SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Autumn Internationals, week four
Due to being away in London watching The Dark Side (rugby league), the computer has only just caught up on all the action from the weekend, so here are the slightly late ratings. Give us yours in the comments, or if you're Irish, just punch your keyboard in sheer horror and frustration.
Jonny Sexton - The margins at the very top are fine, sometimes as fine as a width of a post, as the Ireland fly-half discovered in the last five minutes vs New Zealand. No matter how well he may have played leading up to that kick he absolutely should have nailed that; there are no excuses for missing and it is absolutely right that he is judged on it. However, unlike Cruden a few minutes later, he did only get one go at it.
Wales vs Tonga - There are men who spent years in Japanese POW camps who couldn't take the torture that was second half of this game.
Sean Lamont - Scotland's inability to cross the whitewash is becoming so overwhelming there is a real chance that the whole squad may have some kind of mental disorder. Either that or they've all shagged a witch to give them such bad luck. However, it's more likely that they all keep cocking up scoring chances like Sean did. Why a lad his size didn't just put his head down and smash over is mystery. Also struggles with having all the pace of a 1989 Ford Transit.
James Hook - Why will they not be told? If history has taught us anything it's that James Hook is not as good as anyone thinks he is. It was worth giving him a run at 10 vs Tonga, but all it has demonstrated is that Wales's options here are limited to Biggar (decent but limited), Priestland (broken brain), and Hook (SHIT). Time for Patchell? Also, is Jason Tovey staying fit long enough to fulfill his potential yet?
Conor Murray - This blog has been critical of the Irish nine previously, and no doubt it will again because that's kinda what this blog does really, but credit to him for the performance on Saturday. Stood out in a team of standouts.
Luke Charteris - Even dropping the ball over the line couldn't take away from a very good performance. Also, remember, it wasn't long ago that he looked like a horse doing a cartwheel when on a rugby field, so it's good to see his transformation into a top player is permanent.
Nigel Owens - Has his faults as a ref. Has a novel way of dealing with the complexities of the breakdown, namely by ignoring them and letting the game flow, which tends to make for good matches, so fair play. Also, "this is not soccer"
Samson Lee - "Samson Lee, Samson Lee, his hair's the colour of morning pee!" Bow down before your master.
Sean O'Brien - Out-barnstormed Kieran Read. Nothing more needs to be said.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Rugby Championship, Final Round
It's been a while, so let's turn on the SG Computer to run its beady, lifeless eye over the Rugby Championship weekend. Let's have yours in the comments.
The dawning realisation that you won't see as good a game as Boks vs NZ for a long time - Arse.
Morne Steyn - Predictable in his kick-run-pass options, resolutely sticking to the pass most of the time when a bit of his trademark tactical approach would've perhaps one better for his team. Missed a couple of kicks as well.
Ben Alexander - Still rubbish
Nigel Owens - Easy to give the players all the credit for that wondrous spectacle of a match on saturday, but respect is also due to the ref and his team, who had a superb day.
Jean de Villiers - Unlike his Point Break haircut, the Springbok captain was a powerful and welcome presence in the midfield. Credit to him also for not making a big deal of the "wrong name on the teamsheet" incident.
Israel Folau - If anyone was in any doubt about his best position, the ludicrously talented outside back proved beyond any doubt that it is fullback.
Kieran Read - Like a plains buffalo fed on genetically modified grass that has been pissed on by a t-rex.
It's not just England with the foul change kit: A Restrospective of SHIT, Part Deux
Some would say we were a little one sided with our slagging of the England change strips, and they'd be right. Look at some other horrors that have surfaced in recent years.
England's Away Kits: A Restrospective Of SHIT
MY EYES! AND WHY IS DANNY CARE IN LEDERHOSEN?
This week saw the release of the above monstrosity by Canterbury, and it's gone down with the public about as well as a fart in a spacesuit. However, this is just the latest in a line of awfulness us England fans have suffered going back a few years, as you can see below.
The most irritating thing about all of this is that England, or any other top international team, don't really need an away shirt apart from perhaps in a Rugby World Cup year, as no other major nation has a clashing kit.
See more horror after the jump...
THE BIG PURPLE ONE
This is so bad I wish I could un-see it. The home one was no better either.
First Test SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: British & Irish Lions players
The sun is setting on the day of victory for the Lions, so that means it's time to pour some two-stroke into the famous ratings computer's engine and fire it up for its output of bile and benediction regarding the Lions players' performance. Give us your comments in the, er, comments...
