Tag Archives: rugby

Random Happy Rugby Superhero Thoughts

This week I’ve been thinking and have come to the conclusion that you have to be happy with yourself before you change. You can’t change yourself (be it health, fitness, body image, etc) in order to be happy. That’s deferring happiness and, if that’s your mindset, you will never be truly happy. ‘I will be happy if…’ is a dangerous way to think.

I’ve also been wondering about superheroes. Who has the coolest ‘human’ alter ego (e.g. Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Tony Stark, etc)?

And that I think either Sam Warburton, Alun Wyn Jones or Brian O’Driscoll should be the Lions Captain when the squad is announced on Tuesday. Ryan Jones would be my choice, but I don’t think he’ll be guaranteed a starting XV place as he’ll be seen as too valuable on the bench.

Random thoughts for the week. Have a nice weekend, everyone.

Al

New Zealand

Ok. Now, I understand that my last post involved my reporting on the awesomeness that was South Africa. So why exactly am I now writing a new post entitled New Zealand? Well, as it turns out, I am going to New Zealand! (You’d already got that, hadn’t you?)

You can stop being jealous now. Actually, after the holiday I shall have no money and only 18 days leave to last me until next December, so it’s not all good news!

After the South African holiday which was faily meticulously planned, we’re pretty much winging this one! So far we’ve booked the flights, a hotel for the first 2 nights, a campervan and tickets for 2 rugby matches! I have been looking at our map of New Zealand for a bit, but that may just have been due to my unhealthy obsession with maps.

So. Vague plan:

  • Fly into Wellington.
  • Pick up Rugby tickets.
  • Watch Wales beat South Africa in our opening World Cup match (optimistic but not fantastical!)
  • Get campervan
  • Drive through the North Island
  • Maybe catch another match at some point, if our route coincides with any others
  • Get to Hamilton
  • Watch Wales beat Samoa (realistic)
  • Go to Auckland for a few days
  • Fly home

Also I’ll have to go for a few runs whilst we are there (I know it didn’t happen in South Africa, but I’ve got the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest race a week after we get back and the Cardiff Half Marathon 2 weeks after that, so I have to do something over there!). We are also going to visit a few of the Lord of the Rings sites including, possibly, camping at the foot of Mount Doom! Awesome!

So two more sleeps (possibly filled with dreams of hobbits playing rugby in a campervan) and we’ll be off!

Sport, drinking, eating & fire!

Well, I didn’t really keep my promise about blogging twice last week, did I? Sorry about that. Will rectify things with a double week soon!

Cracking weekend last weekend. I ended up going to a testimonial dinner for Dafydd Jones (he sat on our table!) which also saw Ryan Jones & Shane Williams make appearances. I got to meet them all and, despite trying to be cool, I had to have a photo with them!

 

Very nice guys, and very funny too.

Saturday involved us having a quiet-ish morning, then went to the local rugby club for a surprise gathering put together by the boys for my father in law’s 60th birthday. Few pints and a buffet, can’t go far wrong!

Sunday was lovely. It was helped by Liverpool beating Manchester Utd in the afternoon! We then went for a walk and collected some firewood for our new fire! We had a chimneysweep out to clean the chimney and we now have a proper fireplace! Looking forward to getting a big axe now to complete the look:

6 Nations, week 2

Well, my predictions for last week weren’t up to much, were they? Scotland and Italy both performed much better than expected. Wales less so. I would now discount Ireland from the running for champions (a week after saying they would win it?! Crazy!), mainly due to me still believing that Italy is be where the points scored should make a difference. Both England and France should be able to put a few past them and, as such, should have a much higher points difference than Ireland at the end. Having said that, the match on Sunday could be pivotal and it could really make things interesting if Ireland could take advantage of the home crowd’s support and pull a win out of the bag.

So, as for predictions, I’ll go for the easiest first. England will wallop Italy at Twickenham. Simple as. England are on the up, they are confident, Italy won’t be half as good away from home. England by 15.

I’m going to say that France will probably take advantage of an Ireland side that will be trying too hard to create chances that they failed to do last weekend. Could be tough to begin with, but as it opens up, France should be able to notch up the victory. France by 8.

This is where my lower lip may begin to tremble before my stupid optimism takes over. My head says that Wales are going into this match low on confidence and with James Hook playing in a pivotal role in which he hasn’t started this season. It could all fall apart. Scotland are getting harder to beat and are looking very promising. However, my heart is ignoring all logic and I’m going with a Welsh victory! Wales by 2.

Let’s see how off the mark I am this week, shall we?

Rugby-o-rama!

Friday again, eh? I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. It’s the start of the 6 Nations! Come on Wales! England tonight for us. I HAVE A TICKET! I am very excited. So my weekend will be largely concerned with rugby. For what it’s worth, here are my predictions for this weekend and the tournament as a whole.

Wales v England

Possibly slightly swayed by my heart on this one, I’m going for a narrow Welsh victory. England haven’t won in Cardiff since 2003, so it’s been a while. With the Welsh crowd behind them in the stadium (me included – yes, I’m still excited!), it might be enough to give Wales the extra shove they need.

