Well, almost without mentioning those Lions, anyway. It’s been that kind of a week – again. But there’s been other things going on in the rugby world too.
At least one Brit has been successful in the South Pacific
Regular readers might just remember Ben Ryan, who coached Fiji to the Olympic sevens title in Rio last year. Before that, he also took them to the Sevens World Series title. Now he is to be honoured with a Fijian fifty cent coin. Which is far more gratitude than he’d be shown if he did the same thing in England. Although, frankly, we’re glad that there are no coins doing the rounds with Clive Woodward‘s fizzog on them.
Springbok fly half Handre Pollard has been ruled out for eight weeks with an ankle injury, which is a blow both to his country and the Bulls, his Super Rugby franchise. That makes it unlikely that he will be fit for the first Test against France on June 10th, leaving the Boks with the prospect of playing Pat Lambie at ten. Which terrifies us almost as much as it will terrify him.
Dylan Hartley may not be going to the land of his birth with the L***s, but he gets the consolation prize of captaining what is essentially an England development squad (plus Joe Launchbury, Danny Care and most of the other England players not on the plane to NZ) against a full strength Argentina team. Unless, of course, he manages to get himself suspended between now and then.
Obligatory Suspension Section
This time it was Irish prop Cian Healy in the dock. He’s received a two week ban for charging. Presumably because ‘charging’ involves moving far more swiftly than any respectable prop should do.
Obligatory Retirement Section
Two more well known players will make their exits at the end of the northern hemisphere season. Former France skipper Thierry Dusautoir has cleverly avoided the risk of being called up for that South Africa tour by announcing that he’s quitting. Also going is former All Black and current Harlequins fly half Nick Evans, a man who, despite club and international honours, is probably more famous for his unwitting role in the Bloodgate controversy than anything else.
Obligatory L***s Section
Well, we couldn’t go a whole week without mentioning them. Latest news is that W****n G*****d thinks that Gary Ringrose was unlucky not to make the party, but is worried that Conor Murray isn’t recovering from a neck injury. So that’s the captain, assumed vice-captain and presumed starting scrum half starting the tour crocked. This is already going really well.