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Chris Ashton reflects on his controversial 10-week ban for gouging

guyerverton: "Ashton didn't really maintain eye contact with either Craig Doyle, Dallaglio or the camera. It may be nerves in front of the camera, but it also indicates a lack of self confidence, and could go some way to explaining his occasional petulance on the field."

And why the judicial officer perhaps thought he was lying!
Although he makes some reasonable points here, he does look a bit shifty doesn't he!?

I will go a stage further with the amateur psychology and neuro-linguistic interpretation. Using the phrase "in my eyes" every time you want to say "in my opinion" is quite an unfortunate choice of words!

Also:
Defendant: "It's just deeming whether there's an intent and how bad a gouge it is".
Prosecuting barrister: "Aha! So you admit you gouged the victim!"
Defendant: "No, I was talking about the other incid..."
Barrister: "You consider there to be a sliding scale of severity, don't you? You think gouging is OK, don't you? It's just a matter of, as you put it, "how bad a gouge it is". Gouging is OK, as long as it's done quickly - that's what you said isn't it?"
Defendant: "I er, no, that's not what I meant to..."
Barrister: "No further questions your honour".

Adapted from John Grisham's hotly anticipated new thriller, The Swan Diver.

3 Months, 2 Weeks ago

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

Exactly! Should be a core skill for all positions. Your 7 physically cannot get to every breakdown so it doesn't make sense to rely on one single player for such an important job.

Also I would actually include wings and full backs. When defending out wide, ball carriers are often less good at protecting the ball after tackle and are more likely to get isolated, so if you can get to the breakdown quickly enough turnovers are relatively easier to effect there.

3 Months, 2 Weeks ago

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

Is that how it works then? You just stand next to the ruck and shout "turnover"? Seems I've been labouring under a misapprehension! All that effort for nothing. Maybe I could get a Greggs apron and sell a few to the front row boys while I'm there- sort of kill two birds with one stone. "Turnovers, turnovers, 50p for three"

3 Months, 3 Weeks ago

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

Yes Dan, but in reality which comes first? Sel-belief goes a long way to getting you psyched up to do the winning which actually leads to justifiable arrogance.
Generally speaking I loathe arrogance, but in elite sport I reckon it's a necessary evil and a key ingredient of a winning mindset.

3 Months, 3 Weeks ago

Carlin Isles unhappy after being caught and hit hard by Augustine Pulu

Ha! Good spot.

3 Months, 3 Weeks ago

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

The only stats I can find show turnovers conceded by each player, but not turnovers won.
http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/matchstats?gameId=254975&league=254969

From watching the game I can't specifically recall Haskell or Robshaw making the turnovers but they must have been involved, certainly both looked pretty busy to me. Those two and Kruis seemed to be getting through the most work.

I can tell you that Scotland collectively conceded 16 turnovers, compared with England's 6.
Haskell led the tackle count with 18, followed by Kruis on 16. (Jonny Gray, Hardie & Denton next).

Generally speaking, I agree with your last sentence.

3 Months, 3 Weeks ago

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

Messieurs Colombes and Vingt-Trois,
I think you've both touched on an important point with your comments on Eddie Jones, which I summarise as he brings a much-needed sense of confidence and self-belief to England.

His comments quoted by RD - easy win, would have got more tries if we could be bothered - are arrogant in the extreme and you could never imagine Stuart Lancaster even thinking about making such immodest claims.

But as an England fan I love it.

England rugby is at its best when it is cocky, swaggering and full of itself. Look at the Grand Slam eras - early 90s personified by Brian Moore invoking Millwall FC: "no-one likes us, we don't care" and early 2000s by Martin Johnson telling the Ireland president to walk through the mud.

I remember reading comments on several different occasions from Imanol Hairydonkey saying how much he hated England because they were arrogant and how desperate he want to get one over them. England won almost every match during that period of time, if I remember correctly.

I don't want to see arrogance from England fans - that's just embarrassing - and in that sense I may need to rein myself in a bit here!

But the kind of players I think offer the kind of swagger I'm talking about are those like Hartley, Haskell and Farrell. I really think England need players with this type of mentality and for all Lancaster's "pride in the shirt" culture stuff, I think Eddie Jones will bring back a culture of self-belief and, yes, arrogance, on which successful England rugby teams thrive.

3 Months, 3 Weeks ago

France hang on to beat Italy in entertaining Six Nations opener

Nacho, I completely agree. He was not held and was completely within his rights to continue.

What an awesome player Parisse is.
First try: wins the lineout AND scores the try. Presumably he calls their lineouts as well.
Second try: so close to scoring himself and still has the wherewithal to present clean ball, (how often do we see players reach for the try then just lose the ball).
That intercept knock-on was a bit unlucky and showed great positivity. Also he could have been more cynical when that penalty was awarded - most players would have at least chucked the ball away so the French couldn't take it quickly, (not right but everyone does it).
Massive error by the officials in giving that penalty against him at the end when he was clearly *not* held in the tackle.
The drop goal attempt? Well, he's a number 8 so let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

I think France can consider themselves very lucky indeed to have come away from this game with a win.

3 Months, 3 Weeks ago

Rodrigo Capo Ortega's sneaky push in the face, with his fist

What a tosser though.

I played against a prick like this the other week - every time he got tackled he started throwing punches.

3 Months, 3 Weeks ago

Lock Tom Savage's huge hit on opposite number Dom Barrow

That was a beauty.
Nice run by Tait but he completely butchered the try-scoring opportunity - could have given it to the winger just before or even during the tackle. And the 6 was another option on his other shoulder.
Delighted that he did cock it up though, otherwise we wouldn't have had Savage's tackle to enjoy.

3 Months, 3 Weeks ago