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Eben Etzebeth in hot water after making contact with Greig Laidlaw's eyes

This kind of behaviour never harmed Bakkies' chances of selection when available. As long as these players can reel it in and remember not to snap the guy's head off, I think we can leave them to it. When headlocks become a genuinely useful trick in the game we can discuss the skills of players like these... what I've seen of EE so far is not very impressive in rugby terms, he seems to get tired very quickly and comes out of line in defence regularly. Not sure he's completely au fait with the laws of the game outside the pack.

5 Years, 4 Months ago

Clermont snatch dramatic 50th consecutive Stade Marcel Michelin victory

Watched this begrudgingly as nowhere in France seemed to be showing the England Fiji game. Turned out to be an amazing game. Giteau was excellent but quite quiet. Wilkinson was outstanding.

Armitage is maturing fast in Toulon and I think the guy deserves a chance. Agreed that taking pleasure in another player being injured is in contrast to the values of the game of rugby that start pretty much with "respect everybody involved".

5 Years, 5 Months ago

O2 Inside Line: Episode 1, Season 3

Isabelle Ithurburu is the new face of Canal+ rugby and she's intelligent, interested in rugby and is a distinguished journalist. I encourage the involvement of women at every level of the game from the paddock to the microphone but this production is just basic, basic advertising by O².

Austin and Abby put the players on the backfoot during interviews because they know more about rugby and the history of the sport than the combined knowledge of most of the current squad.

I think it's a shame that the culture of caring about the history of the game has been replaced by tabloid coverage whereby the wider audience's penchant for gossip and laughs takes precedent over more substantial rugby reporting. Young rugby players today have very little exposure to what happens off the rugby field in the lives of professional rugby players. Little is known about training and the exercises employed to improve the game of an international player. Instead we watch them bake cakes.

Poems recited by players in the dark went from classy to cringe-worthy for me around about the time Lawrence Dallaglio dragged the English game from the BBC and Bill MacLaren's truly poetic dance, onto the front pages of the News of the World into the gutter and onto Rupert Murdoch TV.

I love the new game as much as I love rugby in any other era, I'd just prefer to watch rugby than to spend part of my Saturday morning looking at Thomas Waldron's face while still taking in the devastating beauty of Layla the new presenter who healed a heart broken by Abby.

5 Years, 5 Months ago

Southland's Hoani MacDonald in induced coma following on-field collapse

Agree with Moddeur (and Guy actually), maybe take this down.

5 Years, 6 Months ago

Thierry Dusautoir's hit on Jordan Crane as Toulouse beat Leicester

Gael Fickou looked great in this game and has just been picked by PSA for the November internationals. Look out for him.

5 Years, 6 Months ago

Huge amateur hit from club rugby in Buenos Aires, Argentina

I completely disagree with Rodofle; can you play that Lana Del Rey track "video games" that they played at the end of coverage for the H Cup weekend on UK TV though? Seriously, brought a tear to my eye. HD does have a place in rugby but so does some kid in Argentina with an iphone in the stand who manages to capture one of the sweetest hits I've witnessed in a quarter of a century playing this game. Nice post RD. Charly says HD's over-rated.

6 Years, 5 Months ago

2003 RWC winner Martin Johnson resigns as England rugby coach

That's a pretty nice thing to leave English rugby: beer. He was a one man band in the RFU and the only man who focussed his mind on rugby. I think he has a point; the pressure on players is enough without them being barred from doing what their mates are doing. There's no reason why Johnson won't go on to be a great coach in my opinion; he read the game as well as any of the great back rows and did so from second row. A man mountain and a force in rugby, it will be interesting to see where he goes. Bali probably.

6 Years, 5 Months ago

Huge amateur hit from club rugby in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is one of the most perfectly timed hits I've seen in 25 years playing and watching rugby.

6 Years, 5 Months ago