Video: Matt Stevens MURDERING a Santana song
There's a lot of social media chat about Matt Stevens doing a decent job of "Mack the Knife" on BT Sport today. So, in the name of balance, here he is, probably off his head on nosebag absolutely mutilating "Smooth" by Santana, dressed as one of The Persuaders and dancing like a stroke patient.
Uvavu Premiership: 2013-14 Season Preview
After the Lions Summer of Victorious Majesty, it’s time to get back to the nitty-gritty of the national leagues. Of course, none of them are actually called national leagues, as that would be far too straightforward, they have to be called something like Pro12, Premiership, Mighty Orgasm Ranklist or somesuch. That marketing gripe aside, let’s take a look at England’s Aviva Premiership.
IN IT TO WIN IT
As much as it pains everyone who isn’t one of their fans, it is very hard to see beyond Leicester Tigers finishing top, and then cutting that familiar and infuriating swathe through the playoffs.
Their only realistic challengers will be Northampton, who will leapfrog up to second in the table. But even with the likes of Corbisiero and North, Saints still have a fragility in the final furlong that those swines from Leicester simply don’t have. Leicester laugh at fragility, then pick it up and toy with it for a bit before eating it with a kilo of ghost chillies and broken glass salsa.
Saracens will be solid and mean again, but their fear of the white line is akin to a recovering cocaine addict and their lack of tries will be their undoing unless Chris Ashton has a big season. He certainly needs one.
Harlequins will be up there but lack the quality of the above three, as demonstrated by the recruitment of Paul Sackey; he wasn’t very good back when he was actually good.
HEINEKEN CUP, OR MOST OF THE SEASON WITH NOWT BUT PRIDE OR EUROPEAN LOSERS PLATE TO PLAY FOR
Bath, even with the Curious Orange One in their ranks, are an improving outfit and many eyes will be on George Ford and Dave Attwood. But this will not be enough to break into the top four, and it will be another frustrating season for the Rec faithful. Still, it will leave them with plenty of time to continue the interminable discussion about the so-far nonexistent new ground.
Another team on the up , Gloucester, have recruited well by pulling in Matt Kvesic from Worcester while simultaneously not losing any real strength out of the door. Freddie Burns has enough talent to get through difficult second season syndrome, a fully fit Ben Morgan, and talent all over the backline should see them right up there in the mix for the top four. Still a question mark over the resilience of the pack to temper the optimism, and there’s always the chance that they'll revert to type by defying expectations and performing much worse than expected as they have done consistently since c2003.
Exeter will once again perform well and offer some scares at home to bigger teams, but still finish outside the top six.
Wasps. Ah Wasps, how brightly they flickered for a while at the beginning of last season, threatening to stop people like this blog taking the piss out of them. Then the wings came off and we could all go back to pointing and laughing amid a palpable sense of relief that James Haskell would be denied European television profile for yet another year.
On the face of it, it’s a little depressing being a Worcester fan. The Warriors always manage to avoid relegation, but they also have little chance of achieving anything other than staying up. We imagine that for the fans it’s like getting on a rollercoaster, twitching nervously up the clickety-clackety 200ft initial climb and gritting your teeth at the top only to find that the drop at the other side is a long gentle glide through boring bends. This season won’t be any different, so strap yourselves in Warriors fans, The MonoCoaster of Premiership Safety awaits you once more.
Dean Richards is waxing lyrical about his new approach and a new season at Newcastle, which is nice, because the Falcons fans will appreciate a new perpective on yet another relegation scrap.
It’s a real shame that a team that was as promising as London Irish were just a few years ago are now whipping boys, but it doesn't change the fact that they are.
There are many reasons why Sale are going to be relegated, but I think the main one is that new stadium of theirs. Have you seen it? A hulking soul-sapping concrete monstrosity next to the M60. The players must feel defeated as soon as the walk in; and let's face it, the players aren’t very good to start with.
Crap Lookalikes: new Leicester Tigers away strip & 1980s Spearmint Chews
Here's the new Leicester Tigers away shirt, which according to the manufacturer, Canterbury, "continues to push the boundaries of innovation in rugby kit and has incorporated revolutionary design elements into the shirt to maximise performance."
So they'll be a bit miffed when they realise that we reckon it looks like some rubbish sweets from our childhood.
Bath Rugby are off to Poland to be more like Darth Vader, or something like that
Bath head coach, Mike Ford, has confirmed that his squad are off to Poland to train at the Magic Castle Of Wales Grandslammery.
The West Country side hope to improve on last year’s showing by spending some time weeping in exhaustion on the side of a Tatra Mountain and of course they will experience the much-feted cryotherapy chamber, as used by the all-conquering Wales side.
