Gloucester Rugby and home nation rugby heroes chat about the season and superstitions
A fantastic rugby season has come to a thrilling climax. With the world’s best teams battling it out here in Britain this September and October, there has never been a better time to hear the views from your Gloucester Rugby and home nation heroes on what makes them tick.
Stowford Press, the official cider of Gloucester Rugby Club, gave fans unprecedented access to three top Gloucester Rugby and International players, Billy Twelvetrees, Richard Hibbard and Greig Laidlaw. Fielding questions from Twitter, via the hashtags #asktwelvetrees, #asklaidlaw or #askhibbard, the three discuss the season and team superstitions.
Video: England name 50-man Rugby World Cup training squad
The news is out, Stuart Lancaster has named every single English professional rugby player in the country in his pre-Rugby World Cup training squad. Apart from Dave Ewers and Thomas Waldrom. Waldrom is not in because despite a few tries he's still generally pedestrian and a bit rubbish, Ewers is not in because..er, anyone? It's no be surprise to learn that Sam Burgess is in there, however it will be interesting to see what free bet offers are available for which position the ex-RL man will play.
Should Sam Burgess be picked for the England Rugby World Cup squad?
After a brief lull in which he was allowed to be a normal person for a bit, the talk about Sam Burgess and specifically whether he warrants a place in the England squad for Rugby World Cup 2015 is reaching peak chatter. Here in the B&M shed, we know that trying to decipher the many arguments among the bluster can be harder than deciding whether to play Anthony Watson at fullback or finding the best betting promo codes.
Rugby Venn: Manu Tuilagi
The England centre and rozzer pugilist; a mix of Umaga and another man with a pathological desire not to be taken by the coppers, the legend Jimmy Cagney.
RL: Storm Lead the Table after Convincing Win over Rabbitohs
by David J
Melbourne Storm have managed to silently top the table at a time when most of the focus has been on North Queensland Cowboys and Sydney Roosters. A convincing win over South Sydney Rabbitohs has put Storm top of the table. Even though some of the attention on the National Rugby league will be taken away by the 2015 State of Origin series, Melbourne have clearly proved that they have what it takes to maintain this good start to 2015. Queensland are backed at 4/6 for the title by Betfair in the 2015 State of Origin odds. The 2015 edition starts with Queensland taking on New South Wales at the ANZ Stadium on May 15.
One of the strong points of Melbourne Storm has always been the defence. Yet, it somehow went into a hole last season as the team were constantly on the back foot due to an uncertain defence. The strength at the back appears to have returned this season, as it was the basis for a win over Rabbitohs. Melbourne could not manage a single point in the second half, but they were more than helped because of an impressive first-half performance.
10 tools of the rugby enforcer
We've played with one, been knacked by one, some of you may even be one, but let's have a look at how the enforcer operates.
1. The Punch - the oldest methods are often the best and whether it be the front row in-scrum swing, or the in full view haymaker, the enforcer will get you eventually.
2. The Amused Reaction - Occasionally, another player may feel the need to give something back to the enforcer, perhaps a shove, a bit of verbal, or even an attempted swing. The enforcer will then laugh, nod and stare as he gently walks backwards away from said player back to his mark. This serves two purposes, firstly to demonstrate that he considers the attempt so pitiful as to be laughable, and second to strike chilling terror into the man's soul about what pain is cheerfully coming later.
3. The Death Stare - The death stare can happen at any time. Some enforcers start early, standing outside the opposition changing room and staring into it pre-game. Some may start it before kick-off as the packs line up opposite each other. Some will do it because the opposition dared to run, fight, pass or even speak at any point during the match. Extreme enforcers have been known to follow their opposite number home and spend four hours staring through the living room window without blinking.
10 types of player you played second or third team rugby with
1. The Phantom - Arrives and kits up thirty seconds before kick-off, plays the full 80 and POOF! just like that he's dressed and home within 30 seconds of the final whistle. The only thing he has said while not on the field is "alright?" when he walked in and "see ya, lads" as he ghosted out. Often plays full back.
2. Almost first team - On the fringes of the firsts and is a heady mix of pissed off at being here and fanatically determined to make the step up. Significantly fitter than everyone else and both shows and demands more than anyone else is willing to give after roughly 12 minutes of play. Non-training prop will tell him to shut it at some point.
3. Non-training prop - Been at the club 11 years and has never trained once, but he's a prop so is always guaranteed to play. In fact, he has to play even if he doesn't want to, such is the life of the non-training prop.
Why Nigel Owens' exchange with Chris Robshaw is not a good advert for the game
The internet is awash with talk of how fabulous Nigel Owens' dismissing of Chris Robshaw from his presence with his, "errr, Christopher..", but as much as we can all have a bit of a giggle at it, is it really such a good advert for the game? Perhaps not.
Nigel Owens is the best referee in the world, no question. When he has the whistle, his unpedantic and empathetic style of officiating blends together the mix of the demands of the players, fans and laws to create the best games for all. However, his tone when speaking with players is sometimes unnecessary, as was the case with Robshaw.
In this episode Chris Robshaw was attempting to query the referee as is his right as captain, received an answer, queried again before the ref then decided that the conversation should be over. All of which is absolutely what everyone involved in rugby would expect to happen and if Nigel has said something along the lines of, "Chis, you've made your point, I've made my decision" then this would have been the perfect example of what good game rugby is: participants respecting each other and giving and taking a telling politely. With thea condescending schoolmaster-cum-impatient parent tone and the use of his full given name, Owens treated Robshaw like a child and it's hard to be sure which part of the Rugby Values Manual that 'infantilising players' is in.
Raising this leads many to get into a bit of a moral panic that if the players are not shut down then "we'll end up like football", which is akin to a hate crime in the mind of many fans. But this is not the case of a straight choice between letting referees condescend to players or having a free for all like soccer; there has to be a discussion allowed about how we want both sides of the ref/player interaction to operate. This neither a suggestion that players should not do as they are told, but more the way and most importantly the tone in which the telling is done. Respect goes both ways.
Chris Robshaw is a grown man, captain of his country and a respectful and respected player. It is hard to see how a viral video of him being treated like a naughty toddler for attempting to politely do his job on the field is a good advert for the game we all love.
RBS 6 Nations: SHIT Team Of The Tournament
15. Scott Spedding - Imagine if Pixar had designed a character Inexplicable Man whose super power was being crap at everything.
14. Dougie Fife - Seeing Fife helps you understand why Sean Lamont has so many caps.
13. Luca Morisi - Looks a find, but tailed off horribly in last weeks of the tournament
12. Luther Burrell - For all the decent stuff at the beginning, what is becoming clear is that he appears neither quick enough nor clever enough.
11. Giovambattista Venditti - Imagine if Inexplicable Man had a sidekick called Large Mess.
RBS 6 Nations: GOOD Team Of The Tournament
15. Stuart Hogg - After a strange season last year, the Scottish fullback is back to the player he showed flashes of. Given that his team were for the most part so bad they made you want to weep acid his performance was even more remarkable.
14. Tommy Bowe - This was not a tournament for wingers, so selecting two for this team is not unlike selecting the best sidestepper from a Summer Prop's Camp, but Bowe showed some of the class that makes him that bit better than many.
13. Jonathan Joseph - A creative centre with Saturday Night Fever feet. England will no doubt find a way to turn him into Jamie Noon by 2017.
12. Robbie Henshaw - Tough on Jamie Roberts this, but Henshaw had a few more telling contributions and a better all round game.
11. Liam Williams - Terrible facial hair, legs like a bent wire coathanger, runs like Mr Soft, but an outstanding, natural rugby player.