Leigh Halfpenny - GOOD. The fullback was solid in his job both with his hands and off the kicking tee. Positioning was very good, something he is rarely given credit for, and hit the line well when he chose to.
George North - GOOD. His try was of the highest quality, a powerful burst and a change of direction that would cause most people of his dimensions to topple like a giraffe on rohypnol. But his defensive work, while slow to get going - he was hesitant when Genia ran at him for Folau's first try - was also first rate, including a magnificent choke tackle that led to the Lions scrum in the Aus 22 late in the game. Which they duly ballsed up, but that was hardly his fault. Black mark against him for the Delon Armitage style point and showboat as he scored. We all love you George, please don't become a bit of a twat.
Brian O'Driscoll - SHIT. Controversial decision by the computer this one. But, for all his very GOOD work in defence and attack, he gave away two penalties at the breakdown after it was very clear that the ref would not stand for what he was doing and if Aus had better kickers that would've lost the game. Regardless of whether BOD thought he was right and Pollock was wrong, a man of his experience and class must react to the ref better as next time Australia may not miss.
Jonathan Davies - GOOD. Not a barnstormer, but did enough in a fitful team performance.
Alex Cuthbert - GOOD. Still question marks over his defence, but his finish was of the highest order as he still had a lot of work to do once he bust the line. Bowe is fit again, but Cuthbert should retain his place.
Jonny Sexton - GOOD. Spent most of the game dealing with ponderous ball and did enough with it for the excellent Lions tries and generally to warrant the rating. Was made to look utterly stupid by Folau on the winger's second try, which was a lot to do with Sexton's approach to the tackle rather than Israel's dancing feet.
Mike Phillips - SHIT. Defensively OK; but was slow in getting the ball away, mostly stopped in his tracks on his famous fringe darts, and his numerous box kicks had no-one chasing them, which suggests he told no-one about them, and even if they did were so poorly executed they would not have caught them. Much has been made of Croft and Heaslip offering him little protection, and while this is true, it cannot excuse what was by his standards a bit of a stinker. He should keep his place, though, and rightly so as he won't be this poor again.
Jamie Heaslip - SHIT. Carried a bit and tackled a lot, but a dominant scrum requires an 8 who can control the possession, which he didn't do. Faletau would offer more in the loose and can't be any worse in the set piece.
Sam Warburton - GOOD. He's taken a bit of flak from many sources this tour, this blog included, for his apparent lack of form, but no-one can have an argument with his performance today. In a day for dogs in the back row he was the Terrier-In-Chief.
Tom Croft - SHIT. In this blog's preview of the game, we said "Tom Croft earns plaudits for his dynamic running and work at the back of the lineout, but he must earn his money doing the dirty work in this game." Wasn't worth that paycheck today.
Alun Wyn Jones - GOOD. Lineout went well, worked hard, took the fight to the opposition. This is particularly impressive when you consider he has been up all week watching the Wallabies sleep.
Paul O'Connell - GOOD. Like Alun Wyn, except with a redder face and more sleep.
Adam Jones - GOOD. Scrum was dominant. End of.
Tom Youngs - GOOD. Some things are so surprising that it takes time to understand and accept them; a Coldplay song that doesn't make you want to forget how to hear, for example, and Tom Youngs' form and play on this tour falls into this category. Today he showed his throwing in can take the pressure and worked tirelessly and effectively in the loose.
Alex Corbisiero - GOOD. Scrummaged as well as expect and also showed that he can offer in the loose just as Mako can.
SHIT/GOOD Ratings: Reds 12 - 22 Lions
For the first time on the tour, the world famous ratings computer has been fired up, and be warned, it's in an uncompromising mode.
Refs using the TMO - why can't they just give a try anymore? Refs should use it for clarifying definite points of contention not as an arse covering device. Most of them now use the TMO like a drunk uses a lamp-post, not for illumination but rather as something to lean against.
Warburton - Poor, too high tackle attempt that allowed Moraghan to score, doesn't look as good as Tipuric, and it took POC to come on and steady the ship, a job that Sam should be capable of doing however little game time he's had. (Told the computer was in a bad mood)
Ben Youngs - The England scrum-half did some decent things in attack. But none of these were enough to ignore the woeful defensive display that saw him miss two regulation tackles and his poor positioning and covering in his 'bobby' role behind the tackle line. Its amazing how many media outlets don't seem to be mentioning this.
The game - after two non-events this was a corker.