"Everyone knows that immersion in some kind of inexplicable environment is essential in modern rugby training,” said Ford, “ First it was ice baths, now it’s cryotherapy. I’ve not actually seen a cryotherapy chamber but I imagine it is like the one that Darth Vader had in Star Wars when he wanted some alone time. This means our players can get fit and, as an added bonus, enhance their dark side.”
“Let's see what those bastards at Gloucester think about that, eh?"
Gloucester were unavailable for comment.
Will Gavin Henson work out at London Welsh?
Not so long ago, we offered our opinion that London Welsh would in no way be stupid enough to sign the Orange Nightmare that is Gavin Henson. Incredibly, coach Lyn Jones has decided not to take the advice of this tinpot blog and has instead decided to take the plunge with the former Swansea, Saracens and Toulon man. So, Henson, instead of looking foward to a summer contemplating another godawful television appearance (right), which shade of Sunshimmer to purchase, or which pokerblog to try his luck with, will instead be reporting for pre-season training with the Aviva Premiership's newest outfit.
But will it work?
During Henson's 2005-2008 purple patch, Lyn Jones was the man looking after his club career which in the face of it is a good sign. But, it was Henson's increasingly bizarre personal and public persona that seems to have derailed his talent more than who was telling him which drills to run at training. Time will tell whether Lyn knows him better than others and focus whatever is left of his undoubted ability.
Personally, I think it's more doomed than Waisale Serevi at a following coaches orders workshop, but what do you think?
London Welsh deny that they have completely lost their bloody minds
Soon-to-not-be-in-London Welsh have clarified that their board and coach have not had a collective mental breakdown akin to a French selection meeting, and that they will NOT be signing Gavin Henson from his current position teetering on the edge of parody.
"We've enough to do with currently trying to find a new ground," an Old Deer Park spokesman said, "the last thing we need is to spend time risk assessing whether Henson might piss in an old lady's face while riding on a bus past Kew Gardens."
"We wouldn't be willing to take that on for Jamie Roberts, never mind that curiously orange, sub-ITV4 fodder. And has no-one else noticed that he's been playing like a genetic splice of Nick de Luca and a mahogany cabinet for about three years?"
Rugby Video: George Ford, chip off the old block?
Much of the talk after the weekend's semi-final win for Leicester has been about GOODness of George Ford, and they are right to wax in such a way about an obvious talent. However, for those who are getting a bit too overexcited about the young man I offer two words of warning: Danny Cipriani.
But he didn't get this talent out of the back stone. As you can see, his dad wasn't always a dour faced defence coach, he knew his way to the line as well.
Gameplans Explained! Tom Varndell, defending
Change of club will not change view of Chris Ashton unless he develops some self-awareness
Let me state straight away that I like Chris Ashton; as a player he's talented, a finisher of rare quality (as 91 tries in 109 appearances for Saints testifies). He is decent value in interviews and a different character to a lot of pros who often come across as wooden. However, many others do not share this view, seeing the former RL man as arrogant and irritating.
Ashton has stated in a Telegraph interview that he is aware of this latter view and hopes that a new start at Saracens will give him a chance to change what he believes is an unfair perception.
“It does hurt that I’m seen as arrogant by some people and it’s beyond me how it comes to that at times,” Ashton says. “There’s nothing much you can do about perceptions apart from keeping on doing your best. I do care. I don’t want people thinking negative stuff about me.
"There was me, scoring tries, glad to be doing so, and then I’d get slammed for celebrating too much."
Ashton focusing on the 'Ash Splash' as a reason for many people's negative opinion of him is erroneous, most saw it for what it was - daft over-exuberance - and the witch-hunt that followed it at the time was mostly media created.
The statement that most undermines his attempts to change the attitudes towards him is, "it's beyond me how it comes to [being seen as arrogant] at times." Ashton's biggest flaw is that his level of sledging, mouthing and niggling goes up inversely to how he is playing in a match - the worse the performance, the more off the ball nonsense he engages in. He could dive over the try line all he wants if he shut his gap and cut out the cheap shots for the rest of the eighty minutes.
If this awareness is "beyond him", then a new shirt for next season will not be enough for a new affection from the rugby public.
The RFU once again shows its glorious leadership of the game
The RFU is the body in charge of our favourite game in England. This is a multi-million pound operation that currently cannot organise even a proper management structure, or decide which body has been officially appointed to tell us all how crap England were at the Rugby World Cup.
In short, they are like some giant, confused, borderline psychotic badger who can't find its way back to the sett.
This state of affairs iss bad enough in itself, but this week the RFU have decided to charge Gloucester's Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu for having an opinion and, even worse, putting on this new-fangled 'internet' thing.
For a far more considered and less badger metaphor related argument as to quite how disgraceful this is then please visit this site.