Italy v Ireland

I can’t see this going any other way than Ireland’s. Italy, after seemingly developing into competitors, not contenders you understand, have slipped a little recently. Ireland should walk this fairly comfortably. I’m going to also say that points against Italy could prove crucial in deciding the outcome of the championship as it could be very close this year.

France v Scotland

France is always a difficult place to go to and come away with a win. Scotland are starting to look like a good team, but I can’t see them overcoming France in Paris. As always, we never know what French team are going to turn up – the mercurial, skilful team, or the chokers. But they should grind out a victory on home turf.

As for the overall table, this is my prediction for the final tally:

1st – Ireland (Good start and nice run of fixtures)

2nd – England (Lose today, but grow during the tournament)

3rd – Wales (Or more likely 4th, but I don’t want to put that down!)

4th – France (See above comment)

5th – Scotland (Still not sure it’s their year quite yet)

6th – Italy (Wooden spoooooooooooon)

 

Do any of you have any exciting plans for the weekend? Do you agree/disagree with the predictions?

The Final Showdown!

France are going for the Grand Slam; Ireland, the Triple Crown; and Wales, Scotland & Italy desperately trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

Wales v Italy

Head and heart agree on this, this week! Wales to win. I’m hoping that Gatland has thrashed enough sense into the team this week to enable us to go out and batter the Italians. The reappearance of Gethin Jenkins, Mike Phillips & Ryan Jones is a massive boost and they’ll all be keen to make a huge impression in their final Six Nations game of the season. Italy will be hurting after last week’s defeat to the French, despite scoring a couple of good individual tries. But I can’t see them winning this. Last game, the stars back, 72,500 people cheering? Wales by 20.

Ireland v Scotland

I think Croke Park will have a massive effect on this one. Had it been at Murrayfield, I would have tentatively suggested a Scottish win, but not here. If England had the backs that Ireland do, they would have gone on to win last week, and Ireland’s forwards are probably the best (as a unit) in the championship this year. If Jonny Sexton can land his penalties, I see this as an easy victory for Ireland, by 12 points.

France v England

Visiting the Stade de France, with the French chasing a Grand Slam, while you are struggling for form. Not the best of situations for England to be in! France should, technically, walk it. But England always put up a great fight against the French. I think it’ll be fairly tight early on, with Flutey & Tindall having to marshall the rampaging runs of Bastareaud (something they should be able to manage, I reckon). England’s back row are going to have to be on top form to compete with France’s scurries from the base of the breakdowns, but the forwards should be fairly well matched elsewhere. England will, however, have to cope with the late loss of their captain, Borthwick, who has been replaced by Lewis Moody as leader for the day. France showed their professionalism last week by going for easy three points where available, even when they were 25 points ahead, a lesson they appear to have learnt from the success of the Southern Hemisphere teams. I’m going for France to wear down England and win by 10 points.

Six Nations

We have reached the penultimate weekend of the Six Nations. So far it’s been the usual cauldron of highs & lows, unexpected comebacks, disappointing displays, and some electrifying rugby. Here’s my take on this week’s fixtures:

Ireland v Wales

Ireland bounced back from their unconvincing display against France to beat England a fortnight ago. This will definitely have given them confidence to be able to come out and dig out a victory against Wales. Wales on the other hand showed, yet again, their inability to play rugby for the whole 80 minutes, despite a brilliant 2nd half performance. If Wales can keep the tempo up for an entire match, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Having said that, I don’t believe the current squad is settled enough to deliver this yet. With their third change in the back row in as many matches it’s going to be difficult to get any cohesion, and the loss of Ryan Jones as captain is significant. If it opens up, Wales are in with a shout, however, Ireland are savvy nowadays and can turn this into a ‘Munsterfest’, and not give up possession. I also imagine that Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy will be keeping an eye out for loose loop passes for them to nab a couple of interceptions, which cost Wales dearly against France. Based on this, I’m going with an Ireland victory by 5 points. See I can go with my head instead of my heart sometimes!

Scotland v England

This could be a tough match for both sides. I can’t imagine it being pretty. Martin Johnson has made a couple of interesting calls, one to retain Delon Armitage at full back. He hasn’t really shown much so far and many have called for Ben Foden to be called into the starting XV (although he is on the bench covering numerous positions). Johnson has also dropped Moody and replaced him with his World Cup winning chum Joe Worsley. Now, I like Worsley and think that he’s a very good flanker, but Lewis Moody hasn’t done much wrong as far as I can tell. In a war of attrition, Worsley’s presence might offer more stability up front and Johnson is obviously expecting a massive physical encounter. I’m going to say that England are probably going to win this, with Wilkinson kicking them to victory (again). England by 6.

France v Italy

I fully expect France to take another step towards achieving the Grand Slam on Sunday. Italy did well and were, rightly, very pleased to beat Scotland. However, this weekend they are playing France. In France. I can’t see this going any other way other than a comprehensive French victory. So i’ll go for France by 15.

If these results go the other way, however, it will make next weekend very interesting!