"Haskell looks England material", apart from all those times he's in an England shirt
There are ever increasing rumblings for James Haskell to be starting for England, culminating in an outright call for this after the Wasps victory over Harlequins this week. Such a call should be resisted.
The blog's long-held dislike for James Haskell is well known and many no doubt believe that this is irrational, based purely on personal reasons and has nothing to do with his ability, but that is not true. Well, it's sort of true, but hear me out.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings of the weekend
The SHIT/GOOD™ computer has finally shifted the nine day hangover it gave itself after downing twenty creme de menthes and coke on New Year's Eve and is ready to dish the data on the last weekend. Let's have your nominations in the comments. Or not. Whatever..
Billy Twelvetrees - This Twitter account describes the Glaws man as "England Centre. Creative Collossus. Curly Haired Bamboozler." They are not being entirely serious and his performance against Sarries, including an epic mangling of the world's easiest two on one, explains why. Although, he seems to be saying it was all done on purpose...
Hope you can see how I used my creativity to play terribly vs Sarries in order to engineer situation for Hook to prove he's not shit.— Creative Billy 12T (@CreativBilly12T) January 11, 2015
Underhyping as unfair and dishonest as overhyping when it comes to Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess's honeymoon is well and truly over as far as the rugby press is concerned. The RL convert made his first league start at outside centre in his side's 17-8 loss at Welford Road on Sunday and after much overhyping it seems reality has bitten:
"muted performance will be a blow for Burgess' international hopes", said Sky Sports
"there was no sign of a match-winning contribution from the celebrity cross-coder Sam Burgess, despite continuing talk of an early promotion to the England squad... by and large the contest passed him by once more." stormed a particularly narky Chris Hewett of The Independent. (Note the insidious use of the term "celebrity)
"Burgess went the distance but did not really feature, making only a handful of metres from his eight carries" said Mick Cleary in The Daily Telegraph
And finally Robert Kitson in The Guardian concluded "Sam Burgess was also frequently anonymous, his first league start merely highlighting that his union apprenticeship has a way to go."
An absolute stinker of a performance, then. Except, actually, it wasn't and much of the above is utter bollocks.
Great Historical Moments, feat. Samson Lee: No 1 - The Last Supper
An attempt to fathom Stuart Lancaster's thought process
England have not had a consistent and fit for purpose centre partnership for eleven years. Discuss. In fact, that is all that fans have been doing for every minute of every day for a over a decade. Of course, these discussions are pointless if you're not in the coach's chair, so what would help is to understand what, exactly, Stuart Lancaster's thought process is.
Well, one thing we do know is that his response to any midfield question is usually, "Manu". Even unrelated questions from his wife at home probably get that response, such is the importance the Leicester man to him. But what did the Manu-less Autumn tell us about the approach to the England midfield? Let's consider the evidence.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Autumn Internationals, final week
Final shot at the Coconut Shy Of Judgement, let's find out who's won a goldfish and who's hit the coconut five times and it hasn't budged. Let's have yours in the comments, or you could simply abuse the computer's selection. Either way is a win as that's how the internet works so we're told.
Billy Twelvetrees - On paper he should be the answer at 12 for England, unfortunately the curly haired far-too-infrequent borderline bamboozler has not staked his claim and this game demonstrated that there is something missing. Is it simply consistency? Perhaps, but the computer has come to the conclusion that he's simply not bright enough to the play the game his physical attributes would allow.
Preview: England vs Australia, Saturday 14:30
Let's put our cards on the table; England's Autumn has been rubbish. Yes, the set piece was decent enough and George Ford looks composed and the like, but none of the questions that have hung over the squad for a while have been answered. Or if they have, one of said answers has been "Brad Barritt, first choice international centre", which gives you some idea of the quality of the responses.
Video: Latest from the England camp in O2 Inside Line
Ever wanted to know what Joe Marler would be if he wasn’t a rugby player? Wonder no more.
"A win's a win" - an awful phrase that masks worrying realities for England
Following England's misfiring victory over Samoa at the weekend, the phrase "a win's a win" slowly started creeping out across social media. England, remember, had suffered five defeats on the bounce since the thrashing of Italy in Rome at the end of the Six Nations. So, what exactly is wrong with saying "a win's a win"?
Well, for a start it's a terrible phrase which is a despicable use of the English language; the language of Shakespeare etc, but that's probably more of a personal grumble, admittedly. More important is what it actually means and this context it suggests that the win was the most important thing, that the result is ultimately what matters. This is elite sport, right? Plus, is it not a confidence builder? No.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Autumn Internationals, week three
Another week, another spin of the computer to find out who needs a big hand and who needs a good hiding. The computer wanted to include most of the England team, but was overruled for the editorial sanity reasons, but feel free to correct this in the comments if you so wish, along with any other omissions or arguments.
Alex Cuthbert - Did very little other than show some poor handling skills at times and then managed to overrun what would have been a walk in at a crucial time. For a man who is meant to be one the best finishers around it was completely inexcusable.
Wales Lineout - Picked a bad day for the Diabolical Lineout Of Recent History™ to make a return. Partly it was disruption from a class New Zealand pack, but mostly it was the Wales forwards doing some kind of Keystone Kops meets the Three Stooges revival. Hibbard for all his HULK SMASH! in the loose, needs to improve throwing in, what with it being the main function of his job and all that.