Real Rugby Nuts

Good thumpings all round

Posted in My Week In A Nutshell by therugbynut on September 22, 2006

Last weekend, we were up against a Boston fifteen, who were of similar
stature to us, but had an average age about ten years less than us! What a
game though, the ref, one of our lads, was a bit hung-over and as is usual
when one of yours refs the game, he gave a lot to the oppo.

Well a total of 11 tries were scored in the game, first half we played up the hill with the wind in our face and were all square at 12 points a piece at half time. Tough game, they has two speedsters the right wing and full back, quite cocky, but good. We were playing two vets at centre, one a fly half and one a winger and we all struggled with the pace.

The second half opened up and they scored five unanswered tries in quick succession through their speedsters. Managed to split my head open, whilst the 5th one was being scored. We then started to trundle and play our game, pull the people in, then using the lineouts and scrums to win the ball, our support play improved. We had to sub one of our flankers, so I moved out to flank and a replacement hooker came on. We scored a couple of goods tries, they scored one in between and we ended on a high. The game was closer than the score suggested at 48-29, had a couple of differences of opinion as well, it was great to feel like we were back in the groove.

Next week St Ives, bring it on.

Well week 3 of the Premiership and Women’s World Cup to boot. The English women were very unlucky, New Zealand are the world champions and have been for a long time, but England pushed them all the way and only a breakaway try at the end when England were pushing for a score, flattered the scoreboard. But good game, these girls can show some of us lower league players a thing or two.

Back to the main action, accusations of racism in the Northampton game lead to the game being halted – rumour mill has it a tall English wing got rather frustrated with a coloured player not giving him the ball quick enough! Saints eventually won the game against Bath. As expected Sale beat Worcester on Friday, Gloucester drew at Leicester, who just aren’t firing at the moment, Bristol beat London Irish, Sarries thumped the Falcons and Wasps thumped Harlequins.

So the table after three weeks, sees three undefeated teams in Wasps (3 out of 3 wins) Gloucester and Bristol, whilst Worcester and Harlequins prop up the table with no wins.

Let’s hope these close games continue.


What a Hiding

Posted in My Week In A Nutshell by therugbynut on September 8, 2006

Well the predicted drubbing was received, funny that when you pit a 1st against a 2nd team. Really tedious for us older ones, funny thing was that it was pretty much the same team that we played three times last year in guises such as 2nd and Vets.

We were 36-0 down, when the game was abandoned with 16 minutes left due to broken glass being found on the ground. Unfortunately I had to leave the field injured in the first half due to a hand injury, when I had gone up for the ball at kick off and it jerked my finger right back, couldn’t grip either of my props, who are quite big lads!

So at least we haven’t lost yet!

Anyway managed to watch the entire Premiership highlights and the last Tri-Nations game. South Africa looked to be on a mini-roll, although it was a dead rubber, look out
England in the autumn internationals, the so-called whipping boys look back to form.

The Premiership looks great for this season though, I know it was only the first game of the season, the standard was awesome, although I did see an opposition hooker get one against the head, now that is rare in this day and age. Mind you I got a couple on Saturday, but at their level you don’t expect it.

I love the fact that the games this last weekend have been so close, that can only be good for the Premiership, you cannot predict who is going to win. Irish, Saints & Wasps squeezed out Quins, Falcons & Sarries respectively, Bristol thrashed Worcester, Leicester were comfortable winners over Sale and Gloucester edged it against
Bath. What a weekend, welcome back guys.

Off to the Burghley Horse Trails this weekend, normally it is in August, so won’t be playing this weekend.

Start of the Season

Posted in My Week In A Nutshell by therugbynut on August 29, 2006

Well got back to training last night, wow been out of the loop for three weeks and felt it. Too much comfort eating and drinking has definitely taken its toll. I was out of breath walking up Broad Street today and have got to start getting back to my new normal.

Training last night, we had about 30 people down, so after the obligatory run round the pitch and stretches, we got down to some good old fashioned sevens rugby with 15 a side. 5 man scrums and no line outs, a lot of running and tackling, that was tiring. Wow the nights are starting to draw in as well, it was getting dark about 8.30.

Now the great news, rugby really starts this weekend, first at 3pm Saturday we play Deeping 1sts, not so good as they have just recruited half of Peterborough firsts, so we are likely to be dicked. Oh well, it will be good to get back onto the pitch. About the same time, we have Kiwi vs Boks, part 2 and then……..

the Guiness Premiership kicks off, Saracens v Wasps, London Irish v Harlequins, Gloucester v Bath & Worcester v Bristol. Then on Sunday, we have 300 minis descend on the club, followed by the VPs (Old Farts) lunch and then Leicester v Sale and Northampton v Newcastle.

