The Man Who Fell To Earth

Jeremy Staunton: not only could he have been a contender, he should have been a champion. How Irish rugby failed one of the most talented players of his generation is still beyond me.

The Mole read an anecdote about Jeremy Staunton on a message board about four or five months ago, and it has stuck with him since: an Irish rugby fan was at Welford Road with his English Tigers fan mate for a Premiership game, and Staunton was introduced off the bench relatively early in the match. “Great, Staunton,” the Tigers fans said to his mate, “no more tries.” Continue reading

Murphy Saves Flood Plain

Big moment for Tobes, and he let himself down. The Mole was thinking that the reintroduction of himself, Tuilagi and Lawes would give England a bit of pop in their upcoming showdown against Wales, but you'd be mad now to go with the Leicester fly-half after he didn't make himself known to the bottle-inspectors in the Saffacens vs Tigers endgame.

For all the occasions that sports commentators use hyperbole to describe moments of individual drama, probably less than 1% are truly accurate. However, the game just completed in the English Aviva Premiership contained one of those moments. Continue reading

Heineken Cup Pool 4

IT’S THE GROUP OF DEATH! It’s scarcely credible that this phrase has taken hold in rugby and managed to survive in commentary. It doesn’t have any notable lineage [for example, it’s not old naval slang or public school code], it’s an enormous overstatement – nobody calls failure to qualify from another group a death, so why should this be a ‘group’ of death? – and it’s really quite crass.

It’s the sort of modern over-statement that doesn’t sit well with rugby, where the method of scoring is still called a ‘try’, and you still have positions like tighthead prop and second five-eighth. If rugby were to adopt the sort of language from which GROUP OF DEATH! has managed to cross over, we’d have Right Scrum Masters, Megaboot Generals and VICTORY TOUCHDOWNS! Continue reading