Rawr Data Profile: Edd ‘The Megahuman’ Shervington November 25, 2010
Rawr Data Player Profile: Riki Flutey September 12, 2010
Riki ‘Roket’ John Flutey was born 30 years ago in New Zealand. He is 5’11”, 14st 9lb and plays at centre or fly half for London Wasps, England and the Lions.
With some players it’s almost tempting to get selective memory around their careers and Riki Flutey is definitely one of them. We don’t want to think about his early career where not only was he capped for New Zealand U19s against out delightful home nations but he then had the audacity to be one of the stand out players of the 2005 Lions tour… in a black shirt.
Thankfully Riki’s talent has shown through so that when later that year he forsook his native New Zealand by Leaving Wellington Lions to don a London Irish Shirt, it was only a matter of time before he started making waves this side of the equator.
After two years for the exiles, Riki moved to London Wasps in 2007 and announced that he was available for selection for the England Squad should they want him as soon as he qualified for residency in 2008. They did, and he went on to score his first try for England against Italy in the 2009 Six Nations, catching the eye of one Ian McGeechan and securing himself a seat on the plane to South Africa that summer, making him the first player ever to play both for and against the Lions.
Riki became one of the stars of the Lions tour, not only for his whippet like performances on the field, but for his tunes. After being put in charge of tour music, Riki took to carrying around a karaoke machine , meaning we got to witness this splendour:
(skip to 2:30 for the magic)
During the 2009 season Riki took on a move to Brive, but injury plagued his first term and he mutually agreed to return to London Wasps for the upcoming season where we’re sure he’ll be back to full fitness in no time!
Words by Lauren
Rawr Data Player Profile: Matt Banahan September 11, 2010
Matthew O’Banahanahanahan is a master of the contrary. With nicknames like Battering Ram and The Jersey Juggernaut, out on the wing is the last place you’d expect to find a 6’7″, 18st lad, but that’s where he’s found his home. Unlike the many rugby players who dabbled in football at an early age, our Banas was a hockey player in his formative years. He claims to not be into the rugby lifestyle, but he’s no wilting flower if his swathes of tattoos are anything to go by. Basically, Banahan is both a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.
Starting out with London Irish, Matt was snapped up by Bath in 2006, where he was initially recruited as a lock. Quick on his feet, Matt proved to be an ideal secret weapon on the wing, his size meaning he has the strength to pack a real wallop. Mirco Bergamasco, for one, can attest to this after being on the receiving end of a hefty tackle last season when Bath played Stade Francais in the Heineken Cup. We shan’t get into the questionable yellow card that was waved in Matt’s face in the aftermath here…
After a successful international debut with the Saxons, Matt soon caught Johnno’s attention and was called up for the Elite squad’s summer tour in 2009 as a replacement for an injured David Strettle. Despite his stint on the summer 2010 tour being cut short due to all the Berrick Barnes lifting tackle brouhaha, Matt’s still a big figure (quite literally) in the England squad.
Club-wise, Matt’s about to start his fourth season with Bath, where he’s currently contracted to play until 2012. Still only 23 years old and with a steady stream of praise coming his way, the future’s bright for the ever colourful, always amiable Matt Banahan.
Words: Anna, Photo: Getty Images
Rawr Data Player Profile: Max & Thom Evans August 30, 2010
We’re feeling Scotland is a little underrepresented, and frankly that had to change. We thought long and hard about who to turn our attention to first, predictibly we went with the prettiest…
Max & Thom Evans
Max Evans is 26 years old, 5’9”, 13st 12lb and plays at centre for Glasgow Warriors and Scotland Elite and Sevens. Thom Henry ‘Hansel’ Evans is 25 years old, 6’ exactly, 14st 9lb and until Injury forced him to retire this year, he played at fullback and wing for Glasgow Warriors, Scotland Elite, Scotland Sevens and briefly England Sevens.
If you’re looking to find a more sporting family than the Evanses, you’re going to have to look very, VERY hard. With a professional golfer for a father and a sprinter mother the brothers Evans made their mark on sports before they were ever known for donning a rugby kit. Thom is a keen sprinter while Max prefers the more leisurely pursuit of golf, in and he in fact spent his ‘downtime’ from a back injury during his Harlequins Academy days entering Pro tournaments.
