How England 2003 can influence the new attacj

Hey guys!

Hope you’re keeping well. This I have wanted to write about for a seriously long time.

England 2003, without doubt the best England team there ever has been. Some of their attack was quite astounding, and. Could work even better than what is going on today with the use of League defences.

Hope you boys enjoy it! But yeah. A throwback to when we were genuinely the best team in the World. This is something I appreciate.

Also. Heavily advise to watch Squidges video on SA last night. A bit of heavy viewing, especially reliving the final. But cannot deny it is a sublime piece of work.

Cheers boys and keep safe!


Position 11 or 14 Wingers

To continue our round up of the teams I’m now going to have a go at the wingers. Put both of them together as some of them have played on both sides.

Some really obvious contenders. My selections in no particular order

Jonah Lomu – Probably the person that most transcended the sport a career cut horribly short and having a tragic end but at his best was almost literally unstoppable.

Dougie Howlett – Still I believe the top NZ try scorer with 49 tries in something like 64 matches an incredible strike rate.

Bryan Habana – I’m a saffer and just can’t leave him out but with 67 tries I think he justifies his inclusion.

David Campese – started really young and had a long career but hard to deny him – despite as every saffer I know utterly hating the git. Peter Hendriks rounding him for a try in the opening game of the 95 world cu is the memory I’ll go with.

Shane Williams – proving you don’t have to be big to be bloody good.

Pierre Saint-Andre – Maybe not as prolific as the others but some of the stuff he did was just incredible and he could certainly bring a crowd to it’s feet.

Rory Underwood – Still Englands leading try scorer.

I’ve restricted the list to those I have actually seen. May have been more in the past. I’m as yet to be convinced that the current crop are worthy of a place on that list although players like Johhny May and Cheslin Kolbe may get there.

First steps to a global calender

Following the World Rugby meetings in March this year, SANZAAR and the Six Nations (“the Nations”) have been working closely over the lockdown period against a set of key principles between the parties, to develop and agree proposals for an aligned global calendar.

The statement said: “Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the Nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish.

“A further consultation process, in total transparency with unions, clubs and players, will commence as all parties work towards an aligned global calendar that can deliver a clear and coherent narrative.”

The key principles that have underpinned the work to date are:
1.     Significantly mitigate overlaps between club and country fixtures

2.     Better aligned player release windows for players, stakeholders and competitions

3.     Improve player welfare

4.     Improve narrative and competitiveness of International and Domestic Competitions around clear windows

5.     Define clear high-performance pathways for Emerging Nations through the delivery of an internationally more inclusive game

6.     Evolve competition structures that are underpinned with enhanced commercial offerings

7.     Restore public faith in the core values of rugby and showing strong collective leadership in the best interests of the game.

The statement added: “The Nations together with other key stakeholders remain open to shape the options that have been developed in an effort to resolve an issue that has held the game back for many years and are committed to putting rugby on a progressive path.”

Shirt 10: FlyHalf

A lot of things here to discuss so I’ll throw a few starters out there.

What is more important, flair versus game control? Your Quade Coopers, Danny Cipriani’s or your Owen Farrell’s and Dan Biggar?

Why is it that the 10 is nearly always the kicker for the team?

Who is the best flyhalf of the professional era? Carter, Wilkinson, or another?

Also can someone explain to me why everyone seems to hate Scumhalves  more than Flyhalves? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Also if anyone has any comments, thoughts or anecdotes on flyhalves then please chuck them in the mix! Although if anyone starts the ford v farrell debate you’re out the door…

Answers will be posted later tonight for all the above 😉

Rugby’s Speedsters

Picked this up from an article posted in the NZ Herald. It’s an interesting bit of trivia. The main metric used in rugby to determine a players speed is maximum velocity in metres per second which is taken from the ubiquitous GPS trackers all elite players wear.

What really piqued my interest – other than confirmation of just how quick Christian Wade is – was that rugby fares very well against Wendy ball in terms of athlete’s with outright pace. The fastest at 11.5 mps on this list (Carlin Isles, Wade isn’t far behind) is a whopping 0.95mps faster than the French flyer Kylian Mbappe widely considered to be the fastest elite Footballer.

Wade also clocked the 3rd fastest mps time in Grid Iron last year, what a loss to rugby.

