Rugby Venn: Richard Hibbard
The wonder of power and hair explained by maths and stuff. Sort of.
Rugby Chart: focus of Wales defence vs Australia
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.
Gameplans Explained: Wales for the next ten years
After a long hiatus in which the blog did other rugby based diagrams, the original ofte copied but never bettered Gameplans Explained are back; kicking off with a look at the Wales gameplan for the forseeable future.
SHIT/GOOD Ratings: Autumn Internationals, Week 3
|JP Pietersen: Twat|
You all saw the scores in the matches at the weekend, but now the real results are in. Give us your yap in the comments.
Joel Tomkins - Lancaster gave him a crack, and it wasn't a bad selection on the face of it, but after a full series he looks a long way short on pace, penetration and class. As an aside, anyone who watched his brother Sam's performance for England RL cannot help but wonder what could have been if he was in the 13 shirt.
Devin Toner - As Crocks said on Twitter, "Ireland would have been better picking Peter Stringer in the 2nd row".
The Rest Of Ireland - The team, obviously, not the entire country. Ireland have entered so many transitional phases in the past five year that this blog can't keep up, even with the use of an abacus; but this performance shows that it's time to actually do it properly. Schmidt is no fool so he will have a plan, he just needs to engage it now. Tinkering will no longer suffice. And to lose to Australia in the scrum is the most embarrassing thing to happen to Ireland since Michael Flatley's accent.
Greig Laidlaw & Ruaridh Jackson - Scotland were never going to win that game, but he Scots halfs seemed determined to make it as painful as possible by continually sending the forwards into yet another pick & go nightmare, or spraying it around like a student on spring break. Any semblance of a plan was either ignored, or it was the worst plan in the history of plans.
JP Pietersen - Big hit on Denton was top class, the facewipe and press into the ground afterwards was, at 28-0 up, the act of a 24-carat twat. Anyone who thinks it wasn't that bad ask yourself this, how would you react if Chris Ashton had done it?
Tom Youngs - Single-handedly turned England's greatest strength, the lineout, into a scene from The Three Stooges, but will less composure. It's not too much of a leap to say that he may have cost England the game
Tom Wood - Amazing work rate and was consistently excellent. I'm going to go out on a very long limb here, as what I'm about to say is a big call, but sod it, I'm going for it: England may have finally found a replacement for Richard Hill. There, I've said it.
Dylan Hartley - He seems to have developed a bit of sense to go with his aggression. This is a good thing, but surely it's only a matter of time before he returns to usual form and bites a referee's bollock or something.
Ma'a Nonu - Sublime run and pop for the decisive NZ try. This display of skill was even more impressive when you remember he only learned how to pass in 2011.
Dan Biggar - Unlike Rhys Priestland's brain, Dan's is working fine. Tougher tests than Argentina lie ahead, but Gatland needs to accept the fact that the Osprey is the best Wales have at the minute.
Richard Hibbard - A cross between a tank and He-Man and shaping up to be a Wales legend. More than his strength, it's the sheer effort he gives. Never leaves the field without being so spent he's breathing through his eyeballs.
Kieran Read - There's nothing else to say, is there?
The Galactic Tangerine Overlord Samson Lee - Came on late, got himself binned. This blog suggests you all bow down before his Golden Majesty.
Autumn Internationals Preview: Wales vs Argentina, Saturday 14:30
There's no need to preview of this match, as such things are no longer important.
This is the dawn of a new era, an epoch in which Samson Lee will be playing for Wales.
Not only is he called Samson Lee, which is fabulous in itself, but he has an awesome, beautiful, Golden Orb Of Majesty for a head. Seriously, look at it! Then LOOK AT IT AGAIN!! Your puny brain cannot comprehend its glory.
Hero is an overused word, but in this case this blog's new hero is the greatest hero in the history of the world.
Rugby Venn: Wales in the Autumn
"Please B&M, may we have a visual summing up of what happens to Wales in the Autumn? Preferably as a Venn diagram?" Asked absolutely no-one.
But we went and did it anyway.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Autumn Internationals, Week Two.
|"I won't lie to you, I haven't got a bloody clue"|
Week two of the Autumn Internationals, and the computer is warming to its task of praise or condemnation nicely, it asks that you join in the fun in the comments.
George North - It had to come eventually. The Gog Convict Carrier has had a start to his career so positive and dreamlike it's like it was invented by a North Walian PR company to boost tourism, but everyone has to have a bad game and this was his. Not great under the high ball, a number of mistakes in attack, looked generally unconvincing and let's just say that kicking deosn't look his strongest suit. However, seeing as he's still only about 13 years old, this game will probably do him good in the long run.
Rhys Priestland - What has become of him? Yes, he's had injuries, but the main injured part of him appears to be his brain, and it looks beyond recovery at the minute. Only a quarter of his brain works, and it's the quarter that shouts "KICK IT!" constantly, and unfortunately the part of his brain that controls where the ball goes is in the broken part, along with whatever made him such a prospect in 2011.
