All posts by Turkish

Oh Wales, how I love you

Defeat is hard to take. For a player, a team, a nation, losing always hurts and so it should for anyone with hope, with aspirations of better things. What is worse than losing in itself is losing to poor opposition, playing without skill, without passion. Over the years I’ve seen Wales lose a lot of games. I’ve watched them lose to Romania, to Canada, to Italy, Fiji, Argentina, Samoa (both Western and the whole island) and worse still Ireland. All teams we could and should have beaten. I’ve seen numerous displays of rugby ineptitude interspersed with moments of breathtaking, delectable rugby gold served “the Welsh way” – ie with a side order of infighting and melodrama. Defeat inevitably leaves me hollow, miserable, depleted.

But after Saturday’s game I didn’t feel that bad. Part of this is that I had already accepted that Wales had no chance of winning. Part of it is that unlike the abject misery of the defeats to Argentina and Samoa there is no shame in Saturday’s loss. There is no shame in losing to a side far superior, as New Zealand obviously are. They occupy an ethereal plane of rugby that Wales can only fleetingly attain, reached in a thumping tackle on Israel Dagg, a show and go from Jonathan Davies. Gone in the time it takes for Paul James to spill the ball or Mike Phillips to take 2 steps before he passes.

But more than this, something happened on Saturday to re-kindle the passion and joy of being a Welsh rugby supporter. Battered, bruised, down by 33 point to none with all hope of victory gone did they give up? Did they bow their heads and hope the man next to them would shoulder the responsibilities of a nation. No. They fought, they dug in they took the game back to the best team on the planet and gave them 30 minutes to think about. And if that wasn’t enough they gave us something both joyous and incredible. Something wholly bizarre and wonderful which in all my days of playing rugby I’ve only seen once before in an under 12’s game down the local park….the all-in-14-man-driving-lineout.

It was in that moment, glorious in defeat, that I rediscovered my love for Wales. This unlovely, baffling and most enigmatic of lands where watching your entire backline join a driving maul brings redemption. The roars in the stadium, the joy on the player’s faces, you’d have thought they’d won the game, not brought the score back to 5-33.

And so, from the steelmen of Port Talbot to the pizza makers of Flintshire I urge you to raise your heads, raise a glass, raise a smile and remember why we love Wales, oh so much. There is yet pride, there is yet passion and hope springs eternal. Bring on Australia and let’s take them down.

New coach storms to power at the Dragons

 

You knows it

You knows it

Newport was gripped in a blaze of revolutionary zeal last night after a new head coach swept to power at Rodney Parade. The new leader, known only as “Colonel Jones” stormed the Rodney Parade stronghold with tanks, helicopters and those Datsun trucks with the big guns on the back. The move was met with violent scenes as the Colonel’s supporters clashed with those still loyal to Paul Turner. Armed mercenaries from Ebbw Vale were drafted in to restore order.

Speaking on Radio Gwent Colonel Jones addressed the town saying “The people of Newport, they love me. They are my people. Those youths fighting in John Frost square are all on drugs given to them by our enemy; Bob Norster” before adding “You knows it”.

The colonel has promised to invest heavily in the club. In the interim all revenues are being redirected to his personal bank account “for safe keeping and re-distribution”.

Little is know of the colonel’s background though it is believed he has recently held a senior coaching position in the Middle East. Rumours that he is in fact Lyn Jones in a silly hat have been dispelled due to the fact that Lyn Jones can never find a hat big enough for his swollen head.

Rodney Parade was closed this morning but several tents had been erected on the pitch where new forwards coach Saif al-Jones was putting the players through their paces. Skipper Tom Willis was impressed, “I’ve never done lineout drills under live fire before. It certainly kept the boys on their toes”. When asked about the casualty rate Willis was escorted away before being able to answer. Rumours are surfacing that Luke Charteris has been shot through both legs, though it is not expected to make any difference to his mobility round the park.

Ivory Coast refugees to clear Rodney Parade pitch

Refugees fleeing the political violence in the Ivory Coast have been drafted in to help the Newport Gwent Dragons clear their snow covered pitch in time for Monday’s derby game against the Blues.

With efforts to clear the pitch floundering head coach Paul Turner yesterday made an impassioned plea for supporters to help with the pitch clearance. Sadly, noone heeded the call and the match was likely to be cancelled till Turner suddenly made a breakthrough.

