As if by magic: huff time, huff-wits and huff the sides are un the shut

This weekend the 2013 Six Nations Championship reaches its halfway point. Half of six is three, all the teams are playing their third match, three is the magic number; happy news for fans of the three sides for which sorcery, rather than the incumbent coaching ticket, is their most realistic hope for some good rugby.

Most crews are post-current, while we’re here forever.

Most crews are post-current, while we’re here forever.

In mid-tournament, management, especially those being less than successful, herd players into anti-media corrals and, wagons circled, fire warning volleys at any member of the professional or amateur punditocracy who dares suggest, “Christ, your lot were shit at the weekend.”

However, among the HASKolites is a man with plenty of experience in scumbag tabloid hackery. Armed only with surveillance equipment procured from some ex-cop who knows a fella, dodgy videos of doping and extra-marital affairs, and a large rucksack filled with used, untraceable twenties, Larry was for some reason able to get the inside line on the turbulence within the Irish, Welsh and French camps.

First up, the men in green, dealt with handsomely on a Sunday afternoon by Stuart “better than other coaches just by not being mental” Lancaster’s White Knights of Humility™ in the world’s biggest greenhouse the modern Rugby Fortress™ on Dublin’s Lansdowne Road.

Our source, calling himself The Outsider, spoke of dischord in the camp brought on by the ever-closer relationship between the coach, Fr. Declan, and stand-off-cum-geriatric-cum-Faustian-protagonist Radge.

“Declan’s gone and spunked the squad’s whole medical budget on Ronan’s own personal dialysis machine,” said our man, “and we’ve had to sack more coaches to pay for two full-time carers. Les now does everything. His playing career was spent entirely on the wing in Rugby League. Lineouts are going quite well, considering.”

In recession Ireland, the national rugby team has found innovative new ways to replicate modern training and recovery techniques on the cheap

In recession Ireland, the national rugby team has found innovative new ways to replicate modern training and recovery techniques on the cheap

But how is the atmosphere in camp? Do the players believe in the direction taken by the management? “Do they balls,” said The Outsider, “We lost to England, for crying out loud – England! The filth, in Dublin! It’s so embarrassing. One of their lads can’t get on a ferry without falling overboard, and he’s not even close to being the thickest – the HASK… Ben shitting Youngs! All we’ve had to do recently against those stupid fucks is make sure we’ve not selected anyone who’s dead, get Paulie to check Donncha hasn’t tied the wrong laces together and, ta da, a win.

“Now, after two competitive defeats in a row, we have to accept that they – yes, men that stupid – are our betters. The decline towards 1990’s level results has been hugely dispiriting. I’ve not spent the last fourteen years beating teams on my own every other match to see it all slide away to shite.

“Time spent on team training is shrinking. Deccie spends most of his waking hours at Ronan’s bedside, filling up the hot water bottle and reading aloud from the day’s Racing Post. Now all that’s left are games against the sweaties and the pastafarians, both much improved, and the French, who may be rubbish but always beat us anyway. Bastards.”

“Turns out Rog isn’t even starting this week, but coach is still there, sopping up piss with his 65% polyester IRFU tie. Ailing health has limited the guy’s ability to play the whole eighty. One might think this would lead him to retire; even the feckin’ Pontiff has stepped down rather than miss any more sitters. But Rog’s self-belief makes Divine Infallibility look like the contents of Rhys Priestland’s Little Boy Lost’s Big Book of Doubt.”

Larry asked Brian the nameless current player who made his debut in 1999 about the change in captaincy. The response cannot be put into words but, dear reader, never before have I seen a man lift himself off the ground, in effective levitation, using only the upward force of his left eyebrow.

Meanwhile, somewhere in France:

“I’m happy to talk, but I don’t want my mots twisted. You’ll just fuck it up. Write down precisely what I say. Give the readers what they want.

