There’s been a lot of rugby news this week, not all of it good. But whilst our hearts and sympathies go out to the Youngs family, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t find some things to laugh at elsewhere in the week’s news.
With most of the team away in New Zealand the Welsh needed a new captain for their summer tour. That ‘you’re not a Lion’ consolation prize goes to none other than Dr Jamie Roberts, meaning that the Principality will be led by someone who couldn’t even crack the first XV a few months ago. And being coached by someone who was pretty much fourth in line for the job, as the other three are coaching the Lions. I guess this is what they mean by ‘character-building’.
Meanwhile, over in Italy, the unthinkable has happened. Sergio Parisse has been dropped! OK, so Conor O’Shea’s exact word was ‘rested’, but as B&M has plenty of experience of being ‘rested’ and we know exactly what that means.
Scotland have lost another back from their summer tour, as Sean Maitland has withdrawn due to injury, The good news is that they still have a full set of forwards to pick from…
Harelquins’ Karl Dickson only announced his retirement last month, but has already taken a step towards a new career by being appointed to the panel of professional game match officials. Dickson began refereeing in 2014 in his spare time and has already taken charge of a couple of ‘A’ level games. Whether he’ll rise to the heights of Glen Jackson remains to be seen, but has there ever been a better case of ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ than a scrum half actually getting to referee a game?
One man who won’t be going on a Wales tour any time soon is Bath centre Max Clark, who has turned down the chance to play for Wales this summer despite actually being born there. Having played for England at under-20 level he’s hoping to take advantage of the confused midfield situation in the senior team to sneak in there, rather than having to wait until everyone else has gone on a Lions tour to get a game.
Connacht centre Bundee Aki this week lost his appeal against a three game suspension for his behaviour during the bad-tempered clash between Connacht and Leinster on April 15. Given that referee Ian Davis warned Aki about his conduct at least once during the game then did nothing about it, it is something of a surprise that he faced disciplinary action at all, especially as the main cause of the problem was Davis losing control of the game. On the other hand, when you think of all of the other times in his career that Aki has been chippy pain in the arse, he’s probably still ahead on points.
Former England lock Geoff Parling has called time on his career with Exeter Chiefs to go and ply his lineout-cracking skills in Japan and Australia. Few British players have made an impact in Super Rugby and Parling will at least be less of a problem than Danny Cipriani was, athough it is hard to see him having anything other than a bit part role anywhere. Let’s hope he’s learned the Japanese for ‘Sorry, Beardy, you’re on the bench again’.
OK, so this isn’t really just about people, but we couldn’t not mention that, having just taken over Newport Gwent Dragons, the WRFU apparently now have Cardiff Blues in their sights. Whilst it doesn’t say much for the state of the professional game in Wales that the governing body has to rescue two of its premier teams, it does create the intriguing prospect of a league entirely run by administrators, right down to team selection. We say ‘intriguing’. We mean ‘terrifying’. Will no-one think of the children?