“I was taking a walk round the docks area late last night” said Turner, “when out of nowhere this boat pulls up and a load of guys jumped off. It was difficult to understand them but one of them was clearly wearing an Ebbw Vale top from the 92/93 season and I realised they were here to help. I took them straight back down the Parade and got them shovelling snow.”

When asked about their recent ordeal one of the refugees said, “the situation is terrible, totally 3rd world. There’s widespread violence, looting, a lack of basic amenities and virtually no rule of law. I never expected Newport to be this bad.”

Once work on the pitch is complete its likely that the refugees will then start work on the proposed £200m John Frost square redevelopment. “I thought Bouake was bad” said one sporting a Newbridge 2nd 15 replica shirt “but at least we’ve got a Woolworths.”

Munster to accept IRB loan

Bankrupt backwater Ireland was again reeling last night after once more being forced to accept international aid. Leading Irish province and rolling maul exponent Munster has been forced into accepting an embarrassing, emergency bailout from the IRB, the Magners League and novelty ginger wig manufacturers. The move follows years of big spending by the Irish region which has attracted international superstars such as Doug Howlett and Chris Wyatt. It’s understood the bailout could run into hundreds of pounds.

The IRB has placed strict conditions on the loan which will see Munster having to drastically reduce their cost base. Moves under consideration apparently involve sacking all three quarters from the squad. “At the end of the day we really only use 9 players, 10 at a push. We can cut costs by a third and not have to change our game plan or training regime” said Director of Rugby Tony McGahan.

The IRFU welcomed the move explaining that it helped them out of a potentially embarrassing situation. “If Munster went bust we’d have to let Connaught into the Heineken Cup and that’s something we never want to see” said an unnamed spokesman.

Lifelong supporter Gerry McGerry was understandably distraught. “It’s a disaster for Irish rugby. We really hate the English but now we’ve got to take a load of money off them. Next time we have a game at Leicester we won’t be able to act quite so smug and self important. We may have to be contrite and accept there are other teams who are actually quite good and capable of beating us”. Upon reflection he added “No, stuff it we’ll just ignore the facts and act the way we always do”.

Child benefit “last straw” for Henson

Gavin Henson confirmed last night that he will be leaving Wales for the bright lights of London as soon as he finishes filming his latest reality/celebrity TV show. Speaking exclusively to Gwladrugby he revealed the true reasons behind the move.

“This coalition Government’s cuts are really going to hit me hard. I was banking on the £1500 I get in child benefit to see me right but now they’ve taken it away. It was bad enough losing the family tax allowance and having to pay the Council Tax on the bedsit but with this as well I just can’t make ends meet. As I’m currently unemployed and have no spouse to sponge off so I think I have a right to expect everyone else to support me.”

Asked what the future holds for him in the capital Henson replied. “My advisors tell me I can make money out of dancing. You know, like those breakdancing guys in Harlem or those Russian bears. I think this could be a big move for me. I’m in great condition and it’ll only take one or two hours down a subway for me to be world class. However all the subways in Swansea are taken and Pencoed just doesn’t have the right feel so its got to be London.”

Lembit Opik was asked to comment but his response was unintelligible.

Ricky Martin to join the Crusaders

The rugby world was rife with speculation last night that Puerto Rican pop sensation Ricky Martin is set to join rugby league side the Crusaders. The Latin heartthrob was seen arriving at the Racecourse on the weekend alongside new recruit Gareth Thomas.

Perennial underachievers the Crusaders have launched a ferocious recruitment campaign which has seen them sign former union legend Gareth Thomas and some journeymen Australians in an attempt to win a game. Head coach Paul Noble is also known to be keen to spark some interest in South Wales so they can leave the wastelands of Wrexham and play in more affluent surroundings, such as Port Talbot or Newport Docks.

If the signing is completed in time it’s likely that Ricky’s first game could be against the Harlequins at the Gnoll this week. Ricky first played at the ground when touring with boy band Menudo on their breakthrough 1993 tour and is known to be a big fan of the facilities and the town. “Those boys in Neath sure showed me a good time” he once told Mexican television. It is widely believed that his No.1 smash Livin’ La Vida Loca was inspired by events at the after party in Neath Cricket Club.

Former dual code star Jonathon Davies commented “He’s got two good feet and likes a bit of crash bang up the middle. Need I say more?” before confusingly shouting “show and go” in a high pitched squeal.

Iestyn “never quite got union” Harris refused to answer questions