What more can you want and a few beers Saturday night as it is Chris’ birthday drink. I love it, the season has started!

ps – results from the Oundle 10s Vet Tournaments, we beat Westwood 7-0 in the first game, drew 0-0 with Stewart & Lloyd (the eventual winners), lost to March and Oundle. That got us into the plate final, where we lost to Oundle as a result of two interceptions. No real surprise as we came with 1 back and 14 forwards, fantastic defensively, we lacked a cutting edge.

Kiwi power over Boks

Posted in Tri Nations by therugbynut on August 27, 2006

Yet again the Kiwis rolled over South Africa, but with a second string side.

Comprehensive 45-26 win, the Tri Nations was wrapped up anyway, so they rested 11players. They started off very sluggishly, probably as a result of the team changes, and were 11-3 down after 10 minutes after some unforced errors from the Kiwis allowing de Preez to score . As usual they rallied back and in a twelve minute spell scored three tries through McAlister, Sivivatu & Muliaina. Carter was his usual perfect self, when he can be bothered to play, kicking 7 out of 8 conversions and a 61 metre penalty. The remaining tries came through Tialata and Gear.

South Africa scored two late tries via Jacque Fourie and are bottom of the table with 1 point.

Few injuries this time, that could make the test Saturday quite interesting, in particular both Kiwi props could be out.

Autumn internationals amongst England, New Zealand and South Africa should be cracking. Pretty obvious that New Zealand will steam roller England unless something earth shattering should happen. That leaves two very interesting games between England and South Africa, who to be honest are probably not that unevenly matched. I have tickets for the second game on the 25th November and will be taking my son Harry to his first live game – I can’t wait!

My Dad

Posted in Dad by therugbynut on August 19, 2006

Last two weeks, wow, what a roller coaster that I have experienced over the last two weeks. Good intentions as usual, went training on Tuesday night. It was an evening of 10 aside rugby with penalties as follows: –

Every knock on, score against you or forward pass     5 press ups

Every time ball not set properly                              3 press ups

We have the Oundle 30 year sevens and vets 10 tournament going on the weekend of 19/20th August, so plenty of practice needed. Picked three new players off Oundle as well, so they will be happy to see us!   Next split into groups of threes, around a circuit of press ups, squat thrusts, burpis (is this how you spell it), shuttle runs, tackle practice and hopping over tackle bags (don’t ask). Got through a minute at each station, but at least this was beat running down to the meadows and then all the work that we did then.  Back to 10-aside again, bit of clickiness among the first teamers again, but us Vets aren’t that worried, we know we will eventually get the ball. Came off the pitch about 9pm, two hours later, pretty knackered.  Committee meeting at 9pm! I don’t know who thought up this, but I am the Club Secretary elect (election next month) and train and the Coach is the Club President, so knackered to start with. We started as Steve, Club President, appeared to be detained in the changing rooms; he actually forgot and didn’t turn up, although he just assumed that someone had left the lights on in the club house. Oh well, just meant we finished about 10pm, instead of 11pm when Steve is there.  

Well didn’t have a great night’s sleep and was up as usual Wednesday morning at 5am, Mum called at 6am, Dad had collapsed in Hospital and she was on her way in with my sister, she would call me as soon as they got there.  The moment I thought would never come happened at 6.50am on Wednesday 9th August 2006, my sister called ‘Rich, I am really sorry to have to tell you this, but Dad is dead’, in that brief moment, my world stopped and I didn’t know what to do. I just got in my car and drove to pick up my brother-in-law and then off to the Hospital, when I saw Dad in the Chapel of Rest, it just wasn’t him and I cried like never before.   No training since then, just remembered to tape the Middlesex sevens.  One of my fondest memories of my Dad was him coming to watch me play rugby when I was at Sunningdale School. He would turn up, whenever he could get over from Singapore, in whatever weather conditions, and shout encouragement from the sidelines, normally with a couple of other parents. After the game, Dad would open up the boot of the Daimler and there would be bags of mini Mars Bars, Snickers and Marathons for us boys to eat. One of the mums used to bring soft drinks, wow we had great times then. I remember when I moved up to play club rugby at Marlow, he would come to watch me play and we would go for a beer together. Over the last couple of years, he kept berating me telling me that I was too old to play, my usual retort was that the 1st XV props were age 49 & 50, so I still had a few years to go!  Dad was 76 years old when he passed away in his sleep after a miserable last 6 years during which he had lost his leg below his knee and become dependent upon my Mother, very hard for a man, who was completely independent.

His funeral was 18th August 2006, a beautiful Humanist service, with my brother, sister and I all telling stories of my dad and people laughing out loud in the Chapel. He would have liked that bit, but he hated funerals and when we got up to speak, he thundered loudly from the sky.

