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.
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.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: RBS 6 Nations, Round Four
James Haskell - because it's the rules
Craig Joubert - Whistle tourettes, which he evidently had in the Scotland vs Wales game, is bad enough, but his constant lecturing of the front rows about how to scrummage was as ridiculous as it must've been infuriating for international rugby players. Awful.
Danny Care - I admit to once rating this fella when he was a young prospect, but he has consistently failed to impress at this level, especially on Saturday. And his haircut makes my eyeballs itch. I'd much prefer Lee Dickson, who I believe suffers in selection due to looking like a horse doing a cartwheel when he passes and so is not trusted by coaches, due to not looking "right".
Brad Barritt - In a tight game, he squandered a gigantic overlap and thus displayed the major problem with him that no amount of defensive bravery can cover up. His head down, blinkered approach to running in possession is an irredeemable flaw that no team with lofty international ambitions should incorporate.
Louis Picamoles - the big fella has been solid throughout the tournament, but against the Irish he was immense. Everything a class Number 8 should be: big, strong, quick, fit and with unkempt hair. All the best back-rowers in history had unkempt hair. Fact.
Alessandro Zanni - When it comes to Italy the media is either in a sex-clinch with Parrisse or talking in heroic terms about their front row's longevity and so Zanni is often overlooked. Has been consistent in his quality for years, but he took his opportunity to put Haskell in his place perfectly on Sunday.
Sam Warburton - I told you, didn't I?
Luke Marshall - While all the press attention has been focused on who is going to fill the ROFG shaped gap as the second choice 10, this fella has been excellent since his inclusion and is the real good news story of the latest version of the Ireland Transition Period™
As an aside, while I am not suggesting that Conor Murray was SHIT, I am mystified as to how he was seen as GOOD enough in the 60 minutes he played to get the MOM award? He seems to do a reasonable job, but too often turns quick ball into slow ball in every game he plays. Is it me? Comments on that, and everything else, welcome as always....
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: RBS 6 Nations, Round Three
Ronan O'Fucking Gara - It's like the Gods of fortune aligned perfectly for this blog on Sunday - I should've got myself down to the bookies as all my bets on the 6 Nations would probably have won. First he was benched behind a 12 year old from Ulster, then he came on to sort the game out and executed the most brainless cross-kick since a caveman tried to kick a boulder with no shoes on, then he threw the terrible pass on Ireland's last attack that caused the knock-on to end the game. My wife made me sleep on the sofa as I was still giggling at 2am
Phillipe Saint-Andre - He's becoming something of a fixture here isn't he? Took a team that was performing perfectly well and put Michalak in it. Says it all really.
Italy's front row - In the midst of years and years of backs who swung between dull to downright useless, the one thing that always held firm, literally, was the front row. On Saturday's evidence this is no longer the case.
James Haskell - Because it's the rules
Manu Tuilagi - Line breaking power is well known, but the direct comparison with Bastareaud on the pitch showed how he has so much more. Good in contact, defence and a fair bit of pace as well
Morgan Parra - So good to have him back. Ran everything good about the French performance with his usual languid insouciance. Until his fool of a coach took him off (see above) Special mention to Louis Picamoles also, who was immense in a losing fight and showed England what they are missing at the base of the scrum.
Dan Biggar - Two solid performances from the Wales 10. He's not the most talented player in the world, but does that really matter if someone is doing the job? After all, James Hook is talented and I'm struggling to remember when he last made any positive impact on an international match.
Jim Hamilton - Magnificent work in the lineout and the loose from the big lock.
That's mine, give us yours in the comments.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: RBS 6 Nations, Round Two
As 90's Manchester band James sang in the opening lines to 'Come Home', "it's that time again when I lose my friends.."
Luciano Orquera - As much as I feel for the bloke, who gave a performance so bad it required a soundtrack of comedy HONKS! and BOIIINNGS!, I fear that if he played well for a second time then the world would be sucked into a hole of dark matter. So it seems he did us all a favour.
Jamie Heaslip - Hands like feet, not much carrying and unable to galvanise his side at home in a game that required more mongrel than a Battersea Dogs Home audit.
Groundskeepers - I've never seen or played on pitches as bad as those at St Denis and Dublin this weekend - and I played a few games on Barry RFC's second pitch. This cannot be acceptable in elite sport.