Max and Thom paid their Rugby dues at Wellington College, where they laced their boots alongside previous Rawr Data subject James Haskell and Gloucester’s Paul Doran-Jones (which is probably where Thom got his aversion to shirts… and clothes in general) and though they could play for England, after a brief spell for Thom in the age grade squad, both boys chose their grandfather’s native Scotland to come into their own after they both signed to Glasgow Warriors in 2006.
Despite being apparently ‘at each other’s throats’ growing up with their apparently strict parents, the two now share a flat in Glasgow and are incredibly close. This came to the fore more than ever in March 2010 when, after a collision with Lee Byrne in the Six Nations match, Thom sustained what turned out to be a career ending injury. During the period of Thom’s recovery, Max kept the press at bay, heading off all questions and enduring he had the time and space to recover and his concern showed through at every turn, with the full scale of what Thom was going through coming out between every line.
Sadly, Thom’s recovery was never completed and after he accepted both Max (who had said in an article ‘I’d be happier if he didn’t come back after seeing what he’s gone through’)and his doctor’s advice, announced his retirement this summer. Thankfully with a sporting gene that strong Thom already has plans to remain in sport, and he’s now in training to represent Scotland sprinting while Max keeps the Evans Flag flying triumphantly for another season at the Warriors.
And who knows, if all else fails, Thom may resurrect his music career…
Words by Lauren, pictures by various
Rawr Data Player Profile: Tom Croft August 26, 2010
Change of tack now… we’re going to the dark side as Lauren tries to prove that team rivalry doesn’t blind her to the quality of a player by profiling Tom Croft of Ospreys arch rivals Leicester Tigers.
Thomas Richard ‘Crafty Crofty’ Croft is 24 years old, 6’5”, 16st 5lbs and plays at both flanker and lock for Leicester Tigers, England and the Lions.
Hailing originally from Basingstoke, Tom Croft’s rugby career began at Newbury RFC in Berkshire before Leicester Tigers snapped him up in 2005 at the tender age of 19.
Dubbed as one of the fastest forwards around, Crafty Crofty is one of the ultimate utility players, meaning he plays both blind and openside flanker and also at lock, but takes on each position with the speed and agility of a back.
All this means that despite stiff competition for back row slots in the England squad, Tom has quickly become a regular fixture in the match day line up since his first cap for Saxons in 2007.
In 2009, after Alan Quinlan’s unfortunately timed ban, Tom was called up by Ian McGeechan to take his place on the Lions Tour, where he went on to play in all three tests and became the first forward ever to gain two tries in one test.
Croft’s versatility is one of the reasons Leicester tigers have become the team to beat in recent years, with the last two Guinness premiership trophies in their cabinet and seemingly only the Ospreys able to stop them in the Heineken cup (sorry, couldn’t resist!) so it’s clear to see we’ll be seeing a lot of Crofty over the course of the season.
Words by Lauren, Picture source unknown
Rawr Data Player Profile: Jonathan Thomas August 18, 2010
We fail to resist the pull of Ospreylia once again and turn our Rawr Data atention to their self-styled Stig, Jonathan Thomas
Jonathan ‘JT’ Thomas is 27, 6’5″ and 17 stones. JT made his debut for Wales in 2003 and already has 56 caps, being good enough to be able to play any position in the back 5. Nowadays, you’ll usually either see him as a flanker or lock.
He’s recently stormed back into play having been out of the public eye suffering from a nasty groin injury. He was out for over a year, the severity of the situation meaning he had to have surgery several times.
“Any physio will tell you when you have a groin problem it leads to other things, and I’ve had the full house. I’ve had a sportsman’s hernia, an adductor tear and osteitis pubis, which is a pelvic problem that causes a lot of pain. When you’re out of the game for so long you realise it’s the game you love and when you’re not doing it you really miss it badly. At the moment I just want to be 100% fit and back on the field with the boys.”
Thankfully, our stiggy was fit, ready and raring to help the Ospreys win the Magners League. Hurrah!
If you’re a regular to the Ospreys website and enjoy a bit of ‘Ianto’s Yak’, you’ll know that JT is Ianto’s partner in crime behind the camera!
