Some quick news snippets relating to the other nations (what nations, I hear you ask?):
Martyn Williams has announced he will in fact answer Wales and Warren Gatland’s call in the upcoming 6 Nations. Not particularly surprising – the same thing happened when Matt Williams left and Nathan Hines came out of retirement. Williams is crucial to Wales at the moment so the decision to ask him back was a no-brainer and maybe says something about Gatland’s pulling power (as it were).
Speaking of Williamses, our favourite antipodean cousin Matt has returned to Ireland to coach Ulster, who scraped a win over Bourgouin at the weekend, representing a considerable turnaround in their recent fortunes. Maybe they’ll appoint him the new Irish backs coach, too.
From over the channel, a raft of retirements including Dominici, Pelous, Ibanez and Betsen. This leaves the list of potential captains ever-shrinking, so Lionel Nallet has been given the France captaincy by the new coaching team. Even more in flux than ever, now is the time to catch France napping.
England picked a Tongan on the wing. Still, if he had a granny from Arbroath, we’d probably pick him too. He said he’d have played for Tonga if they had called, but “some bloke called Andrew” got there first.
Italy will have a new face at scrum half after the retirement of Troncon and Nick Mallett announced a squad mostly unchanged from the World Cup, but without Paul Griffen. This will presumably mean the Italian squad can now revert to the national expectations of three day growth and slicked-back hair from their sporting figures.
Last, a little bit of home news. Seems like Scottish ref and Jonathan Davies’ punching bag Malcolm Changeleng has decided to quit top level whistleblowing. Rumour over on the Scotsman comments said it was due to the Irish vetoing his appointment for a Six Nations game. A bit of a controversial figure with coaches, in the games I saw he always seemed to make more correct decisions than blunders and he didn’t take any crap, as befits a referee in this great egg chase of ours.