George North - Cuthbert scored more tries in the Six Nations, and on the face of it him and North are similar players. Wrong. But North is more than a big winger, he is pure class and has something of the Shane Williams about him and demonstrated in this game.
Luke Moraghan - Scored a glorious try, saved a try with a brilliant tackle. A simply fabulous performance all round as well.
Nick Frisby - Scored a try, and was at heart of the tempo and approach that served Reds so well in this game. Daft name, mind.
The computer has now gone into a very moody standby mode with a black cloud hovering over it. Give us your nominations and views in the comments.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Heineken Cup Final
The Big Cup final ended with a piece of grand larceny by Toulon to pip Clermont to the title, which we sort of predicted, but what did the ratings computer make of it all?
Danie Roussow - Not a great day on the park for the big blind-side. Looked very lumbering in letting Rougerie go in the lead up to the Nalaga try and bossed by opposite number Bonnaire.
Delon Armitage - People will say that his wave and tongue-out shenanigans are at least "different" and add colour to the game. I'm not one of those people, I say he's a twat.
Wesley Fofana - The best centre in Europe is a title that no-one would argue with so it was a real shame that he didn't look anything like that in the biggest game in Europe.
Aurelien Rougerie - I've never been the greatest fan of the champion the wonder horse like winger cum centre. But he was at the heart of everything that was good for Clermont
Jamie Cudmore - won all his line-outs and carried tirelessly off the 10 channel right to the end.
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe - Great turnover and vision to set up that twat Armitage for the winning score, obviously, but more than that he was everywhere all game leading his pack. Perfect example of his level of effort was when he ran off the pitch, over a load of tackle bags to catch a touchfinder to enable him to take a quick throw in from nearly in the stands.
That's mine, you give us yours in the comments.
For those that didn't know, I had a go at alternative commentary for this match and it would help me out a great deal if you could have a listen to my commentaries so I can bump up the listener numbers on YouCommentate. Plus you never know, you might enjoy them...
First half is here: http://bit.ly/13FzUVd
Second Half Part 1: http://bit.ly/13wqYhi
Second Half Part 2: http://bit.ly/YSiW4c
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings Special: Mick Cleary's British & Irish Lions Team selected before the RBS 6 Nations
Attention was drawn this week to Telegraph rugby journo Mick Cleary's stab at picking a Lions Test team after the Autumn Internationals but prior to the start of the Six Nations. Below is the XV he put forward, which you can see in pictorial format with Mick's explanations here (SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings of selections added below by the famous B&M Computer)
1. Alex Corbisiero - SHIT
2. Tom Youngs - SHIT
3. Dan Cole - SHIT - "The best tight-head in world rugby" said Cleary, apparently with a straight face.
4. Joe Launchbury - SHIT
5. Geoff Parling - GOOD
6. Tom Wood - GOOD
7. Chris Robshaw - SHIT
8. Jamie Heaslip - GOOD
9. Ben Youngs - SHIT
10. Jonny Sexton - GOOD
11. Craig Gilroy - GOOD
12. Brad Barritt - SHIT
13. Manu Tuilagi - SHIT
14. Tim Visser - GOOD
15. Leigh Halfpenny - DOUBLEPLUSGOOD
If Cleary were here in the B&M Basement, he would no doubt argue that this team was picked after the Autumn Internationals and based on the form shown in those games. Or, to put it another way, "England beat the All Blacks, so they must be ace! Stick nine of them in the Test team!" Which is, frankly, unforgivably lax journalism from someone who makes a living from writing about rugby.
Some will point out that others selecting Lions teams after the Six Nations are equally guilty of Cleary's sin of basing their selection solely on the last game; but they would be wrong. Wales players are plentiful in the current Lions forecasts not simply because they hammered England, but because many have already played Lions Tests, they have won back-to-back Championships, excelled in a World Cup, and not one of them is Brad Barritt or Tom Youngs. It's always worth checking the latest odds at bwin.com/six-nations for the next six nations, even if it is quite a few months away yet.
Moreover, the Welsh players are, and were always likely,to start a Lions Test; unlike so very many of Cleary's lot, which reinforces why the above XV is so stupid.
This nonsense also justifies this blog's decision to avoid this endless, pointless Lions Selection Merry-Go-Round until last week. Which is nice.
RBS 6 Nations 2013: GOOD Team Of The Tournament
1. Thomas Domingo - There was very little that was GOOD about France this year. Ironically one of the things that was GOOD was the little prop.
