It seems that rugby has had nothing better to talk about this week than Italian tactics – which must be a first – but we’ve found a few other bits of news as well.
We might even be sensible about some of it.
Dylan Hartley Isn’t Very Bright
OK, that’s not news to most of us, but this week he actually admitted it. The plain fact is that England were slow to realise that they had to play the sort of rugby that most of us grew up playing – pick and go, pick and go and only give the ball to the backs if you have to. Heck, England almost won the 1991 World Cup playing that way.
Not Sure What’s More Shocking Here
The gratuitous punch, or the fact that it only resulted in a six week ban. Given that a tip tackle can land you with a four week suspension, shouldn’t hitting someone from behind, knocking them out and bursting their eardrum land you significantly longer? And yes, we’re so annoyed by it that we’re actually directing you to a rival site (they’re not as funny as us, though) to watch it.
(Disclaimer: One of the B&M team did finish their playing career with one of these two clubs)
Italy’s problems didn’t end with their anti-ruck tactic backfiring at Twickenham, as fly half Thomasso Allen has now been ruled out of the rest of the tournament. Whilst Allen isn’t the greatest 10 in the history of even Italian rugby, they are so short of options at that position that you have to feel for Conor O’Shea and his team. Moreover, this is the second successive Six Nations where this problem has befallen them – Carlo Canna was neither a full time rugby player nor first choice for his club when he made his debut twelve months ago.
English Women Go Down Under
England’s women’s team will play tests in New Zealand this summer ahead of the Women’s World Cup, taking on Australia and Canada before meeting the Black Ferns. They’ll have Katy McLean back in the fold by then after the fly half was suspended for the rest of the Six Nations following her sending off against Italy last weekend.
More Super Things
As well as that tour, the Women’s Super League was launched this week, with ten teams from across England taking part from September. The list reads a little like the early days of professional men’s rugby, with sides from Darlington, Waterloo, Bristol and Richmond in the mix. Here’s hoping that the RFU put enough money into it to make it a success and avoid the travails that not only affected some of those 1990s sides, but which – as the sad tale of London Welsh shows – still plague the men’s game today.
Williams and O’Connor Are Dopes
The luctative French contracts of Ali Williams and James O’Connor seem likely to be coming to an end after the pair were arrested for buying cocaine in Paris at the weekend. Williams will, like as not, also lose his commentary roles as well. And you thought that Hartley and Haskell were the biggest idiots of the past week.
What Phillippe Did Next
France’s time under Phillipe Saint-Andre was not, by any measure, a success. Few could’ve expected that the next team to take a chance on the former winger’s baffling approach to selection would be…Cameroon. It is a voluntary role, the downside to which is that most of Cameroon’s players play in France, and coaching people who play in France hasn’t exactly been Saint-Andre’s forte…