The only forward on the list is rather surprisingly Fingers Ferris!


Christian Wade 11.1 m/s
Kieran Marmion 10.7 m/s
Jesse Mogg 10.6 m/s
Aaron Sexton 10.5 m/s
Jonny May 10.49 m/s
Barry Daly (Leinster) 10.44 m/s
Rieko Ioane 10.3+ m/s
Louis Rees-Zammit RZ 10.1 m/s
Joe Cokanasiga 10.0 m/s +
Rory Scholes (Connacht) 10.0 m/s
Stephen Ferris 9.98 m/s
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster) 9.97 m/s
Simon Zebo (Munster) – 9.85 m/s
Marika Koribete 9.8m/s
Tommy Bowe 9.7 m/s
Alex Dunbar 9.4 m/s

Sosene Anesi 4.53
Bryan Habana 4.58
Rodney Davies 4.59
Shane Williams 4.66
Joe Rokococo 4.66
Sbu Nkosi 4.71
Toni Pulu 4.78
Charlie Sharples 4.82
George North 4.97

100m TIMES
Sebastien Carrat 10.34
Nigel Walker 10.47
Brett Stapleton 10.51
Aaron Sexton 10.52
Ugo Monye 10.66
Doug Howlett 10.68
Tom Varndell 10.83

*Edward Osei-Nketia 10.19, but hasn’t played professionally

Carlin Isles 11.5 m/s
Perry Baker 10.3+ m/s
Jordan Conroy 10.3+ m/s
Alosio Naduva 10.3+ m/s
Dan Norton 4.78 40m

Trae Williams 10.1 100m
Carlin Isles 10.15 100m
Perry Baker 10.58m 100m

We might see a 24 teams ERC next year

Found on L’Equipe:

Apparently the 24-team proposition for next year’s ERC that French teams proposed seems to be seen favorably by English and Celt teams.

From what I gathered from the format…

  • 2 pools of 12 teams: 4 French, 4 English, 4 Celt in each
  • In each pool, you get 4 groups of 3 teams (1F, 1E, 1C) playing each other twice, home and away. So each team would have 4 pool games
  • Then the 12 teams of the pool get ranked 1 to 12, with the top 4 going through
  • QF would be 1A v 4B, 2A v 3B, 3A v 2B and 4A v 1B – with two legs, ala football Champions League
  • Semis would also get two legs
  • Grand final

In total, the hypothetical winner would play 4 + 2 + 2 + 1 = 9 games, exactly like it does now. But it would have fewer pool games and more elimination rounds.

It looks like a hidden “8 pools of 3” system, but I assume the “2 of 12” is there to give a chance to teams that have to face a big opponent. This way, 3-0-1 teams could make it through despite being behind one of their opponents. It is supposed to make every game important (and honestly I won’t be sad if the best 2nd system has to go).

The 2 pools might look like (F: Top 14, E: Premiership, CA: Pro14 pool A, CB: Pro 14 pool B)

Pool A: F1, CA1, E2, E3, CB2, CB3, F4, F5, CA4, E6, E7, F8

Subpools: (F1, CA4, E6) (CA1, E7, F4) (E3, CB3, F5) (E2, CB2, F8)

Pool B: E1, CB1, F2, F3, CA2, CA3, E4, E5, CB4, F6, F7, E8

Subpools: (E1, CB4, F6) (CB1, F7, E4) (F3, CA3, E5) (F2, CA2, E8)

For the record, with the current rankings, this would look like:

Pool A: (Bordeaux-Bègles (1), Bath (6), Dragons (4A)) (Toulon (4), Harlequins (7), Leinster (1A)) (La Rochelle (5), Bristol (3), Scarlets (3B)) (Montpellier (8), Sale (2), Munster (2B))

Pool B: (Clermont (6), Exeter (1), Connacht (4B)) (Toulouse (7), Northampton (4), Edimburgh (1B)) (Racing (3), Wasps (5), Glasgow (3A)) (Lyon (2), London Irish (8), Ulster (2A))

I bolded the pools in which the “ranking of 12” would give a big name a shot to make it despite not topping its pool of 3.

The reason France proposed that format was to avoid having to solve the “who get the 6 spots” with league having stopped. For example, Toulouse is 7th, in large part due to how many players they had to give away for both the RWC and the 6N – the exact kind of team that tends to finish strong because from March onwards they have their full squad.