2. Richard Hibbard - Looks like an extra from Geordie Shore, but Wales have uncovered another tangerine gem here. Let's hope he doesn't go the way of the previous one
3. Adam Jones - You run out of superlatives with this fella. Hard to imagine this was the bloke who, ten years ago in the Steve Hansen days, played the first 20 minutes before being hauled off looking like a truck driver jogging wheezily towards a transport cafe. He's now more like the truck than the driver. A truck fueled with bionic piss.
4. Joe Launchbury - Lost the physical battle in Cardiff, but other than that a fine tournament for a 21-year-old with great promise. Good name as well.
5. Ian Evans - Another year, another momentous performance. Hard as nails.
6. Alessandro Zanni - Eclipsed Parrisse in the Italian back row. Performed with class, endeavour, strength and nous every week.
7. Justin Tipuric - It was a good tournament for sevens and the likes of Robshaw, Brown and even Sean O'Brien were in with a shout; but Tipuric is in because I like a seven to be a seven, and in this regard he excelled. Pacey, good at breakdown, made 42 tackles with a 96% success ratio and showed in Cardiff the craft that some centres dream of. Big nose, though.
8. Louis Picamoles - Second in the metres gained figures for the tournament, carrying for 351 metres, and the only forward in the top five. This achievement is all the more GOOD when you consider that the rest of the top five were all outside backs who get open pasture to run into on kick returns - Picamoles carried as far as them while smashing people out of the way.
9. Mike Phillips - Gets some stick for the speed of his service, but the rest of his game is good enough to forgive that.
10. Dan Biggar - the quiet achiever of the tournament. Helped by not having to place kick, but slotted one in Cardiff vs England just to take the piss.
11. George North - Decisive try in Paris, huge presence in other games.
12. Wesley Fofana - Most talented centre in the tournament, when finally allowed to play there of course. It could've been Jamie Roberts in here as well, to be honest, he seems to have found his mojo in the bottom of an old training bag.
13. Brian O'Driscoll - Horrible tournament for Ireland, but was his usual brilliant best and gets in a ahead of others because of the pass for Zebo's try in Cardiff alone.
14. Tim Visser - Tough call between him and Cuthbert, but I like the Scot's all-round game more.
15. Leigh Halfpenny - The player of the tournament. Outstanding since his move to fullback last year keeps getting better, culminating in this peerless performance. Anyone suggesting that Kearney should get the Lions shirt is either lying, blind or mad.
RBS 6 Nations 2013: SHIT Team Of The Tournament
1. Joe Marler - About as convincing as Danny Glover in a Gary Busey lookalike competition.
2. Dimitri Szarzewski - Not only had a poor tournament rugby-wise, but was also outgunned in the blonde locks department by Richard Hibbard.
3. Euan Murray - Even with God on his side he ain't very good.
4. Donncha O'Callaghan - Poor cameo in a poor tournament. Can't see him playing many more times in the emaerald jersey.
5. Richie Gray - Playing in the cess pool of SHIT that is the present form of the Sale team can't help, but his pre-injury form was not great.
6. James Haskell - Pioneering the role of the reverse-impact sub, and because it's the rules.
7. Thierry Dusautoir - To be honest, no sevens had a truly awful tournament, so Dusautoir is in for the being the worst of pretty decent bunch. BUt that still puts him in the SHIT category, because this rating system is as cruel as it is arbitrary.
8. Jamie Heaslip - Magnificent failure in his debut tournament as captain. Poor both individually and as a leader.
9. Maxime Machenaud - 1) He isn't Morgan Parra. 2) He's shite as well.
10. Freddy Michalak - All the talent in the world, unfortunately alloyed with the temperament of pigeon thrown amongst a shitload of cats
11. Benjamin Fall - Crap.
12. Brad Barritt - Not interested in talk about his bravery and organising, I want a 12 who can actually play rugby with the ball at international level.
13. Mathieu Bastareaud - It's no good being big and strong if you keep dropping the ball, and if you keep getting smashed on the gainline thus nullifying your big and strongness as well.
14. Chris Ashton - I still maintain, albeit as part of an ever dwindling number of people, that his actual play in the actual position he is meant to play in is not as bad as everyone makes out and that any winger would struggle to look GOOD outside this England midfield. His downfall is his defence, which he seems to be wilfully getting worse at, and his inability not to be a gigantic gobshite of a bellend all over the park when he should be concentrating on his bloody job.
15. Yoann Huget - Play as inexplicable as his hirsuteness.