Month: July 2009

BBC Takes Aim At Murdoch’s Crown Jewels

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The BBC have just published their list of the proposed protected “free to air” sporting events, seen as invaluable in promoting sport in Britain and being accessible to the widest possible audience. Broadcast rights to several of these lie in the clutches of Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Sports or elsewhere.

The BBC’s proposed list for protected free-to-air Rugby events (* denotes additions):

A1: UK conversation events (Live)

No rugby, it being stuff like the Olympics and Football World Cup

A2 List: Resonance in the Nations (Live in relevant nation)

Welsh rugby union Six nations and autumn internationals (Wales)*

A3 List: Pinnacle sports events (Live)

Rugby union World Cup final

B List: Events of UK importance (Highlights)

Rugby union World Cup
Six Nations rugby tournament (extended to all games*)
British and Irish Lions tour*

Why do only Wales get to have their Six Nations games protected as the highest priority? Removing Scotland’s games to ESPN Sports Extra 2 (highlights only, at half past midnight) will hardly help the cause of the game here. S4C seem to have enough cash to throw about on such things that Wales would probably get coverage anyway. I am pretty sure the Beeb recognises the Six Nations for the ratings winner it is and would fight to keep it, but still.

While the idea of the Lions being viewable to a largely ambivalent community outside the immediate rugby one fills me with joy, the idea of listening to Brian Moore commentating on it does not.

Full list of all events here.

Tom Smith Returns

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Ahh, there’s the “why didn’t I think of that” coaching appointment I was bemoaning the lack of in my last post. Rob Moffat has announced recently retired Northampton Saints, Scotland and Lions legend Tom Smith as his forwards coach. Having seen the improvements in Saints front row play in recent years and in particular the advances in Euan Murray’s game since being taken under Smith’s wing, I feel this can only be a good choice for Edinburgh, who have a stable of up and coming props as well as current internationalists like Geoff Cross and the inimitable Chunk. Unbeknown to most of us he has been working away in recent years to achieve his coaching qualifications, helping the Saints young forwards along the way.

SRU Release | BBC Report

Just the right sort of appointment!

Moffat To Take Over Edinburgh

Edinburgh have promoted backs coach Rob Moffat to the position of Head Coach, filling the vacancy left by Andy Robinson’s move to the national position.

BBC Report

Moffat seems to have done a pretty decent job with the Edinburgh backs, but is probably a journeyman appointment rather than the “oh, wow/really?” appointment of Robinson a couple of years ago. We of course wish him all the best in the job and hope he can take Edinburgh to greater heights or at the very least preserve their level of performance.

Other candidates known to have been up for the job were former Scotland front row merchants George Graham and Peter Wright, and I suppose it is a possibility that Wright may wish to make a move into the pro game as a forwards coach. Graham already has a head coaching job in Italy so I would think it unlikely he’d be interested in the lesser job. Moffat’s backroom appointments will be made in due course.

Scotland Lose Shirts From Their Backs

Kit manufacturer Canterbury’s European trading arm has gone into administration, resulting in the collapse of kit sponsorship deals with both Glasgow Warriors and the national side. Edinburgh kit is supplied by Rhino, so they should be unaffected. Canterbury and the SRU were due to unveil a new away (or “change”) strip this week, so I guess we will never see what the new shirt would have looked like. The parent company Canterbury of New Zealand remains unaffected, so it is possible that the national side’s deal may be revived with them given it is still a pretty high profile team. Glasgow will be on the hunt for a new kit provider though.

Scotsman Story

Scotland’s Chance to Beat New Zealand in a Rugby Related Matter

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http://www.olympic-rugby.org/friends.html

As you can see from this page, the Kiwis are sorely slacking in the petition signing stakes, languishing in 27th place with Scotland having only 7 fewer signatories in 28th. We are ahead of Wales though, and we’d like things to stay that way. So if you haven’t already signed the petition to get Rugby 7s into the Olympics, head over now (you can use the big ol’ button to the right) and make us proud! Tell all your friends and get them to sign it too, and make sure your country is down as Scotland…We might even overtake such rugby behemoths as Sweden, Hungary and the Ukraine!

