Dipping my toe in the RWC Pools

It’s been labelled the Rugby World Cup’s (RWC) “Pool of Death”. So far as pools go, it’s not one you would choose. Probably even less than a pool with no shallow end, that someone has taken a piss in and has a couple of floaters bobbing up and down in the water. England got their campaign off to a solid, if nervous start against Fiji, winning 35-11. But a win is a win. New Zealand (NZ) blew Italy off the Marseille pitch in their first game in the 2007 RWC, winning 76-14. By contrast, they struggled a little in eventually beating Tonga 41-10 in their first game in 2011. If you manage to enjoy the company of a young lady after a night out, does it really matter at that point what your opening line was? Pool A is like a four-man battle royal; four men enter (Australia, England, Fiji and Wales), only two make it out alive. So who will those two be? Read more >>

Locking up the All Blacks RWC squad

Congratulations Ben Franks. You Sir are the biggest winner from an All Black perspective of World Rugby’s (formerly the IRB) decision to allow the expansion of Rugby World Cup (RWC) playing squads from 30 (as they have been since 1999) to 31. Ostensibly the change is to allow teams to select an extra prop, much as teams are now required to carry at least one loosehead and one tighthead prop on the bench. Without this change, the All Blacks would probably take four props (as they have done in every RWC since 1999) to the 2015 RWC in England which might have seen Franks miss out. However, as fascinating as props invariably are, I actually think the infinitely more exciting lock position is the key one in the All Blacks team for RWC 2015, to be officially announced Sunday (NZ time). Read more >>

The Sad Saga of Lukey Mac

A rugby career that had the potential to eventually be remembered as a great one instead came to a rather sudden and inauspicious end recently, with Luke McAlister and the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) eventually coming to an agreement to terminate the remainder of his contract; thus allowing the former All Black to link up with his new club, Toulouse, more or less in time for the start of the new French season. Fair enough I guess, many a former All Black heads to Europe to earn some pounds or euros at the tail end of his career. But with McAlister it all could have all been so different. Read more >>