“My name is unimportant. The honour of France isn’t that important either. However, I hate losing. Things need to change.

“If three is the magic number, what then of three times three, three threes added together? Number nine, magic squared, the most important position in rugby (the second being number three, as you all know), which is therefore as important as anything else in such an arbitrary universe. Without an absolute purpose we are free to create our own, the greatest gift of a dogless existence.

“Where have we erred? Apologies: where have some, not including myself, gone wrong? Clearly, we have lacked direction, clear-thinking, a general to guide the troops. Consult the runes. Feel the magic. Number nine. Something needs to change. To that end, one very wise soul has turned to the power of suggestion in a bid to gently steer our coach onto that narrow path called magnificence. Philippe, like almost everyone, is a simple beast, vulnerable to benevolent manipulation – itself the warm, smiling tool of humanity’s greatest.

“The Beatles were a fine band, I suppose, but far from perfect. Our well-meaning homo superior has taken the Scousers’ most tete-dans-le-cul track – a warning against the mixed pleasures of acid, if ever there was one – plucking it from severe obscurity as the penultimate tune on the White Album, before combining it with a pictoral aid to show M. Saint-André the light and the truth. The audio/visual pleasure has been left in his office every morning before training. Now it’s up to him. A hero can only do so much.”

Vive la Revolution Number 9!

Vive la Revolution Number 9!

Saving the best for last, Wales – where we simultaneously co-existed at the very heart and the very fringe of the set-up. This Cardiff Deep Throat, calling himself Guts’n’Glory, we think, was characteristically forthcoming.

So, big man, the Dragon finally roared, albeit against the worst French side ever. And, regardless, eight defeats in a row – lose a couple more this tournament and it’s a disaster… what’s going wrong?

“Who guvs a shut? Makes me look funtistic, an all oi huff to do is fuckn sut here un ebsentia and everyone thinks ‘Jeez, thut Gutty, he’s the tuts!’ Fuckn three-plays-thurdy just ufta huff time? At home? Agunst Irelun? Whut the hill, bro, whut the hill?

“Why de you think Howley’s goin on tor un joon? Fuckn riddy-made excuse for whin oi go fer tha Ull Blicks job ufta tha nixt Worl Cup. Steve Choo says, ‘Ye fuckn loss to the Ockers? An ye want thus gug?’ an, just before he tulls me te go fuck mysulf unto luttle puces wuth the posts un Edun Paaark, oi say, ‘Howley, bro. Howley’ an he nods his hud un goes, ‘Yeah bro, fuck it, cun’t expuct ye to wun games with Europeen cuttle unnyway.’

“An there ye go, Bob’s yur shupe’s uncle an aaaunt. Bungo! Fuck you, Futzy, ye cun’t be the bust at uvrythin.”

Right… Guts, you seem a little… on edge?

“Drugs, bro. Um hooked. Busted both me ruckn stucks ufter falln off one of thum new portable straight staircase thungs… whut…”

A ladder?

“Thut’s the kut. Full a full twenny foot an now um locked un a trumadol uddiction spoiral. Pain un the aaarse, bro. Stull, water off a rhino’s beck. Oil be roight fur tha Lions. Oiv played Buck Shulford an survoivd, thus is fuck all.”

Advertisements

About sagmog

Just the facts, man.
This entry was posted in James' Unwanted Guests and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

519 Responses to As if by magic: huff time, huff-wits and huff the sides are un the shut

  1. flair99 says:

    Finally PSA comes to his sense and plays players in their familiar positions. Although in my book there was nothing wrong with playing Machenaud and Michalak a second time after the terrific games they had in the autumn. Not much to complain about the squad. Pape will be missed but hey… If France does not try too hard, I expect them to win a tight game. I am all the more sanguine since I’ll work all Saturday, so by the time I’ll come home, I’ll know the result.