Words by Ellie, Pictures by various
Rawr Data Player Profile: Ryan Jones August 16, 2010
Last and by no means least in our round up of national team captains, the skipper with the special place in all of our hearts, Ospreys and Wales captain Ryan Jones.
Statistics: Ryan Paul Jones is 29 years old, 6’5″ and heading on for 18 stones. He plays at number eight and flanker for Wales and Ospreys.
After a rather worrying start to his career playing in goal for Bristol City FC at junior level, Ryan eased his way to the light side by playing Rugby League for South London Storm before signing up for the Celtic Warriors. When the Celtic warriors dissolved, Ryan accepted a contract with the Ospreys in 2004 where he remains our fearless captain.
Soon after donning the black shirt, Ryan made his debut for Wales in the 2004 autumn international series and went on to be part of the Grand Slam winning Wales team of 2005.
In 2008, newly appointed coach Warren Gatland chose him to captain Wales, and it was yet another Grand Slam winning year, meaning he took on deity status across Wales.
Sadly, our Ryan has been no stranger to injury, which put paid to his Lions dream in 2009 after he barely got past customs before he was declared unfit due to a head injury he sustained against Canada on the Wales Summer tour. He also had to miss out on the World Cup in 2007 due to two pretty serious shoulder injuries. As a particularly fierce number 8, he makes and takes a hell of a lot of contact in games, so he was always going to have issues, but he had to have full shoulder reconstruction which kept him out of play for a long time.
One of the things that immediately strike you about Ryan is that he is totally engaging. Whether he’s being interviewed pitch side, taking part in a charity event or being ribbed by his colleagues , he’ll have a smile on his face and an articulate or witty response on his lips. It’s easy to see why he makes a good captain; why people would follow him into the jaws of the enemy, even when it’s the Springboks.
This was none more apparent during the autumn international series when the Wales boys decided to stand up to the All Black’s challenging Haka and stare them down – a move which lead the Kiwis to do their next Haka in the changing room for fear of another upset!
It was really something special – here’s a vid of it – you can hear the ref asking both sides to turn around and leave it. Watch AWJ,Gethin and Andy especially, those boys are NOT impressed!
In 2006 and 2009, he was voted Sexiest Man in Wales in the annual Western Mail poll, but modest as ever, when it was remarked upon in an interview his response was:
‘”Look, don’t you take the piss as well,” said Jones, laughing. “Ever since the Welsh papers announced I’d been voted that last week, then that’s all anyone’s done. Well, everyone but Gav, of course. He’s been sulking. I had to cheer him up. ‘Gav,’ I told him, ‘I don’t understand how I won it. Even my missus voted for you’.”
As well as his gruelling schedule of playing rugby, being a genius and fighting off randy journalists, Ryan does a lot of work for charity and communities both with the Ospreys and alone, which has lead to some realy rather bizarre scenes. Who can forget the 2009 off-season when the entire Ospreys squad became bin-men for a week? Or the time when they became beachcombers in Colwyn Bay? Or three players-one environmentally aware umberella?
Or the time he posed naked in a bath with some overly blunt literature about testicular cancer? No? This one:
Yeah. That one. For those that aren’t welsh speakers the translation on there is ‘How are your balls?’ We’re not quite sure what they’re getting at with that one…
As we go into the new season we can be sure that both we and the rest of Ospreylia will be right behind him wherever the ups and downs of regional rugby take him… but we ain’t going to be checking any balls, unless they’re egg shaped… I’ll quit while I’m ahead.
Words by Lauren and Ellie, images by various (hover for info)
In the second of our captainly rawr data’s we look at Ireland Captain Brian O’Driscoll. For a really long time. Staring may be a more appropriate word…
Of the three national captains we’ve covered so far, BOD is probably the one blessed with the most success over the last few years. After a start in Gaelic Football, he began his illustrious rugby career playing for Ireland’s U-19 side, alongside Donncha O’Callaghan and Paddy Wallace while he was working on his degree in Sports Management. He went on to become the highest try scorer in the history of Irish rugby and has captained Leinster, Ireland and The Lions.
