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Shane Williams and Christian Wade called up and on the wings vs the Brumbies

So at first glance I can buy the reasoning that Williams would be called in given he's already in Australia, so you don't have to worry about jet lag or acclimatization. Maybe I can see that being an advantage over Tim Visser, Tom Varndell, or others. But if that's true, why are there also players flying in for the same call-up? Furthermore, why bother calling up a player for just one match? If Williams is coverage for just one day as someone like George North gets over a slight injury, what happens if in the next game North gets a more serious injury? Do you draft in Williams again, or do you fly out Visser or Varndell for the rest of the series, in which case all you've done is wasted time that could have been spent gelling with the squad or acclimatizing.

All in all, I'd say I'm excited about the prospect of seeing the Lions squad with these changes. But I do think it says something about the management of the squad. Maybe a deeper backline should have been brought (two fly-halves?), maybe Gatland should have rotated his players better to avoid players doubling up in the midweek games and the weekend games.

But I was previously worried for the Wallabies since they were going to miss Higginbotham, Polota-Nau, etc. and had their own selection problems. But I think the Lions are in it deeper now

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Canada beat 14-man Tonga in eventful Pacific Nations Cup clash

Maybe I'm biased, being Canadian and all, but I really do think that there are several players in the Canada squad that would be world-class in their positions if we had a professional league or something to develop them to the same standard as in say SA, England, France, etc. I'm thinking Moonlight, Dala, Hirayama, Buydens, and Hearn to name but a few. We can only achieve so much with the status quo, what with limited opportunities to teach the game at young ages, and an apparent focus on getting players professional experience over in Europe. European leagues can only absorb a limited amount of our players, and besides that makes for headaches setting up a squad.

But who knows, maybe success in this tournament is the first steps towards setting up some kind of professional circuit here.

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Schalk Brits suspended for three weeks for striking Owen Farrell

Can't say I blame Farrell. I'm pretty sure literally anyone who has played Rugby as long as either of those players have has been guilty of holding on at the ruck. It was a nothing ruck, too. But for his troubles he gets clocked in the jaw. You ought to think a little harder if you think you'd act saintly if that happened to you in the middle of a match like that.

But of course we all have to hop on the Farrell hate train don't we. That guy could save a kitten from a burning tree and someone would find reason to be mad about it

1 Year, 2 Months ago

British and Irish Lions start strong with convincing win over the Barbarians

Not sure where all the Farrell hate is coming from. Generally had a good game kicking from the tee, and apart from one cross field kick that went directly into BaaBaa hands had good open field kicks. Some of his passes didn't go to hand but everyone on the pitch had that problem given how sweaty their hands were and the ball was (Phillips wasn't giving him much to work with either). As has been said before, he was the one doing the dirty work as the team ironed out the kinks, got used to each other's speed, got over the jitters, etc. He laid the platform, and got the result. I honestly think he get far more stink than he deserves.

And if anyone thinks they'd behave like Ghandi if they were punched so maliciously, they're out of their minds. Sure Farrell was holding on to Brits, but during a nothing ruck. Besides, who doesn't do that?

1 Year, 2 Months ago

England thump the Barbarians ahead of South American tour

Daly is just 20 years old, so I think Lancaster wants to give him a bit more time before bringing him into the England set up. Besides, I'm sure Lancaster is pragmatic enough to realize that Daly still gets a lot of high-pressure game experience from the Barbarians as he would playing for England. As far as Lancaster was concerned he probably thought about this game as a chance to 16 of his potential test players on the field, not just 15.

1 Year, 3 Months ago

Dylan Hartley out of Lions tour after allegedly swearing at Wayne Barnes

Well, I hadn't seen that footage. Pretty conclusive. He did say it while looking away from Youngs at towards Barnes. Maybe he was saying to Barnes that Youngs was a cheater, but again, as I said below, in light of the warning you've received why even risk being misunderstood?

1 Year, 3 Months ago

Dylan Hartley out of Lions tour after allegedly swearing at Wayne Barnes

Whether or not it's ambiguous is moot because the first time Barnes is talking to Myler, before he walks away he says "the game must be restarted". Not to mention the fact that Barnes was advising him repeatedly. Some kind of alarm bell should have gone off.

If there's anyone I feel for it's Myler, not Hartley. I thought at the time he WAS trying to get it to bounce and therefore count as a correct restart, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe it was just a brain fart

1 Year, 3 Months ago

Dylan Hartley out of Lions tour after allegedly swearing at Wayne Barnes

At whom the outburst was directed is irrelevant because in Barnes' warning, which was picked up live, he explicitly says "if you use language like that and I think it's directed at me I will deal with it". Emphasis on "I think it's directed at me". Hartley should have kept his mouth shut if only for to avoid Barnes misunderstanding him. Either it's directed at Barnes, in which case it's malicious and stupid, or it's directed at Youngs, in which case it's somewhat less malicious but still equally stupid in light of how clear Barnes was about being misunderstood. Teams most definitely do research on their referees, and they would know how fond Barnes is of his power (no offense intended), so why would you even gamble at the risk of Barnes being offended?!?!

1 Year, 3 Months ago

Brian O'Driscoll answers the fans' call with one year contract extension

It's times like right then, while the fans were chanting, I wish announcers would occasionally shut up. There's an atmosphere to be indulged at games, and we don't need to hear someone talking all the time.

A few years back here in Canada TV announcers went on strike (or something like that) so hockey games were being broadcast completely devoid of commentary. Most people liked it because they heard the crowd, the skates on the ice, the players shouting to one another for a pass, etc. There was even a movement afoot to keep it silent, and not bother bringing the announcers back.

I may have digressed a bit, but what I mean to say is that sometimes I like hearing the game, not just watching it

1 Year, 3 Months ago

Colin Slade finishes brilliant Highlanders team try against the Sharks

I love the wordless communication between the Highlanders players. That's a true mark of skill. Knowing your fellow teammates and their speed/abilities/etc can make for some devastating offense. Really impressive.

1 Year, 3 Months ago

 
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