BONUS POINTS – The Story That Won’t Go Away

Wayne Barnes waits for us to say something nice about him

The Atonio story rumbles on, Cocky gets a new job and we say something nice about Chris Ashton. Its been that kind of week.


They Won’t Let It Die

This week the Six Nations announced an independent review into that substitution. Quite what this is going to achieve is anyone’s guess. The game is done and in the record books. It won’t change anything. Wales will still have lost and the world will still have been subjected to twenty more minutes of Wayne Barnes than was strictly necessary.

What we can tell you for sure is what won’t happen. The root cause of all this is rugby allowing half of each team to be replaced during the game, thus turning it into an American Football-like spectacle whereby players seemingly come and go at will. If there were no substitutions except for injuries, Rabbah Slimani wouldn’t have been able to rejoin the game anyway – as the only way Uini Atonio would’ve been on the pitch would be if Slimani was injured -and this would be a non-issue.

That won’t happen because there will instead be a massive fudge, resulting in an inconclusive outcome and everyone finally getting to forget about this until the next time the two sides meet, thereby reinforcing B&M’s view that being a rugby administrator is like being a police marksman – anyone who wants to do the job shouldn’t be allowed to do it.


Cocky’s New Job

We know that, technically, he already has one, what with being the new coach of Edinburgh from next season, but it seems that anything George Osborne can do, Richard Cockerill can do as well, having been appointed interim coach at Toulon following Mike Ford‘s sacking. With the side out of the Champions Cup and unable to win the Top 14 title this is very much a babysitting job for Cockerill. A bald, shouty, babysitting one at that.


The Curious Case of Brendan Venter

Venter is Italy‘s defence coach, a job which, in ordinary circumstances, you would think precluded him from being the defence coach of, say, South Africa. However, apparently anything that George Osborne and Richard Cockerill can do (etc)…, because Venter has just accepted the same job with the Springboks. Although he has promised not to coach either side when they meet one another in the Autumn. Which means that not only will he be getting paid for doing two jobs simultaneously, there will be one week this year when he’ll be getting paid to avoid doing either of them. The man’s clearly a genius (but see also our thoughts on rugby administrators above)!


Bennett Blow

Scotland’s Mark Bennett learned this week that the knee injury that he suffered in the Calcutta Cup match will keep him out of rugby until after the next Six Nations. The knowledge that he was the only Scotland player who wasn’t absolutely arsefistingly awful in that game (largely because he was only on the pitch for two minutes) will be scant consolation.


Chris Ashton – Almost An Apology

Previous articles on this site may have given you the impression that we thought that Ashton was an over-rated self-absorbed pillock, but even we have to admit that he’s been playing some great rugby recently, including equalling the try scoring record for the Champions Cup at the weekend (32 tries in 53 games, stats fans). Now, of course, the word ‘Lions’ is being associated with him in every article. On current form, we’d definitely take him over Tim Visser*.


Bath. Twickenham. Whatever.

The rivalry between Bath and Leicester is legendary and this weekend presents another opportunity for both teams to whinge about one another. This time, though, it comes with a couple of added extras. First of all, it’s the first opportunity for George Ford and Freddie Burns to get thoroughly confused about who they are playing for since the two agreed to switch sides at the end of the season. And second, the game is for some inexplicable reason being played at Twickenham. B&M appreciates that The Rec isn’t a big ground, but have both sides really been so deprived of Twickers action recently that the match needs to take place in London? What next, Saracens v Wasps in Newcastle, just because everyone fancies a decent night out?


*No, we wouldn’t take Tim Visser, we’re not completely insane.