Sunday 25 March 2007
Tuesday 20 March 2007
Monday 19 March 2007
2. Raphael Ibanez (France)
7. Mauro Bergamasco (Italy)
12. Gordon D'Arcy (Ireland)
Sunday 18 March 2007
England went into the tournament with their antique smash it up the middle policy which was horribly exposed by Ireland in Croker following English wins against Scotland and Italy. That being said Ashton seemed to realise this and aided by some convenient injuries, I feel the English team finished the tournament a lot stronger than when they entered it. The return of Mike Catt is a huge boost to the team as is the eventual realisation that Farrell and Tindall are the worst centre pairing in world rugby. They still have a long way to go but with some encouraging talent at 10 in Flood and Geharty (sp?) backed by the ever present monster of a pack England could yet be a force at this years wold cup.
High point - Beating France in Twickers, and the rise of Geharty, a ray of light
Low point - Being thumped by a record score in Croke park by Ireland
Wales were an absolute shambles and they have no excuse for it. They can point to some strange refereeing decisions that went against them sure, but that's just the nature of the game. The fact is they were outplayed by everybody which was disappointing to see from a team that had somehow won the grand slam two years ago. Back to full strength and under a new coach I think everyone was expecting Wales to deliver and they just fell spectacularly on their faces. An embarrassment to be honest. The emergence of Hook at out-half is probably the only positive to be drawn from an otherwise dismal six nations.
High point - .....probably the first 20 minutes or so against France
Low point - take your pick of pretty much the entire championship
Scotland, poor poor Scotland. Undermanned and outgunned. They were pretty much bullied and beat around the park for 80 minutes by France, England and Ireland, walloped a poor Welsh side and suffered a severe bout of madness during the first 5 minutes of the Italian conquest of Murrayfield which cost them the game. Occasionally impressive but consistently dire, Scotland are in desperate need of a fully fit pack and a competent leader at out-half. No questioning their commitment and their solid defence but in a world cup group that contains New Zealand, Italy and Fiji, Scotland are gonna have to unearth some kind of try scoring ability from somewhere. As accurate a goalkicker as Paterson is, its not gonna mean much when it starts to rain tries against the All Blacks.
High point - I'd say the few minutes they led Ireland in Edinburgh...
Low point - the opening 5 minutes against Italy, 21 points conceded and game over
Italia, Italia, Italia. In a year when football in Italy has been embroiled in scandal and shunned somewhat by the Italian public, rugby has been given a rare chance in the spotlight. And ze Azurri have seized the opportunity and recorded their first ever back to back wins in the six nations over Scotland and Wales. They may have been thumped by France and England in their opening games but to bounce back and then win two matches was an incredible achievement for such a young rugby nation. There is talent in the Italian team in droves, the pack as a whole could quite easily be considered the best in Europe and the backs are beginning to show real skill now as well under the tutelage of coach Berbezier (sp?). Expect them to give Scotland a shock in the world cup
High point - Full-time against Wales, two wins, Italy establish themselves as a European power
Low point - The France game
France were France. Annoyingly unpredictable bastards that could be brilliant one moment and terrible the next. Fresh talent seems to just come completely out of the blue in France with new-half backs Skrela, Mignoni and Beauxais all playing well. The French pack were as solid as ever and their backs sometimes sublime, sometimes all at sea. Laporte needs to figure out how to get his team to play for longer than 40 minutes, the French team have a tendency to turn off at inopportune moments, a problem they need to rectify.
High point - That ridiculous last minute win in Croke Park
Low point - losing to England....
Ireland are top of their group following a tie with Zimbabwe and then a frankly historic, imo, victory over Pakistan. Next up is the West Indies, piece of cake, Brian Lara's gonna rue the day he ever played the Irish.
Also England got hockeyed by New Zealand, losing their opening game in hilariously embarrassing circumstances by six wickets. The result puts them bottom of their group behind CANADA!! Which is something I find outrageously humerous
Saturday 17 March 2007
Thursday 15 March 2007
This is gonna be awesome, screw the parade, Ireland may actually win the six nations for once. On a day that features all three of the last round matches Ireland open proceedings at the stadio Flamino against an Italian side on a bit of a high following their first back to back victories in the six nations, sorry the first time they've managed to win two games in the six nations full-stop. Despite losing our wee talisman Paul O'Connel to injury to be replaced by the donkey that is Mick O'Driscoll the Irish should have no difficulty in dispatching an albeit confident Italian side. Then again I thought the exact same thing about the Scottish game... but the Italians have lost Mauro Bergamasco and Canale to a citing order and injury respectively and in a team devoid of depth in every position bar the front row for some reason, that's a huge blow for ze Azzurri. On an ideal day Ireland turn up determined to thump the Italians after that shocker in Murrayfield and Italy disintegrate without Bergamasco as we put up 50 points on them and win the tournament. Worst case scenario... well technically Italy can still win the whole six nations....
