31 Mar 2007

Argentina Head Coach Stays For World Cup

After weeks of speculation linking coach Marcelo Loffreda with the Leicester Tigers, the president of rugby union in Argentina, Alejandro Risler has come out and said that Loffreda will stay with Argentina until after the World Cup.

Risler said :

"I'm sure that the Leicester's offer is in recognition of Loffreda's work with the Pumas in the last eight years. We are going to think about his successor after the World Cup."

Good news for Argentina on the surface, but as Loffreda hasn't made an announcement himself on his future, there could be more to come on this story in the future.

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30 Mar 2007

World Cup Non-Story of the Day

Do you ever get the feeling that some websites just don't have enough news?

Today's World Cup rugby non-story is...wait for it, it's a goodie....Jonah Lomu Tips All Blacks To Win World Cup.

I know. A real surprise, that one. You would never have guessed, would you?

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If You Were Jake White, Would This Make You Happy?

It now looks likely that highly regarded Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus will be used "as a consultant" to the South Africa national team at the rugby World Cup in France 2007.

This has been confirmed by Andy Marinos, who is South Africa's manager of national teams (whatever one of them is).

From the perspective of the Springboks, it makes good sense to utilise as much rugby knowledge as possible to bring the World Cup home to South Africa, that's for sure.

And Marinos paints a very flattering portrait of what Erasmus could bring to the 'Boks management and coaching team, saying :

"Rassie has clearly made a big impact as coach, he is well versed in the technical aspects of the game and we would like to make use of his knowledge."

"The other positive aspect is that he has been to the World Cup tournament before as a player."

But, be honest, if you were Jake White - South Africa's head coach - would you be 100% happy with your employers hiring as a "technical advisor" a guy who was been tipped to replace you. No? If it was me, I wouldn't be happy either.

These are the kind of ideas that sound good in theory but often lead to conflict and ultimately undermine the team they are suppose to help.

Watch this space.

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29 Mar 2007

Getting The Excuses In Early

Loved this interview with England Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron regarding England's chances of holding on the World Cup.

There's nothing like a positive outlook to help your team along. And Baron really does have NOTHING LIKE a positive outlook.

Not only are England in "a development phase", but it is "a big ask" to expect England to defend their title and he even goes so far as to talk about "getting England back on top" at some unspecified point in the future.

He is confident that England will improve under Brian Ashton, though, so that's something, I guess.

Talk about getting your excuses in early. I half expected to hear him moaning about injuries, the state of the pitches, the unfair fact that the All Blacks are just better than England....no wonder Australians think the English are a bunch of whingeing poms if this is the kind of stuff that they are coming out with.

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27 Mar 2007

Dallaglio : Over and Out

It seems that Lawrence Dallaglio - an England back of the old school - has finally accepted that he has pretty much no chance of playing for England in the 2007 rugby World Cup Finals.

In an interview with the Daily Express, Dallaglio shows his awareness of his position within both the Wasps and England set-up and accepts that he isn't even first choice for his club side.

“It has been a different season for me. I haven’t been involved with England for whatever reason and it takes a bit of getting used to, being here at the club when all the other international players are away..", Dallaglio commented.

As far as I'm concerned, it's good that Dallaglio is effectively ruling himself out. He hasn't been a serious force in rugby union for at least two years. And, to be quite honest, he should never have played rugby again after allegedly admitting to both using and dealing Class A drugs in 1999.

No doubting his talent and spirit, but if England have any chance (and realistically, they don't) of holding on to the World Cup trophy, then the quicker they can sweep away the dead wood, the better.

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Pointless World Cup Sponsors Part One

OK, UK terrestrial channel ITV has announced that French car manufacturer Peuguot and EDF Energy are the first sponsors of their 2007 World Cup Rugby coverage.

It's hardly glamourous and exciting news but it still amuses me - and I'm sure a large proportion of the English public - that EDF Energy seem to sponsor anything and everything and yet still no one knows what they actually do.

Postscript: OK, I looked it up on that new fangled interweb thing and found out the EDF Energy are an energy supplier for...wait for it...South East England and East Anglia. So, they are paying all that money for branding and their services cover less than 25% of the country.

Look out for more pointless RWC sponsors as we get nearer the finals. I'm sure they'll be even more ridiculous than EDF Energy. My money is on an 'official HR consultancy partner' and an official 'debt collection partner' as the two most ridiculous sponsors.

Watch this space.


26 Mar 2007

End of Season Tours....Why?

Following neatly on from my last blog post, there's a good article here about the pointless-ness (is that a word?) of end of season tours in a World Cup year.

The author - Peter Jackson - points out that France arranging a tour of New Zealand and England playing out in South Africa only a couple of months before the Finals is probably not a very good idea.

It's kinda stating the obvious, I agree. But it does raise these important questions : 'Which idiots arrange these things?' and 'Why?'.

Answers on a postcard to...

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Tests? What Tests?

Perverse rugby story of the week is this one :

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) are upset with their Argentine counterparts because they can't get confirmation of venues for two proposed Ireland rugby tests in Argentina this summer. They are considering cancelling the tour as no one in Argentina has a clue about, well, any of it, really.

The strange thing is that Ireland don't really want to go on this tour and would be resting all their main World Cup players anyway. Even more perverse is the fact that Argentina would quite welcome some pre-World Cup matches and would most probably use their full strength squad.

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25 Mar 2007

Portugal Get Chance To Be Group C Whipping Boys

Yesterday's play-off second leg between Portugual and Uruguay ended with an 18-12 victory to Uruguay, but it is Portugal who qualify for the World Cup rugby finals, having held a 7 point advantage from the first leg.

The Portuguese get to be whipping boys for a group that includes favourites New Zealand, Scotland, Italy and Romania but right now, all here at world cup rugby blog wish them all the best. And we, do, truly, hope they acquit themselves well in the finals.