France - Seriously, anyone got any ideas what the hell is going on over there?
Stuart Hogg - Second week of class from the young Scot in the 15 shirt. He is absolutely RAPID this lad, and it's only on seeing how rapid he is that you realise how long it's been since one so quick was in the full-back berth for many a northern hemisphere team. People are using the "L" workd in relation to him, but not this blog, as the "L" word is banned. Unless it's that TV show with loads of women kissing each other. That one's allowed.
Ben Youngs - Owen Farrell was once again GOOD, but it was Youngs who was the revelation. Back to the kind of form he showed before injury and the Johnson regime took his mojo, he herangued, harried, kicked intelligently, sniped and tapped & goed with great timing and decision making. His pass is still a little bit too slow, but I can let him off with that this week. Extra credit to Lancaster for leaving him on for the whole game and not robotically rotating him with Danny's Hair on 60 minutes.
Andrew Coombs - Wales may not be any GOOD, but this fella has come in and impressed in what's a poor side and that takes some ability and no small amount of guts. Must be wishing he was converted to a lock a bit earlier in his career.
That's mine, let's have yours in the comments.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: RBS 6 Nations, Round One
The flashy and the flushy, as judged by the worst computer in history.
This blog post - Evidence, if more were needed that I know sod all.
Phillipe Saint-Andre - Anyone who has any idea of what he's done to his squad over Christmas please send them to Cestquoicemerdierfirstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Warburton - It gives no pleasure to have his name in here, but he is truly poor at the minute. Tipuric is easily the best seven in Wales at the moment, and Sam is probably the 3rd best six, so that should leave him dropped. It can't be a coincidence that his form has gone south ever since he started wearing the hat, it must be impregnated with SHITness.
James Haskell - Because he will always be in this section until he retires.
The Six Nations - There is always trepidation when a new tournament rolls around, what if it doesn't live up to the weeks of waiting, nervous excitement and that you're looking for this to basically make late winter worth living through? Well, this weekend proved that we need not fear, and we will all live to see mid-March at least. Unless you're Welsh.
Billy Twelvetrees - A magnificent selection that showed exactly what England have been missing at 12 for so very long. Mystified as to why he was taken off in a winning debut performance, but the number and types of replacements used is Scourge of SHIT all over the game at the minute.
Simon Zebo - Not for the Ossie Ardiles style flick-kick, which was more lucky than anything; but for the soft hands that followed it, and for his solid, classy performance in the face of much bigger, more experienced opposite number.
Sergio Parisse - Every time you make jokes about how everyone gushes about him too much, he goes and puts in a performance that makes you want to gush about him too much.
Remember that the SHIT/GOOD Ratings are not a definitive list but a starting point so get stuck in in the comments.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Autumn Internationals, Week 3
It's a bit late, but what did you expect? We only came out of retirement a couple of weeks back.
Andy Robinson - HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! That is all
The England Creativity Vacuum © - How many ways can you comment about the same problem that has occured with soul splintering regularity for a very, very, very long time? The only thing I can think to say right now is "bollocks". Will that do? I wouldn't mind if there was some clear plan for how this was going to be solved but I can't see that persevering with the defensively impressive yet offensively special needs Barritt at 12 fits such a plan. The headlines were all about Chris Robshaw's penalty decision, but that was mere window dressing to the main issue that England must solve. See you in 12 months when we'll be lamenting the same problem
Rhys Priestland - Unrecognisable from the quietly confident and efficient player of twelve months ago. Trouble is the other options are Biggar, who I'm yet to be convinced by at this level and Hook, who has fallen short of expectations so often he's like the last three The Killers albums in shorts.
Joe Launchbury - Classy performance against a bruising pack. Hopefully he won't fall into the Courtnay Lawes trap of believing his own press, trying too hard and and becoming formless penalty machine.
Jonathan Davies - This blog was one of the many who saw him as decent but limited a few years back. How srong we were. He is starting to ooze quality as a proper 13, Lions beckons?
Ma'a Nonu - Couldn't pass a few years ago, sorted that to become a proper 12. Past his best perhaps, but still the fulcrum of the NZ attack
Who are your nominations? Unload your love and vitriol in the comments.