    As for the combined team, you’re funny. You all praise Parra as the main threat and yet you all choose Youngs. The bench is not as gash as some would like to believe. Ducalcon and Debaty are not to be underestimated neither should be Classens nor Fritz. I don’t see much on the England bench that looks much better (Waldrom, Vunipola, Flood?). I like this new hooker, though and I think the idea of playing Lawes as a flanker is a great one. Can’t wait to see him chasing Parra!

    Finally, about this Trinh-Duc “quote” that everybody hastily repeats, where did you find it? It’s nowhere in our press. Anyone ‘s got a link?

  2. expro says:

    @Flair99

    Great post. Bien fait.

    apres toi, la deluge…..

  3. @flair-

    It’s in the Torygraph.

  4. yosoy says:

    But I cannot understand how the national team fitness coaches are not identifying this, and ensuring the national squad players are having their fitness monitored, and targeting the areas where they fall short of the level required. Maybe even sending them on little trips to a remote country where dope testers don’t show up where there is access to freezers?

    Because the French national team don’t have the player access that other nations have.

    He second bit: you’ll be pleased to know that the WRU have installed a freezer in the Vale of Glamorgan to prevent them running away from dope testing.

  5. flaviafamkesandwich says:

    Three men and two trains…..which train will the Champers and Mac Muffins be on

  6. There’s nearly a month to go. Just change what train your on. Simples.

  7. raceofstalwarts says:

    I’m bringing the champers and McDs breakfast. Class innit.

  8. titimanionga says:

    @Sag, RugbyWreck, cheers, fellas.

    Oh, and a reminder to do your RABOPRO12 picks on Superbru. It’s all to play for

  9. But I cannot understand how the national team fitness coaches are not identifying this, and ensuring the national squad players are having their fitness monitored, and targeting the areas where they fall short of the level required.

    @Expro,

    But isn’t this all part of the gripe that PSA and previous French coaches have though, no access or control over the players? The clubs are basically in total control and as such they get the players to train the way that suits them?

  10. You all praise Parra as the main threat and yet you all choose Youngs.

    @Flair,

    I think we all rate Parra for the control, leadership and direction he brings, and France need that right now in my opinion. His tactical kicking is usually excellent and he’ll keep the forwards going forward and he’s also good at seeing what’s needed to get the required result.

    As a straight choice, just on playing grounds though, I’d go with Youngs.

  11. HairBearHero says:

    You all praise Parra as the main threat and yet you all choose Youngs. The bench is not as gash as some would like to believe. Ducalcon and Debaty are not to be underestimated neither should be Classens nor Fritz

    Parra or Youngs is a coin toss for me – they’re both superb SHs and it would really depend on what style of game you’re looking to play. Parra controls a game better, but Youngs is more of an attacking threat. Would be a really nice starter/substitute combo as they offer very different options.

    Really rate Debaty – strong carrier, good scrummager, excellent facial fur. Not seen much of Ducalcon or Classens, Fritz has been alright whenever I’ve seen him play but would rather have Twelvetrees.

  12. Oh, and a reminder to do your RABOPRO12 picks on Superbru. It’s all to play for

    Done mine this morning. Can’t believe I’m still in the top five after the last few weeks which have been horrendous for me prediction wise. That includes the AV and the 6N’s.

    Still, I’m 2 for 2 in the super rugby so far. I should perhaps quit while I’m ahead as I’m sure it’ll all go downhill from there.

  13. I sense Flair is getting a bit of confidence from this selection. Actually, this is what we all feared when PSA got the job. Who staged the intervention to get him off the Crazy Pills™

  14. HairBearHero says:

    I missed the last round of 6N SuperBru, so have given up.

  15. I sense Flair is getting a bit of confidence from this selection.

    It’s the “….. I expect them to win a tight game.” comment that gives it away isn’t it.

  16. Wreck-

    Last time I go for understatement.