Myners report

Premiership Rugby today publishes the report of a comprehensive review of its Salary Cap regulations led by former Government Minister, Lord Myners CBE. The review was commissioned by Darren Childs, CEO, Premiership Rugby, in December 2019, three months after his appointment and before the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The independent Review was created with the objective of strengthening the regulations to create a world-leading Salary Cap system. 

The Myners Review follows on from the 2019 case in which an independent disciplinary panel upheld charges against Saracens for breaches of the Salary Cap. The panel gave a strong endorsement of the regulations, finding the cap to be consistent with competition law and with the objectives of ensuring the financial viability of clubs and the league, controlling inflationary pressures, providing a level playing field, ensuring a competitive league and enabling clubs to compete in European competitions.

As part of the review, Lord Myners undertook an extensive public consultation so that anyone interested in professional club rugby, including supporters and players, could have their say on the future of the regulations. Around 450 individuals and organisations responded to the consultation and Lord Myners held follow-up interviews with around 200 stakeholders to discuss their views in detail.

After considering all responses and examining examples of international best practice, Lord Myners has now developed a set of recommendations to improve how the Salary Cap operates. Among the changes proposed in the report, Lord Myners recommends:

  • Greater flexibility for a Disciplinary Panel in relation to the range, and severity, of sanctions to ensure “the punishment fits the crime”, including the availability of sanctions such as suspensions and the removal of titles
  • The promotion of greater transparency, which will broaden and deepen visibility and scrutiny 
  • Greater accountability for the board and the executives of the constituent clubs of Premiership Rugby 
  • Greater accountability for the players and their agents 
  • Increased reporting obligations on clubs 
  • Stronger investigatory powers vested in the salary cap manager function and increased resource to perform this function 
  • Making the regulations easier for clubs to understand, and for Premiership Rugby to administer 

A full list of the recommendations can be found at the end of this statement.

Premiership Rugby will now work with member clubs and, where appropriate, other stakeholders to consider Lord Myners’ recommendations and finalise changes to the regulations.

Darren Childs, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, commented: “Premiership Rugby established an independent review of the Salary Cap because we want to ensure that it provides a world-leading framework for the future. We are immensely grateful to Lord Myners for his thorough and insightful work during an extensive review process.

“We welcome the comprehensive set of recommendations put forward by Lord Myners following the review and we are pleased to publish his report so that everyone has an opportunity to consider his conclusions. In the next stage of this process, we will consult carefully with our clubs and other stakeholders as we finalise the new Salary Cap regulations for the long-term benefit of our sport.”

Further information:

Click here to read the full report

Appendix: The full list of Lord Myners’ recommendations

1. Separation of Investigation, Decision to Prosecute and Enforcement

1.1 Enshrine a commitment by the clubs to respect the independence of the regulations.

1.2 The current discretion for clubs to choose to remove a director of a club pursuant to Regulation 14.7 should be removed.

1.3 Appoint an independent Cap Governance Monitor, with reserved powers in relation to the enforcement of the regulations.

2. Transparency

2.1 Announce the fact that a charge has been brought as soon as is reasonably practical and within seven days, with a brief summary of the substance and details, and proposed dates for a hearing.

2.2 Publish disciplinary decisions in full, with the redaction of confidential information or personal data.

2.3 Include details of all breaches and sanctions in a comprehensive SCM annual report, which is made public.

2.4 Publish guidance from the SCM regularly and make this publicly available.

2.5 Publish general information to share details about the operation of the cap and how it is achieving its objectives.

2.6 Publish any changes to the regulations, along with a rationale for how it is consistent with the five regulatory objectives.

3. Drafting of the Regulations and Definition of Salary

3.1 The regulations should remain as a set of detailed rules, backed up by principles.

3.2 All permitted payments to players should be automatically included within the salary cap, except for a few clearly communicated exceptions.

3.3 All exceptional items to be pre-approved by the SCM, otherwise they will be automatically treated as salary.

3.4 Prohibit payments which are subjective, extend beyond a player’s playing career or come from connected parties (including sponsorship by connected parties). Any prohibited payment should result in a sanction.