The second game on the bill is France versus Scotland in Paris... I really don't think anything short of divine intervention is gonna stop the French from racking up a cricket score against this beleaguered Scottish team. Yes, plucky Scotland drove Ireland close but with fairness it was more because we chose, for some insane reason, to lower ourselves to Scotland's standards. The Irish midfield exposed their backline badly at times, seemingly scything through at ease whenever they felt like it. Whereas we didn't finish them off, France are going to be ruthless. Losing to England, the joke team of this six nations, would've hurt that French pride so I'm expecting a backlash against Scotland. Being in Paris, I predict a massacre... but I'm hoping I'm wrong and Scotland do their trick of kicking penalties and somehow boring the French team into submission. I have a feeling that unless Ireland set the bar hilariously high by walloping Italy by 50+ points the six nations will yet again belong to the damn frogs.
The last game of the tournament is Wales against England in Cardiff. By the final whistle in the other two games this could well be just a formality. England, presuming Ireland and France both win, need both of their tournament rivals to win by only three or four points for them to even have a chance of clinching the championship in Wales. That being said they'd still need to win by 40/50 points against the Welsh to then win the tournament on points difference which I really don't see happening. The English are sticking with the same pack that beat the French and have made two changes to their backline, Cueto comes in for Lewsey at full-back and Tait comes in for the injured Tindall at outside centre. Despite the resurgence England seemed to show against France this match is still gonna be very tight. The Welsh'll be determined to go out with at least one win, and they're obviously not gonna want to lose to England in Cardiff. The English are looking to re-establish themselves as potential world cup contenders and will be looking to make an example out of a floundering Welsh team, who are staring the wooden spoon in the face.
Friday 9 March 2007
Wednesday 7 March 2007
Joey Porter (LB) - Pittsburgh Steelers (taken by Dolphins)
Jamal Lewis (RB) - Baltimore Ravens (taken by the CLEVELAND BROWNS!!!!?? what the fuck...)
Patrick Kerney (DE) - Atlanta Falcons (taken by Seahawks)
Drew Bledsoe (QB) - Dallas Cowboys
Joe Horn (WR) - New Orleans Saints
Brad Johnson (QB) - Minnesotta Vikings
Aaron Brooks (QB) - Oakland Raiders
Jeff Garcia (QB) - Philadelphia Eagles (taken by Bucs)
Corey Dillon (RB) - New England Patriots
Ovie Mughelli (FB) - Baltimore Ravens (who has been picked up by Atlanta NOOOOO)
Adalius Thomas (LB) - Baltimore Ravens (taken by Patriots)
Martin Gramatica (K) - Dallas Cowboys
Jake Plummer (QB) - Denver Broncos (taken by Bucs)
Ahman Green (RB) - Green Bay Packers
Jeremy Stevens (TE) - Seattle Seahawks
Thomas Jones (RB) - Chicago Bears (taken by NY Jets)
Travis Henry (RB) - Tennesse Titans (taken by Broncos)
Those are the biggest names to come out of the pile of duds that were cut at the beginning of the off-season. Don't get me wrong, most of these guys were cut for a good reason but they'd still be a valuable addition to any of the more beleaguered teams in the NFL like the Oakland Raiders... eh Al? The Oakland Raiders ye? They didn't have a very good year old Oakland, not a good year for Raider nation at all
Been some pretty big moves so far, the Bucs seem to be going for a monopoly on free agent QBs signing both Plummer and Garcia, soooo unneccessary. Chicago letting Jones go was a surprise, and he goes to NY to replace an aging Curtis Martin who'll in all probability retire. Defensive end Patrick Kerney is a biiiiiig signing for an already impressive Seattle defensive unit and being a large anti-Seahawks kinda guy, I am not amused by this development, not amused in the slightest. More worrying for me is the fact that the Ravens are leaking players left right and centre. Baltimore have lost a Pro-Bowl LB Thomas and their starting FB Mughelli (who was an absolute revelation last season). I'm just hoping no other team notices that Jamal Lewis is still on the market anytime soon.... (7/3/07 - 9:00 am)
Jamal Lewis has been picked up by the Cleveland Browns... dammit (8/2/07 - 7:03 am)
Tuesday 6 March 2007
http://www.iafs.co.uk/ - Flag football forum
"Darkness there, and nothing more.."
A first round pick out of the university of Miami, Ray Lewis has been playing professionally in the NfL for eleven seasons. In that time he has established himself and the defence around him in at the Baltimore Ravens as the most feared and respected unit in the league. Lewis' aggression, bravery and commitment to the game have marked him out as one of the all-time greats in the NFL. Supporting his inspiring attitude as a player are the myriad of awards and impressive stats that speak for themselves. Lewis has amassed 1389 solo tackles in his 11 year career (1838 total), has forced eight fumbles, recovered twelve, has 23 interceptions, 28 sacks and has deflected 79 passes in 148 games. His consistantly large numbers and even larger attitude (he has become famous for the dance he sometime puts on during the team introductions) have seen him selected for eight Pro Bowls, he wasn't selected in his rookie season and has missed two seasons through injury. He has been awarded defenive player of the year twice, one the few who have managed such a feat, and has led the entire league in tackles 4 times (97,99,01 and 03). In 2001 he led the Baltimore Ravens to their first superbowl and won game MVP en route, the only linebacker to have won the award since 1971. A true giant of the game, the day the dance comes to an end will be a black day in Baltimore.
Saturday 3 March 2007
Gareth Rees over any other Canuck contact I may have (I anyone can get me a job coaching in Canada this summer its my good friend Gareth)