Watched any Premiership games this season? Confused by whether one player is going to lead England through the Red Sea like Abraham did for the Philistines? Here’s your cut out and keep Le Tache EnglishLomuometer calculator:
1) Is the player young?
2) Can he be described as having a lot of one particular physical attribute (e.g. Height, weight, strength, power, speed, guile)?
3) Is he stout of heart?
4) Did he once have a good season for the England Saxons / Sale / London Irish?
5) Is he English / qualified to play for England?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to all five then this player is the new English sensation.
If you have answered ‘yes’ to the first three questions and ‘no’ to the last two then this player is the new Tuilagi sensation.
If you have answered ‘yes’ to all but question 1, then this player is Simon Shaw.
Gavin Henson was back in the media spotlight tonight in an interview on Scrum V. It was another disastrous set of public utterances and can be summarised thus:
“I just want to get back to playing rugby, the game I love, and I’m only going on Strictly to pay the bills.”
“I want to play rugby in London so I can be near my kids. I don’t want to play for the Ospreys, but I’ll go back and play there if I have to.”
“I have a year to run on my contract with the Ospreys, but I believe I may be a free agent and I don’t have to honour this. I’ve got lawyers working on it.”
Gavin Henson is the master of making a disaster out of an unfortunate situation. He may have been instrumental in delivering two Grand Slam championships in 2005 and 2008, but aside from that, his story has been one of disappointment and frustration. It is clear he has been very poorly advised by those around him, and has made some very bad decisions and a number of idiotic public statements which have alienated him from his fellow players and the Welsh rugby establishment. Take his reaction to Wales’s loss to Ireland in 2006. With a sheepish grin on his face, he claimed he was suicidal. Disappointed perhaps, but on the verge of taking his own life? Unlikely.
In the end, Henson is a rugby player. It’s only a game, and the root of the problem is not out there on the pitch. It has come to this because he has only been equipped with the ability to play rugby; he is completely at home on the field, but real life is something he is unable to cope with on his own. And that is where those around him have let him down.
Henson’s advisors have decided that the best means of releasing him from his contract with the Ospreys is not via the courts, but through the media. Previous encounters with the press and television should have taught them that this wasn’t the way to sell our Gav to the public. But they’ve persisted with it and he has been made to look a fool once again.
The root of the problem lies back in Henson’s formative years. A talented sportsman with all the skills in the world on a rugby pitch, but bereft of even the basic ability to cope with life away from the game. He has been badly let down by those closest to him, and they have allowed him to be hung out to dry in the spotlight too many times. His last chance for sporting redemption has probably gone as a result.
Magners League games could become even more unbearable following news that half-time ‘mini-rugby’ players are threatening strike action over a bitter pay dispute with the Welsh regions. The players, who between themselves and their relatives are known to swell attendance numbers at some matches by up to 30%, are presently paid naff-all to represent their home-town clubs in matches, 4 minutes each way.
“I am my alcoholic mother’s registered carer, and had to buy my own rugby shirt using all the coppers what I dug up off the alloments using my only toy as a spade,” claimed Tommee Leee (sic) Pritchard, 8, a utility back with Dunvant. “A few quid is all we’re asking for, what with Gran Turismo 2012 coming out soon. And do you know how much a gram of decent smack costs nowadays?”
But the ongoing money squabble belies a deeper struggle for fair conditions and a dignified sense of recognition, according to Mini-Rugby Wales shop steward Adidas Watkins, 9, from Gilfach Goch. “Biased referees, poor pitch markings, having to dodge club mascots and blokes wandering about with garden forks – it’s like being a bloody slave, in a box, covered in smelly cow pats, with nothing but a Playstation1. That’s right, a PlayStation1,” he exclaimed, between hasty palmfuls of Turbo-Gain training supplement. “And what’s with calling it mini-rugby and tha’? I’m a professional athlete, not some big bum with a face painted on it.”
Making the most out of the forthcoming Papal visit, Llanelli Scarlets are to play another touring side when they take on a Vatican team. As the game is on a Wednesday, it still counts as a full Vatican team with caps and everything. Nigel Davies is really excited about this historic game. “This historic game has got me really excited” he explained to our Gwlad reporter. The game is to be staged after a full Catholic mass. There will also be a mass after the game and another quick mass during half time. “Nothing says ‘Centuries of Oppression’ more than a Left of the Loughor / Left Footer clash” pointed out Stephen Jones, who combines playing outside half for Wales with his weekend job of writing about rugby for the London Times. “This organisation has come in for a lot of criticism over the years ranging from worries about finances and a dwindling number of believers to its hardline views on gay rights and women priests, so it should have a lot in common with the Vatican team” stated Jones. And then he got off the bus.
The WRU have hit back at critics of its bold decision to launch the new Wales kit by having Will Carling pictured in it. “Will brings together a lot of what it means to be Welsh. Someone who isn’t French and whose name starts with ‘W’, just like ‘W’ales.” said Roger Lewis to a reporter who you could clearly see was just itching to slap him.
The WRU also got support from Under Armor, the US based kit suppliers. “Gee, you all in Welshashire sure know a GREEE-ATE kit when you see one. YEEE HAH! And doun yer juust love it when the Welshiest colours of them all, blue and silver, are part of the away kit.” said Dwight Fecalmahter III inbetween bites of some grits covered in maple syrup. On rye. Over easy.
A chess game between Aguristan Grand Master Sergei Castleupalof and Meandmymatestan’s Viri Putinski was compared to the 15 a side code, yesterday. “It’s like a real game of rugby out there” stated the commentator the late Bobby Fischer.