Summing Up The Lions

I will no doubt have a bash once I have had a chance to watch the second and third tests again (pub viewing not the best conditions for analysis although the craic is better) but for now this article by Nathan Hines on the Scotsman site sums up nicely what it meant to all the players, not just the test ones, and his general feelings on the tour.

Nathan Hines: “Rugby of the highest class”

Hard to disagree with most of it, especially the views on PDV’s reaction to the gouging and second test disciplinary controversy. Although it now seems big Nathan won’t be heading back to Perpignan post summer holidays…

Is Big Nathan The New Rocky?

Elsom that is, not Balboa. After his Wikipedia entry was recently amended to suggest he would be moving to Wales (the Ospreys and the Scarlets simultaneously), it seems that Scottish Lion and general all-round troublemaking loon Nathan Hines is now set to leave French Top 14 Champs Perpignan for Irish province Leinster, where he can team up with fellow Lions BOD, Fitzgerald, Kearney and Heaslip and aim to fill the Australian sized gap left by the return home of Rocky Elsom. Presumably the USAP lot are wound up that he prized a Lions shirt over victory in the championship and have decided to let him go. Could be a valuable signing for Leinster, and should be able to give plenty of insight into the Irish camp come 6 Nations time…

Shame one of the pro-teams couldn’t have snapped him up, but with the likes of beanpole Richie Gray coming through the ranks at Glasgow perhaps youth development is more of a focus these days – hardly a bad thing.

Scotsman Report

It is also being reported that Euan Murray has actually broken his leg on tour in South Africa and will be out for longer than feared, and will possibly not be ready in time for the autumn internationals.

Ford Stays On The Bench

No sign of big Nathan sadly, but with Shaw’s phenomenal performance last week it is understandable. Less understandable is bringing Worsley in at 6. Both Flutey and Bowe have looked fairly sharp this tour so it will be interesting to see if they can even approach the heights of Roberts/O’Driscoll’s pairing. I hope Ross Ford gets a chance for a bit of a run just to show there were some Scots on what has been a pretty good tour. Here’s hoping the boys can salvage some pride with a victory over a good South African team (and their idiotic coach) – there is no way they should be two tests down, and yet there it is, 2-0 on the score sheet. Such is sport.

British & Irish Lions versus South Africa on Saturday 4th July

15. Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland)
14. Ugo Monye (Harlequins/England)
13. Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland)
12. Riki Flutey (London Wasps/England)
11. Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales)
10. Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales)
9. Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland)
7. Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
6. Joe Worsley (London Wasps/England)
5. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland) Captain
4. Simon Shaw (London Wasps/England)
3. Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England)
2. Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales)
1. Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks/England)

Replacements:
16. Ross Ford (Edinburgh/Scotland)
17. John Hayes (Munster/Ireland)
18. Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
19. David Wallace (Munster/Ireland)
20. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England)
21. Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers/England)
22. James Hook (Ospreys/Wales)

Sorry…

…for not spouting any of my rubbish lately, I was down in London with Al checking out the Boss at Hyde Park – awesome show. However we did find time to take in the second Lions test in a pub in Putney, an area riddled with South Africans it seems. Good times were had by all, although that was about as gutted as I have been after a game of rugby (save for getting pumped out of the RWC by the Argies), yet mixed with a curious elation at having seen such a decent game of rugby. Say what you like about the Lions (I see the commenters have been busy) but that was as fine a game of actual rugby as I have seen in a test match for many a year, and for promoting such an approach Geech and his team are to be applauded. Shout out to pub pundit and all round drunk South African Phillip Le Roux (and mates) who bravely recommended betting all our money on the Lions third test victory. Remains to be seen what is left of the team, of course…