Chris Ashton - As you all know, this blog does not have as negative a view on the Wigan Ginge as many other commentators, but he looks all at sea at the moment. No longer appears to know where to stand in either attack or defence and is falling victim to losing all the instincts that make him such a unique attacker. Without those instincts he is basically a bit of a gobshite who can't defend.
Fourie du Preez - While he hasn't been the force he was four years ago, this was a timely reminder of what a class act he is.
Bradley Davies - Has all the talent and toughness to be one of the best, as he showed against the ridiculously physical Books, but has spluttered so far on the top stage. Hopefully this will be the start of the international career that Davies should have started a little while ago.
Mike Brown - Being England's stand out back is a like being the tallest bloke at a dwarf convention, but that should not take away from what a very good pair of games the Quins man has had. Demonstrated just how wasted he was on the wing last year
Jean de Villiers - Powerful and uncompromising. Also figured out Rhys Priestland very early and foiled Wales' midfield. The fact that Priestland did not do anything effective to negate this is one of the main reasons he is in the above section.
Billy Twelvetrees - Knew he'd bounce back. However, next week he has to bounce back and not bounce off Ma'a Nonu, which is a much tougher task.
The computer did not see France vs NZ, hence their absence.
KitWatch SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Wales 2013 Home Kit
In the lead up to the Autumn Internationals, Rugby Shirt Watch will take a look at the new shirts on display from all the home nations, tell you who's going to look like a dickhead and why, and then answering the immortal question - is it SHIT, or is it GOOD?
Look, there's a massive, angry, shitting elephant in the room regarding this new Wales kit, and honestly, it's overshadowed everything else, but before we get to it let's try and take the shirt on its own merits. Under Armour has a different approach to what other brands are doing in terms of kit design, and where the likes of Canterbury are looking to more classic styles, as we saw with the recent England shirt, UA are unabashedly modern. Fans can be a bit love/hate with more forward thinking stuff, but this design really works.
There are a few things here that make this stand our from the traditional Wales shirt, not least the near-total absence of white. In the last few years, Under Armour Wales shirts have probably gone a bit overboard with the white, really, but here black and dark red are the colours of choice, with the contrast shoulder patches (also seen on this year’s Clermont kits) accented by the ‘dragon’s tail’ motif on the sleeve, which apparently is a nod to Scorch, the WRU's new kid-friendly mascot, who, to us at least, wears a look of a man who's about to make a move on your missus, but that's by the by...
It's pretty dragon-y all over, to be honest, with the front of the shirt adorned Dragon Scale pattern Armour Grip material that’s identical (but not nearly as garish) as the pattern on the sleeves of the current Wales 7s shirt. This shirt also scores top marks for dumping the stupid Under Armour ‘tongue’ on the front of the shirt, which while looking fine with an UA logo on it on Wales's 2011 RWC shirt, looked SHIT with the logo moved to the right breast on the regular model they've been wearing since.
Okay, the shirt's great, but we've ignored it long enough. We've got to talk about the rest of the kit...
Just look at that. No not Leigh Halfpenny's almost comically big quads. The SHORTS. Yup, there's no getting away from it, they're inescapably, utterly, completely RED.
Before the launch, we heard rumours that this massive break with tradition just before the kit launch and we were utterly horrified. Wales play in red shirts, white shorts – they dallied with black at the start of the 2000s (and in the 1970s), and it was generally a disaster, but red? RED!? We had visions of Liverpool, of Toulon, of this fella – it was going to be AWFUL.
And yet… hats off to Under Armour, because we think they’ve done a pretty damn good job. The weird side panel fade thing is probably our least favourite part of the shirt, but when worn with the shorts, the fade from black down to white on the panel of the shorts manages to make it look less blocky and monotone, and actually hits the sweet spot of pushing boundaries without going too far.
Is it going to take some getting used to? Definitely. Is it bold and interesting. Definitely. Does it look good. We have to say, it really does. Top marks.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
Rugby Shirt Watch does two things: news about rugby shirts, and shit jokes about rugby shirts. If that's your cup of tea, visit RugbyShirtWatch.com, where you'll find analysis of club and international shirts from all over the world with a healthy dose of sarcasm and wildly unqualified opinions on ‘style’. Or if you can't be arsed to do that, why not follow them on Twitter instead?
It was two years ago today, where were you when Warburton was sent off?
As the legenday Dai Lama has pointed out, today is the second anniversary of the above happening in the RWC 2011 semi-final.
When this occured, I was on my fourth pint of Guinness in a pub very early doors and exploded into splenetic, blind, Cockerillesque anger, as you can see here. Looking back now, I'm not sure it was that poor a decision.
Where were you when it happened? And what are your views after two year's thinking time?