1. England benefit from TMO with x-ray specs

The weekend’s action in the 6 Nations Rugby Championship kicked off with the traditional try-fest between England and Italy.

There were some great scores and one extremely dubious one. Arguably the turning point of the game came when Billy Vunipola was awarded an extremely fortunate try by the TMO when even x-ray goggles wouldn’t have provided a more conclusive angle.

2. Rory not at his Best

In the second match yesterday Ireland overcame France in a bruising encounter.

Rory Best had one of his quieter games with his major contribution being a yellow card for ill discipline. But then Valentine’s Day tends to be a day when hookers are overlooked or worse still, made an example of.

3. Jared forgets his kit

I apologise for slagging of one of our own, but while I’m at it, fellow Ulsterman Jared Payne doesn’t exactly look like a rugby player. With his faded grey base layer and ill-fitting green shirt he looks like someone who’s turned up without their kit and had to borrow from a communal locker.

4. Battle of the beards

The match between Wales and Scotland was the most bearded fixture of the weekend. Wales looked razor sharp after their defeat by England while Scotland got tangled in their own fuzz at key moments.

One consolation for Scotland’s pack is the upcoming series of Game of Thrones, which should provide plenty of opportunity for work as extras. They certainly look the part, but just like Game Of Thrones, there’s a sense they’re only appreciated by a very cult following.

5. Rowling On The Floor Laughing

Speaking of cults, author JK Rowling was in the crowd (presumably to gain a bit of publicity for her new adaptation on BBC 1 tonight), but she failed to turn the game in favour of her resident Scotland. Sadly it wasn’t the Hogwarts ‘n’ all performance from the Scots she’d been hoping for with the men in navy blue guilty of Pottering around on more than one occasion. In saying that when Stuart Hogg took off for Scotland’s first try I could have sworn he was on a broomstick.

6. Deaf ref doesn’t help Scotland

While JK Rowling’s presence didn’t have the desired effect, referee Glen Jackson from New Zealand ended up in the role of ‘He who must not be named’ amongst Scottish fans after not going to the TMO for what looked like a try from Greig Laidlaw, not sin binning Welsh scrum half Rhys Webb for his high tackle which stopped a sure try and not allowing Scotland one last surge in the dying seconds.

There was at least five seconds left on the clock when the conversion for the Scottish try went over and the fight was dissipated. The irony was the time was eaten up, not by actual play, but by the ref with his finger in his ear and the TMO trying to shout above the crowd. It went something like…

REF: Is there time?
TMO: Yes.
REF: Sorry I can’t hear you. Is there time?
TMO: Yes.
REF: Sorry I can’t hear you.
TMO: Can you here me now?
REF: Yes, is there time?
TMO: No.

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