Tuesday, 8 September 2020
Tuesday, 25 August 2020
Thursday, 20 August 2020
Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Friday, 15 May 2015
Welcome to a can of worms and I'm now going to slowly and gently open it.
There has been a smidgen written in the press regarding English players playing abroad, hello Mr Armitage and Mr Abendanon, the debate is a lengthy little show and is endlessly rolling on. Rules state you play in England to play for England, it's simple but effective and aimed at protecting the Premiership from Players fleeing to sunnier climes and reaping some extra cash. We would love to see the best home players playing in England, so if a player chooses cash over country that's their decision to make but understand the consequences.
Blah blah blah we've gone over it a million times so let's move on to a different side of the eligibility argument.......the residency rules!
Before everyone jumps, I know it's not the RFU's ruling it comes from the hands of World Rugby, but it doesn't mean the RFU have to use it in their selections.
"Subject to Regulation 8.2, a Player may only play for the senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team, the next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team and the senior National Representative Sevens Team of the Union of the country in which:
(a) he was born; or
(b) one parent or grandparent was born; or
(c) he has completed thirty six consecutive months of Residence immediately preceding the time of playing."
Live in the country for 3 years or more, play for no other nation previously and boom you're now English!
The RFU say they want to protect English teams and talent by keeping the players in England, then pick a player who has come from another nation to play rugby here, anybody get an air of hypocrisy from the RFU?
Please don't panic and believe I've gone all Farage-like, I am not completely against the whole concept. I believe it's something that needs to be looked into, 3 years just isn't enough. If you have emigrated to England and had education here that is a step it the right direction or Lived here for more than five years, only 2 years longer but shows a different level of commitment.
Nathan Hughes is one of the most recent player who has shown as interest in donning the red Rose and turn his back on his native Fiji. Why defect away from your own nation? Where is the pride? Born and raised in a country yet a more notable nation becomes a better option of success and jumps on that bandwagon.
The same could be thrown in the direction of Rokoduguni, another Fijian who has joined the ranks of exile English rugby players. There is a little difference with Roko as he's currently serving in the British army even doing a stint out in Afghanistan. Bath picked him up while he was representing the Army at rugby and has since represented England.
Both are ultimately taking the same option but different stories behind their choice, yet one seems a more justified reason. This is evidence that there are flaws and loopholes in the system.
Hendre Fourie is a prime example how the 3 year ruling doesn't work, came to teach eventually left after UKBA threatened to deport him. A farce in its self, he was eligible to play for England yet unfortunately had to retire due to injury before gaining citizenship. Eventually he was granted permission to stay but he returned to South Africa with his wife and (English born) daughter.
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Bath have had some cracking performances this season against Tiger's and Sarries, some shaky games with a spirited come back and then Glasgow Warriors (less said about that the better). In their latest outing they may of lost to Toulouse, Bath never stopped fighting despite injury issues, the 16th man of the Rec definitely playing it's part.
Amongst the indifferent games Bath have had there has been some scintillating rugby played and a handful of players are reaping their rewards for it. Bath are seeing a season where promising talent is finally living up to their potential, and rightly getting to sport the Red Rose of England.
Making the first draft into the England camp, with an additional selection made on Sunday including another two Bath players-
Adding that to Agulla (Argentina) and James (Wales) who are also on international duties Bath lose 11 players during the Autumn internationals.
01 Nov - 15:00 London Welsh (H)
08 Nov - 16:30 Exeter (A)
15 Nov - 17:00 Newcastle (H)
22 Nov - 15:00 London Irish (A)
28 Nov - 19:45 Harlequins (H)
It is great for the players and for the club to gain such recognition in which they are to be truly commended for it, but it does leave a sizable gap in the Bath Ranks.
Bath are already missing Fearns, Garvey, Louw and Fa'osiliva due to injury and Houston on a suspension Bath certainly have a very depleted squad.
Hopefully for Bath their depth in squad will be able to fill some voids, but a tough few weeks could be ahead for the boys in Blue, Black and White.
In fairness Bath and other teams have capitalised on other sides such as Northampton, Saracens, Tigers and Harlequins who in the past have been hammered with international duties. Now it's Bath's turn lets see how they handle the pressure.
Fan's will always hope to see their nation win over all else, but always have a second eye on their chosen club. The Autumn internationals can be a major disruption to some teams as it runs along side the normal rugby season, potentially it can be damaging to their campaign but players playing against some of the biggest teams in the world will certainly aid their development.
It will be hard for Bath but it's a hurdle they have to overcome and time for the other players to stand up and be counted, as has been shown by the young and talented Charlie Ewels.
With injuries in the back row the second row teenager stepped up and earned his first starting debut against Toulouse, off the back of his performance is now tipped to captain Bath against London Welsh in the LV=Cup this weekend.
With such depth in the squad Bath could scrape though unscathed during the international period, but it will be a true test of the club!
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
As a bit of a traditionalist I've always loved the way that rugby has been a sport for players of all sizes and ability.
You had the big bulky guys as props, the little hard nuts as the hooker, the big fearless back rowers, tall lofty second rows and Terrier like nippy scrum halves. Whereas your backs were the less physical but had pace and ability to run and avoid tackles with their jinking feet, stick the guys who can run like a whippet on the wing and the guy who can get a good hard tackle but still packing a bit of pace in at full back.
Obviously with most sports there comes evolution, rugby is possibly the biggest example of this since turning professional. Rugby is their job, therefore they need to be the best they can. Fitness, strength and skills now are imperative, these guys are now machines.
One man who turned rugby on its head and potentially the most evolutionary player in rugby was the "man mountain" Jonah Lomu. A 19st 6'5" tank that can move like faecal matter off of shovel. Suddenly everyone looked up and noticed that the big guys weren't just forwards but can serve a purpose in the backs, eventually leading to the "crash ball" backs.
Bath this season appear to be going against the trend a little (until the arrival of Burgess, whenever that will be) with much success. Almost a return to old school rugby.
Predominantly a back line of Cook/Stringer, Ford, Eastmond, Joseph, Rokoduguni, Woodburn/Watson and Henson/Arscott we've seen a return to some scintillating running rugby from Bath.
There has been a few cameos from Banahan, and as much as I rate him as a ball carrier, he's possibly been the least effective of Bath's Backs. Would Burgess realistically bring much more dynamism to Bath's backs? possibly not, would he make an effective back row ball carrier? Definitely! For me I believe Mike Ford's original diagnosis for him to play on the flank or at no8 would make sense.
Many pundits and ex-player's have stated there isn't a better centre partnership in the Premiership this season than Eastmond and Joseph, their link up work is phenomenal. It's another dimension that Bath have brought back to rugby, teams have learnt how to tackle the "bash" boys in the backs and how to close them out of the game, the step and pace has become as issue to tie down.
Kyle Eastmond being awarded Aviva Premiership player and try of the month for September shows a player of that ability can have more impact in the game. Using the forwards as the impact players linking up with the backs is being performed well at Bath, it also helps having the standard of forwards they have. From 1-8 in the pack have good carrying skills and know how to pop a good offload.
The almost rugby league clatteresque style that is becoming more part of the game, so far this season has been overshadowed by "the step", slick hands, guile and tenacity! Long may it continue and we are spoilt with more free running expansive rugby.