Love you Dad, you were my rock, I will tell stories when I remember them here.

All Blacks Tri Nations Champions

Posted in Tri Nations by therugbynut on August 19, 2006

Another fantastic Tri-Nations game, glad to have it back on the box after the Premiership Sevens last week! 34-27 win to
New Zealand.

Australia took a good lead into the second half of this game after excellent tries by Loti Tuqiri and Rocky Elsom, although Jason Eaton did reply for the All Blacks. 2 penalties a piece from Mortlock and Carter meant that the Aussies were 20-11 up at half time. There were a few dubious tackles on Richie McCaw by both Tuqiri and Phil Waugh, in fact Tuqiri’s was very close to a spearing, but McCaw was uninjured.

The second half Australia tackled hard, but couldn’t get out of their own half and tactically didn’t play their own game and ended up matching the All Blacks, a game which only the All Blacks can win. Two penalties from Dan Carter brought the score back to 17-20 and the momentum was all with
New Zealand.

An excellently worked moved stretched the Aussies across the pitch from a well worked line out, the ball going straight down the line and the Aussies numbered up to stop Rokococo, the ball went out to Chris Jack on the wing and he ran through unchallenged to score. Although the Aussies had matched the All Blacks with their backs, no one seemed to pick up that Chris Jones was out on the opposite wing.

Then, an attack from the Aussies out of their own 22, seemed to be going somewhere when Carter came in, tackled Stephen Larkham and Larkham’s lost the ball in the tackle straight into Luke McAllister’s hands, who ran into the corner and Carter converted again.

Nathan Sharpe went up for one line-out in the second half, caught the ball, but was completely unsupported by his lifters and went crashing to the ground, luckily he wasn’t injured, but I have seen many a serious injury from such an event.

Back came the Aussies, a great little kick by Matt Giteau, chase by Tuquiri, who completely outpaced the New Zealand back line, tackled about 5 yards from the line, he rolled over and with his immense strength, slammed the ball over the line. Mortlock converted.

Aussies back in control, then a kick into the New Zealand half picked up by MacDonald, was run back, Chris Jack running up to the try line, Phil Waugh cynically took out Ali Williams, holding him back by his shirt and was immediately sinned binned. The resulting penalty was kicked over by Carter and final result was a 34-27 win to the All Blacks.

Lucky Aussies

Posted in Tri Nations by therugbynut on August 5, 2006

What a poor first half – I have never see a half of such poor reffing, kicking and general all round rugby skills as that. As this is the professional age, what a shower. Talk about boring the pants of you with a poor display, even the try was from a sliced kick that bounced between the two Boks attacking players and Mark Gerard stole in to nick it and sprint to the try line, but that was all the excitement there was. The Aussie line-outs seemed out of sorts.

Guess Messrs Connolly and White fired a few rockets in the half time talk as out came the two teams and at least the game became more interesting. First Butch White kicks over a penalty, then Butch kicks another 3 points, 10-6 to the Aussies. The Boks score again, a try this time through Jaque Fourie and take the lead. Then Gerrard fumbles an absolute sitter and fails to score.

Mortlock scores a quick 3 point and we are level at 13 all. Montgomery, who had a very poor first half, weaves some magic and gets bundled over the line and teh ref (through the touch judge) awards the try. 18-13 to South Africa and we have 12 minutes left to play. Nail bitter if there ever was one, Mortlock fails with a penalty kick, South Africa can taste the points of a win at the Telstra Dome….

No one told Phil Waugh making his 50th appearance, makes some space and shows a great turn of pace and a great pass out of the tackle and there is our old mate Mat Rogers, who races off to score in the corner. 18 all and Mortlock to take the kick, which flies through teh air drfiting in and out and hitting the post arriving between the sticks and sealing a 20-18 win with 4 minutes left.

Last ditch effort by South Africa, but the Juan Smith’s pass goes straight into touch and the hooter sounds. George Gregan spouts something about the team never giving up belief, but truth is the South Africans suffered from lack of numbers around the park all game. You cannot deal with a team like Australia when only one player, two at best, is at the breakdowns.

Oh well, three home games to come, you never know they may pull it around.

Sky – what a pain

Posted in Frustrations by therugbynut on August 5, 2006

Well I dared to take two weeks off holiday with my son. Great trip to the Dolomites in Italy, we mountain biked (barely mind you, have you see the size of the mountains), hiked, canyoned, rafted and, if I had my way, would have para-glided as well. If anyone wants an active holiday like this, give me a shout and I can give you a great recommendation. I am knackered and looking forward to watching rugby!