2009 was a massive year for BOD, in the spring he lead Ireland in an absolutely stellar Grand Slam in the six nations, and had to delay his arrival in South Africa after having been selected for a third time, because Leinster were busy winning the Heineken Cup. It got to a point where he gained near-godlike status in Ireland.
Sadly, his luck ran out on the Lions tour when he had to take an early flight after sustaining a head injury in the fraught second test, something which stung all the more we’re sure after his playing role on the sadly disastrous 2005 tour of New Zealand ended prematurely after he was injured in the opening minutes of the first test.
Thankfully, injury doesn’t harm quality and Drico is no stranger to recognition and has been nominated for IRB player of the year no less than three times and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for one of the most electric players in world rugby.
“I need a hit of chocolate a day. I’m all about poor quality milk chocolate. That’s where I’m at. Mind you, you could throw in a Toblerone and I wouldn’t argue with you.”
Drico’s philosophical musing on England manager (and former Lions teammate) Martin Johnson:
“’Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”
Make of that what you will…
Words by Lauren and Ellie, Images Various.
Rawr Data Player Profile: Lewis Moody August 15, 2010
As it’s about time we popped our Captain cherry, here’s our look at England and Bath flanker Lewis Moody
Statistics: Lewis is 32, 6’3”, 16 stones and plays at flanker. He’s had a long career with Leicester Tigers, but is moving to Bath for the 2010/11 season on a three year contract.
Lewis Moody (aka Mad Dog, Mad Eye and Moodos) is a man who used to split opinion wildly. Despite being a Wales supporter, I’ve always loved him because, well, you just couldn’t miss him. He was always tough as old boots, determined as hell and one of those people you wouldn’t know whether to call brave or stupid. The reason not to love him was, if you were an England supporter particularly, that his tendency towards madness meant he often gave away penalties/got himself yellow-carded.
Luckily, I’m not an England supporter, so I was always able to simply enjoy the insanity. However, over the last couple of years, Moody has suddenly become one of the very best things about the England side. In the 2009/10 Autumn Internationals, he was the one glimmer of hope, playing with brains and not just brawn, making all the smart moves.
He’s gone from this – The Lewis Moody Gameplan – (from the people who brought us the Andy Powell gameplan) to being a much needed member of the squad. And despite his doubters over the years, he’s always been inspirational to his teammates.
He’s always thrown himself full force into games, and has a huge catalogue of injuries to prove it. Here’s what he listed in an interview in 2007:
“During my career, I’ve lost three years to injuries. The worst ones have been a broken foot, which kept me out for one year, a shoulder reconstruction, torn medial ligaments in my left knee, and three blood infections. The most recent one – last summer – could have resulted in my arm being amputated. I’ve also endured 100 lesser injuries, including broken bones in the hand, torn knee ligaments, hamstrings, broken ribs and a fractured cheek.”
Since then, Moody’s had god knows how many more injuries, including a ruptured achilles and a broken ankle. Let’s just say, it’s not unusual to see him covered in blood.
Or unconscious. Here’s Matthew Tait making sure he’s okay after being knocked out in a game against Tonga:
Here’s some quotes from his England teammates about Moodos, taken from the Lewis & Geordan Murphy testimonial year website:
“One is blonde, tall, handsome and a fine physical specimen, while the other is Geordie. One is intelligent, charming, polite and witty, while the other is Lewis.” (George Chuter)
“With an unhealthy infatuation for other men’s testicals and his own spectacular ability to injure himself, Lewis is a special kind of person and rugby player.” (Danny Grewcock)
“Testimonials are handed out to special people who have shown loyalty, passion and ability over a long period of time. Lewis joined the Tigers straight from school. (I know, I couldn’t believe he went to school either!!) ” (George Chuter again)
Words by Ellie, pictures by various
It’s no secret that Italy are underdogs in international rugby, but far be it for us to discriminate. We’re all about sharing the love here at Manpilez so, without further ado, we present il fratelli Bergamasco.
Mauro e Mirco Bergamasco
“We were sitting down to a family dinner, myself, my brother and my parents. My dad already knew about my move so I turned to my mother and told her that I was going to join Stade Francais in Paris. Then I looked at Mirco and said that he could come too if he wanted. There was a silence for about 30 seconds before he agreed.”