Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Danny Cipriani: England boss Stuart Lancaster explains fly-half decision ahead of Six Nations

Few can begrudge Danny Cipriani his recall to the England squad for the 6 Nations. Here, England head coach Stuart Lancaster explains his reasons for picking the Sale fly-half:

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Censorship, Charlie Hebdo and the Uses and Abuses of Social Media

Ok, this is hugely off-topic, but I thought I'd briefly use this blog to wear my other hat and publicise my thinking on the Charlie Hebdo killings and freedom of expression. Important stuff, after all.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sam Burgess wordcloud - is the League convert referred to excessively in match reports?

Is Rugby League convert Sam Burgess over-hyped in match reports following his switch to Union? Here's a wordcloud I've done following his full Premiership debut against Leicester Tigers on Sunday. It is based on online reports by the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Independent, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Leicester Mercury, Bath Chronicle, BBC. Click on the cloud below, draw your own conclusions and let me know your thoughts.

Wordle: Leicester vs Bath match reports 4.1.15

Seven rugby predictions for 2015

  1. Sam Burgess makes his debut for England against Italy in the Six Nations – at scrum-half. England boss Stuart Lancaster explains: “Bath and England couldn’t decide whether we wanted to play him at 6 or 12 so we met each other half way.”
  2. Gloucester win at home.
  3. After seeing attendances rise three-fold since moving from High Wycombe to Coventry, Wasps decide to relocate again – to Darlington. “As we head further north we seem to be attracting bigger and bigger crowds,” says chief executive Nick Eastwood. “If things go well in Darlington we’re thinking to heading to Reykjavik."
  4. Leicester boss Richard Cockerill announces he has had enough of rugby and is taking monastic vows; he will head to Italy to join an order of Trappist monks high up in the Appenines. He will brew ale and tend to the bees. He invites former Leicester prop, Toulon potty-mouth and hairstyle icon Martin Castrogiovanni to join him. “Castro and I can have it out over that beer that I mentioned,” he says in a final interview with the Leicester Mercury. “But we won’t be able to say anything to one another because of the vows – which is probably a good job.
  5. Castrogiovanni is furious. “Cockers cannot leave it alone,” he tells the press in a fruity post-match monologue. “Look at these locks. They are things of beauty. Do you think I’d have them cut off just so I could join him in holy orders? He is what you call in English an **** ******* ***."
  6. Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett all go down with mysterious stomach gripes on the eve of the final of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. A call goes out to Stephen Donald, who is out fishing for rare shrimp in the Japanese Sea, nailing a few bevvies. Donald gets on the next flight to Heathrow and slots the decisive drop goal against England – overhead.
  7. Dylan Hartley announces his conversion to Buddhism and a lifetime’s commitment to passive resistance.