  17. boanova says:

    I think we all rate Parra for the control, leadership and direction he brings, and France need that right now in my opinion. His tactical kicking is usually excellent and he’ll keep the forwards going forward and he’s also good at seeing what’s needed to get the required result.

    As a straight choice, just on playing grounds though, I’d go with Youngs.

    Agreed. Youngs has been at his best since the Autumn, and the Ireland game showed he could control a game without the pack being on top and in difficult conditions. He’s just ahead of Parra as the top 1 in Europe atm for me.

  18. flair99 says:

    DCC, thanks for the T-graph link.
    I just read it and honestly there is nothing in there that should have gotten anyone on his high horse, besides the stupid caption.
    WRT Parra and Youngs: I was merely pointing at what I perceived as a discrepancy. I’d probably choose Youngs myself, as I really enjoy watching him when he’s on song. I’d love to see him play along TD. (I’m with the Cat and believe he’s the best 10 in the NH).

  19. Apologies, obviously I missed the point there.

  20. Lions duo Matt Coles and Ben Stokes have been sent home from the tour of Australia for disciplinary reasons.

    Gatland was right after all.

    *sigh*

    Oh Tov. You really do miss us.

  21. I’m with the Cat and believe he’s the best 10 in the NH

    Huzzah!

    Sensible.

  22. sagmog says:

    Huzzah!

    Sensible.

    Out of date though.
    Farrell v2.0.

  23. flair99 says:

    Wreck,
    Re confidence: actually the give away was ” if they don”t try too hard”. And the copyrighted use of “sanguine”. Funnily it means almost the exact opposite in French. (a hot head)

  24. boanova says:

    i’m with the Cat and believe he’s the best 10 in the NH

    I like him, and think he can be brilliantly skillful at times, and I haven’t seen him play for Montpellier outside of the HC, but I haven’t seen him dominate a game the way Sexton has on occasion, or put together the kind of assured performance of Farrell against NZ or Scotland.

    He shouldn’t find it too difficult either as his pack is usually on top, and he has a brilliant SH inside him taking a lot of responsibility…. I wonder how he’d look outside Phillips or Murray?

  25. dominate a game the way Sexton has on occasion

    *raises eyebrow*

    What, one game in 2011 from Aging Foreign Journeyman?

    I suppose that was enough to get him nailed no for the Lions.

    Anyway, I have.

  26. brookter says:

    HairBearHero,

    Thanks for the kind words… I wondered about doing a few for an ATL as a backstop when times are hard, but probably best not…

  27. boanova says:

    What, one game in 2011 from Aging Foreign Journeyman?

    Well, that and the Argentina game in the Autumn.. plus numerour HC games. When had T-D done something similar?

    and as i said it’s far easier playing outside Parra or Yach, rather than Murray or Reddan.

  28. sagmog says:

    @Brookter
    Go ahead with ATL stuff.
    Can never have too much.

  29. plus numerour HC games

    Irrelevant.

    Club level.

  30. Baldy says:

    “Team plan to go after opp 10 tactical shocker!”

    Knew the French would take this game seriously. Bastards.

    Should be one hell of a midfield battle. Guess we get to see if DCB is really as good as the papers are suggesting..

    Should be an interesting tactical battle. England haven’t looked lacking in the physicality stakes since the summer tour, and you would expect them to stand up again here.

    Our defence has also been very hard to break down, and lawes will only add to that and the lie out options. With the French power and parra’s kicking, I’d expect us to start playing for territory, defend in their half, and put pressure on the French line out, hoping we can stop them building any early momentum.

    Last 20mins is likely be vital, Flair might not see too much threat from the bench, but the French concern should be about the 7 players left on the pitch they have no option to change.. Just how much will fitness come into it?

    (Personally I’m very happy with the likely impact of Mako Vunipolo and Tom Youngs..)

