I was trying to get at - basically either you won the grand slam/triple crown or the championship was shared more often that not. If Ireland won a triple crown and shared the overall championhsip it would be referred to as the “triple crown season” and there wouldn’t be any reference really made to finishing joint top in the competition.

Anyone know the identity of the Scottish player who choked O’Gara?

I dunno if we could gain publicity and notoriety by naming and shaming him like Eddie has refused to do. Maybe we could throw in an ‘allegedly’ somewhere or make it obvious who it is without actually naming him by disclosing his club or position or something.

Any footage of it?

Think you’ll be out of luck there Bandage, there’s no evidence at all on the three video angles I’ve seen. I’d just like to know who claims to have actually seen O’Gara being choked: O’Sullivan states he didn’t see it, O’Gara himself has said he didn’t have a clue what was going on. Personally I find it much more likely that he swallowed his tongue with the force of the tackle.

This is from on the ROG choking debate:

I’m going to suggest something very different here and it’s all based on EOS comment that ROG has the least idea because “he went out like a light”.
Which of course he did because he was tackled hard, very hard by (I think) Nathan Hines, and in all probability he went out like a light when he hit the ground. The ruck then formed on top of him and as he was unconscious he was unable to breath and didn’t know he wasn’t breathing so he went blue. A nasty situation but one that can unfortunately happen in rugby. Now the thing is that EOS says that ROG was choked and we’re all talking about this, this put a very different slant on the fact that ROG was out for the count.
Because, if he was out because he was knocked unconscious as a result of a fair but hard tackle then really he shouldn’t play next week and he shouldn’t play for Munster in the QF as knocked out players have to miss time (is it 30 days? what is the rule here). So Eddie, quick of the mark comes out with his accusations I think even bearing the bad nature of the match an accusation that is nearly one of attempted murder is a bit much, but it’s got us all talking and we all now think that ROG was unconscious as a result of being choked (something that EOS says he didn’t see, btw) rather than the more conventional hard tackle. The result for Eddie as I say is that ROG can play next week - and there is no replacement number 10, and ROG can play for Munster in the QF.

The big thing about this is though, that this is the second time this season that ROG has been knocked out on the field of play and the fact has been covered up and he’s played in the next match without taking time out. This is very bad for ROG and for Irish rugby that would take such risks with a player.

Interesting theory but it’s wrong I think.

Not sure of the other time being referred to but it’s factually wrong anyway. There was a 14 day concussion blanket which meant you couldn’t play again within that timeframe if you were knocked out. This has since been replaced by the altogether more discretionary (but obviously medically sounder practice) of tests being conducted on the player. So the “ban” on concussed players doesn’t exist anymore and ROG will have to undergo medical examination anyway and a doctor will have to sign off on whether he is fit to take part next week or not.

It’s a bit much suggesting that medical best practice is being ignored and ROG’s health is being jeopardised.

The comments about the Munster QF are also fanciful. When are those games - presumably outside the 14 day window? And why would Eddie O’Sullivan go out of his way to secure his availability for Munster? It’s a nice theory but your man got a bit carried away with the Leinster - Munster thing by speculating the HC games had anything to do with it, as though there was somehow a Munster hand in the deception too.

Is this actually the case? I thought the medical examination was only obligatory in the case of suspected concussion. In which case the conspiracy theory (for Rome, I agree the Munster element is a bridge too far) is still plausible imo.

The onus of declaring players fit is now on the team doctor. In the olden days they could rely on a hard and fast rule about concussion. These days if there is a suspicion of concussion the doctor must investigate and pass medical judgement. It’s not a case of him giving ROG the all-clear because the media didn’t find out about it. If the doctor wanted to lie he could just say “yeah he got concussion but he’s fine now.” I cannot imagine any doctor pretending he doesn’t know that ROG was concussed just so he doesn’t have to test him. The doctor (Gary O’Driscoll isn’t it?) treated him on the park so he’ll know whether it’s suspected concussion or not and will be obliged to act on it accordingly. If you’re suggesting he’ll lie about whether concussion is suspected or not then why wouldn’t he just lie about the results of his tests? Either way it’s malpractice and highly implausible IMO.