So I get back off a two week break ready to watch the last two Tri-Nations games (I knew the scores anyway and am picking up my bets this Saturday – bet for beer, so should be a cheap night) and Sky went and waffled for too long, so my tape ran out. Looks like serious investment time, Sky+, if I am to make sure that I don’t miss out again.

Back to a full week of Rugby this week (remember beginning of the week is a Saturday), Australia v South Africa at the Telstra Dome, can’t see South Africa turning things around like they did two years ago and winning the Tri-Nations. So money definitely on Australia, but that said I never expected the Aussies to be that close to the All Blacks in their last game. All Blacks remind me of England at the last World Cup, strong defence (weather the storm mentality) followed by swift counter attacking. Anyway rest of the week is Training Tuesday, Committee meeting after training and training Thursday again!

Catch you after the game today.

Tight Win for the All Blacks

Posted in Tri Nations by therugbynut on July 8, 2006

What a cracking opener for the Tri-Nations.

Early missed penalties from Carter and Mortlock. Early sustained pressure by New Zealand, but they are unable to convert this into points.

Then a bit of Chris Latham magic, he took Carter’s long kick from the 22 and came back, chipped the ball ahead and picked up his own kick. Great support form Matt Rogers and an easy try for Tuqiri, converted by Mortlock.

Excellent moment at the fourth scrum, from ref , ‘Can you guys stop playing silly buggers’, you mean it applies at their level as well as ours!

All Blacks were absolutely dominant in the scrum, the susceptibility seen in the early game agianst England were exposed again.

Rocky Elsom sinned bin for almost the last 10 minutes of the first half, the Aussies were made to pay immediately. They were exposed in the line out and Keven Mealamu, who I personally admire, stole through to score and Dan, The Man, Carter third time lucky got it through the uprights.

Then good old fashioned graft and grunt by the All Blacks, Mealamu vaults over some prostrate Aussies and scores his second try, Carter bangs it over again. 14-7 to the All Blacks. (Looks like they have gotten over the ‘Handbag’ incident).

First blood to the All Blacks in the second half, a Carter penalty, after a jinking Leon MacDonald run after sustaining a lot of Aussie pressure. Suddenly a huge break by Major and the All Blacks looked to have scored when Larkham knees have trapped the ball. Bizarrely the try is awarded, McCaw score, not sure he was aware that he had scored. Carter converts.

Suddenly the Aussies score, Scott Fava, through a non contested line-out by the All Blacks, that the Aussies drove on. As McCaw and co waited for the attack from the fringes of the ruck, Scott picked up the ball and squeezed it into the hole that had already been punched through. Mortlock misses the conversion.

Another silly penalty and Carter slots another three points, George Smith penalised – he’s had a quiet game.

The Wallabies suddenly seem to have gained control over the game and all the All Blacks are doing is defending and looking for the counter attack.

Moment that made me smile – Jack passes the ball out, Collins misses it thinks it goes into touch, McCaw has actually caught it, Collins has stopped running and then realises it’s still going on ahead of him. Then beautiful cross kick by Carter, knocked down by Ali Williams (on for Jason Eaton, who has had an enormous game) and Rico Gear just couldn’t catch it with the line at his mercy. But Smith should have scored for the Wallabies at the other end, just a minute before.

Wallabies are definitely not out of this match. All Blacks offside, collapsing mauls, but Wallabies just can’t break through…..All Blacks charge down a Larkham kick for the corner, Carter again and catches it and passes to, Toeava 60 m run and touches it down. This is heartbreaking stuff for the Wallabies. Bonus point for the try and then Carter’s kick bounces off the uprights.

That’s it. Great first half All Blacks in the ascendency, second half really scrappy – end to end stuff with some periods of heavy pressure taht the All Blacks just absorbed. (bit like England when the won the World Cup)

Man of the Match for my money – Keven Mealamu.

Pumas Roast a NZ Lamb

Posted in Internationals by therugbynut on June 25, 2006

Daniel Carter was back, but this wasn’t his day 4 missed kicks at goal and a missed dropped goal, luckily his counterpart had an off day as well.

At halftime, you felt a shock was on your hands, All Blacks 15-16 down in a one-off test in Argentina, could the Pumas carry out what no Northern Hemisphere team could and beat them. This was completely different team from the one the Irish had come close to beating.

Teh All Blacks sustained a torrid second half backlash from the Pumas, especially in the final ten minutes, when they only had 14 players on the pitch as MacDonald had been yellow carded. Silly boy!

The All Blacks won the try count 3-1, but there were enough worrying signs for Henry. A team of Argentina’s ability should not come close to beating a future World Champion and maybe this is the wake up call they needed.

Tries came from MacDonald, Carter and Hamilton, with Argentina’s first half try ming from Durand, converted by Todeschini, who scored the Pumas other points.

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