  31. flair99 says:

    Of course TD would look bad outside Philipps or Murray as every 10 in the world.
    But TD plays outside Julien Thomas in Montpellier (your average French 9, though he could probably walk into Ireland or Wales or … well you get the point)) or Paillaugue. And TD is only 24. So not an AFJ yet.
    As for Sexton, we’ll see how he performs next year when he has to play a few more games than a semi retired international.

  32. expro says:

    I’d say FTD is the most talented and classy fly half in the NH. Farrell is less flaky and more consistent, so arguably a better selection. Sexton is third in the queue.

  33. Wolfie says:

    Just back from the builders’ yard – lots of confident smirks beneath the berets today………..
    PSA has, I think, been playing a long game, i.e. prove what won’t work to get critics off his back, whilst firing up the better players for the big one (only Picamoles seems to have been on song so far).
    English back row is superior in my view so the scrap surrounding Parra should be epic (remember NZ feared him too and nuked him in the WC final)/
    T-D will lie deep which gives the English back line further to rush and he loves ‘les chandelles’ which will aim at creating broken play and disorganising Eng defence
    Think Dusattoir is slightly off his game this year……….very good in broken play but not quite as strong physically as Cp’n Rob. for example. Nyanga feels hard done to and has a point to prove, Picamoles is a bully and despairs when bested………
    England to win based on their never letting up throughout the game……….
    ……….50/50 confidence/fear

  34. boanova says:

    Individual bits of skill does not an international FH make. That fact that T-D has not made himself indespensible with all the quality around him and given the paucity of other FH options speaks volumes for me.

    and now expro agrees with you, so the argument is immediately lost.

  35. HairBearHero says:

    And TD is only 24

    Is he really? He seems to have been around for ages…had him pegged as late 20s

  36. MisterIks says:

    Sorry to arrive a bit late but I was locked in the airing cupboard.

    I put my feet up and re-watched the France v Wales game the other day, without the fear-fever.

    It confirmed quite a lot about what you guys are saying about the French fitness and game plan and needing to have amounted a few scores before the last quarter. The first 20 – 25 minutes was actually not as bad as I remembered, Wales did well to control territory, but two awful passes from Biggar and Cuthbert respectively nobbled their two best open field chances, and Biggar also took a weird drop-kick option which also killed a lot of pressure and momentum.

    In the next period France were must better – they put a lot of pressure on, with good running from Huget and Basteraud behind strong forward drives. Fall was standing out both defensively and as an attacking threat under the high ball, and looked like one of the best players on the field.

    They failed to score any tries though, and as we all remember the first 20-25 minutes of the second half became error-strewn (i.e. shite) as defences got on top and fear of losing got its grip. Fall had been replaced and it threw the French back line out of shape because there was no wing cover on the bench. F-TD went to full-back, Huget to the wing and Michelak soldiered on at 10.

    The game swung Wales’ way as a result and I reckon they believed they would come out on top in the last 15 minutes because France definitely started to lose steam. This was underlined by a raft of ambling forward substitutions and falling off tackles. Even JDII started to gain a bit of confidence, threw some neat short passes(!) and turned the tables on Basteraud in contact.

    After Wales scored their try France pretty much disintegrated, and Michalek became so withdrawn and hunched physically he started to resemble a hag from a Disney cartoon, and his passing and kicking cramped up accordingly.

    So my point is France have a better balanced team this week, and will threaten more with the ball, but England are in a much better place regarding momentum, squad fitness, and confidence. The quality of their rugby is better than Wales’ right now so they will take their chances with more precision. England’s defence will also be just as determined and solid and France will need to play out of their skins to accrue points.

    I’m saying France can’t do it, but it looks very unlikely to me. The one fly in the ointment for England might be penalties. Wales simply didn’t cough-up any easy points up in open play by giving away daft penalties last week, restricting France to 6 points even when under pressure.

  37. MisterIks says:

    Oh and Happy Birthday Claw! Belated Happy Birthday Crashybollocks and Happy Anniversary to the HairBears!

Comments are closed.