3.5 Broaden the current definition of connected party.

3.6 The SCM must approve all sponsorship arrangements in advance.

3.7 Tighten provisions around player loans to ensure they are bona fide.

3.8 Review provisions for exempt (marquee) players.

3.9 Remove the provision to deem a salary. Instead allow evidence of inaccurate salary declaration to be sufficient grounds for the SCM to launch an investigation.

3.10 Strengthen emphasis on clubs seeking clarification from the SCM in relation to any uncertainty in the interpretation of the regulations. Failure by a club to do so should be treated by the disciplinary panel as an aggravating factor leading to an increased sanction.

4. Club Accountability

4.1 The entry level for points sanctions should be increased.

4.2 The disciplinary panel should be entitled to take into account a wider range of factors and be given more guidance in relation to how those factors might influence their decision and their relative weighting.

4.3 Increase sanctions for failure to co-operate to a level equivalent to the sanctions available for breach of the salary cap.

4.4 Make additional sporting sanctions available, including relegation, suspension, stripping of titles and return of prize money.

4.5 Provide the disciplinary panel with the power to install an independent monitor for consistent and serious breaches.

4.6 Increase the sanctions available to the SCM for breach of lower level regulatory breaches, including the ability to deduct 2 points, with a right of appeal for clubs before an independent disciplinary panel.

5. Player Accountability

5.1 Tie players into the regulations so that they have accountability with respect to the salary cap.

5.2 The following player obligations should be adopted:

i) Player declaration

ii) Reporting arrangements for players

iii) Onus on player to clarify arrangements 

iv) Co-operation.

5.3 Provide sanctions for players who are in breach of their obligations under the Regulations. These sanctions should include fines and sporting sanctions.

6. Accountability of Others

6.1 Introduce a fit and proper test for club owners to be available to the Disciplinary Panel in extreme circumstances.

6.2 Define a category of “club officials” to include directors and shareholders with more than a 10% holding and each club official should register with Premiership Rugby.

6.3 Require club officials to sign a declaration confirming that they have read the Regulations and agree to abide by them.

6.4 Require a board representative to sign a declaration of anticipated and actual compliance with the Regulations.

6.5 Provide that any club official who knew, or should have known, about the breach of the salary cap and who has signed a false declaration or certification or has unreasonably failed to co-operate with salary cap regulations is subject to sanctions including a ban from Premiership Rugby for up to two years (first offence) or up to lifetime (any subsequent offence).

6.6 Require clubs to nominate a salary cap officer who has duties to the SCM.

6.7 Provide obligations for agents in the regulations that mirror those of players in relation to disclosure and obligation to co-operate with the SCM.

6.8 Add a provision to the RFU’s agent declaration that includes an agreement by each agent to comply with the regulations.

6.9 Provide sanctions for breach of the regulations by an agent, including suspension of licence, forfeiture of any commission and/or fines.

7. Powers and Resource of the SCM and the auditors

7.1 Extend system to allow central access to each club’s salary cap spreadsheet at all times. 

7.2 Require clubs to provide copies of documents such as new contracts to the SCM within 14 days.

7.3 Clarify the power of the SCM to attend clubs without notice and require them to provide him with finance reports and access to management accounts.

7.4 Allow the SCM to make requests to see players’ tax returns on a random basis.

7.5 Clarify that, as a part of their annual review, the auditors are able to obtain downloads of raw accounting data from each club’s system.

7.6 Enhance the powers available to the auditors in their annual audit to include mandatory interviews, sampling of tax returns and more extensive provision of information and documents by the clubs.

7.7 Introduce sanctions for clubs that do not comply with reasonable requests from auditors within a reasonable time frame.

7.8 The SCM should work with the Rugby Players Association and RFU to provide a programme of education for players and agents so that they understand their obligations under the regulations.

7.9 Change the title of the “SCM” to salary cap director”.

7.10 Appoint a deputy SCM to assist the SCD.

7.11 Appoint a full-time data analyst.

7.12 Make investigatory audits compulsory if the SCM has reasonable grounds to initiate.

7.13 Expand the scope of investigatory audits to include broader powers of search.

7.14 Provide sanctions for any club or individual who is found to have deleted evidence post the notification on an investigatory audit.

7.15 Introduce random mini investigatory audits for two clubs every year.