BONUS POINTS – The Great Swaperama

Freddie Burns, George Ford and a bar of soap (apparently)

Another week, another round-up of what’s happened in it. And yes, we did just make up a word in the title. So sue us*.

(*please don’t sue us)


The Great Swaperama

Or whatever you want to call it. We’re calling it that, because Bath and Leicester have effectively had their own Multi-Coloured Swap Shop moment and exchanged George Ford for Freddie Burns (and vice versa). On the face of it, both players look to gain something from it. Ford gets to spend more time playing alongside his England teammate Ben Youngs, whilst Burns gets to play for a team which doesn’t appear to be going backwards or to have a tactical numpty at head coach. Wonder if they also get to swap houses?


Laidlaw Laid Up

The Six Nations has produced its first big name casualty, with Scotland skipper Greg Laidlaw ruled out of the competition and possibly out of the rest of Gloucester’s season, too. It’s bad news for the Scots on two fronts, with Punchy Ali Price seeming set to retain the number nine jersey ahead of the scarcely more experienced displaced Wodehouse character Henry Pyrgos. It also condemns them to three more matches of Finn Russell‘s dead duck goalkicking, too, which could turn out to be even more significant in the long run.


Sent Home in Disgrace

Wales have released thirteen of their Six Nations squad back to their clubs/provinces to play this weekend. Of that baker’s dozen, only one started Saturday’s thriller in Cardiff. Alex Cuthbert. Who will be presumably asked to focus on certain aspects of his game, such as ‘not being horribly out of position’, ‘not being beaten on the outside’ and ‘playing like an international winger for the first time since 2014’.


You’re Never Too Old

Andrew Walker, the former Australia wing, has announced his return to competitive rugby and is hoping for a place in the Brumbies’s Super Rugby squad. Given that he’s now 43, we’re not sure if this is a testament to his fitness, or proof that skiving off out on the wing really doesn’t take that much out of you.


93 and Counting

Tom Varndell might be one of the great unfulfilled talents at international level, but at club level he is still pretty unstoppable. He scored his 91st Premiership try at the weekend to take the all-time record from Mark Cueto and, after signing a new contract with Bristol the previous Monday, will be hoping to hit 100. Indeed, judging by Walker’s example, the 31-year-old has over a decade of top flight rugby left in him, so we reckon that anything less than 150 should be regarded as a failure.


Slapped Wrist

Finally, looping back to one of our very first Bonus Points in a way that he’s never quite mastered as a player, former Sale winger Tom Arscott was handed a written warning after leaking team information to his brother Luke. As punishments go, that’s the very bottom of the scale and it seems that the RFU have also seen Sale play this season and concluded that no tactical information of any use to anyone can have been imparted.

Richard O’Hagan