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Newspilez: The State of Stade June 10, 2011

Resident Stade enthusiast Anna takes a look back on an eventful week for Max Guazzini’s boys in pink in a Newspilez special…

James Haskell topped the bill of big name players who were officially released by Stade Francais this week and while this comes as no huge surprise following ongoing reports of financial struggles and structural shake ups, the future for Uncle Gigi’s boys looks a little hazy. However, never one to miss a marketing opportunity, ol’ Max used the announcement of these departures to simultaneously silence the naysayers and to launch a fetching “Pink is Not Dead” t-shirt. You’ve got to admire that sass.

Stade Francais in unusually subtle colour scheme shocker

So what happens now?

Well, no one is going to dispute that Stade had a miserable season in 2010/11 and it’s safe to assume that losing out on their last gasp attempt with the Amlin Challenge Cup may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for many. Furthermore, the club’s money woes have been evident for a while, not least of all when Mirco Bergamasco was released from his contract a year early to join Parisien rivals Racing Metro last Spring. But the t-shirt makes a good case.

Out with the old…

A big overhaul is one of the best parts of a new season. New players, new start, new kit (abundantly important around Gigi’s way), new attitude and new aspirations. While Stade are of course losing some talent, it’s also clear that some players have run their course with the club.

Haskell is a prime example. He’s a young player with a lot of hype surrounding him. He made a good showing in this year’s Six Nations and will undoubtedly want to be making a similar mark at club level. If my memory serves me correctly, there was a conversation at Manpilez HQ last summer about where Hask would go if he left Stade. Given the non-events at Adams Park since, there’s not quite so much confidence now that he’d defect to his dear old Wasps. In fact, if we’re to believe the rumblings from Haskell’s camp, every team in the world is currently dropping their car keys in a bowl on his coffee table. My suspicions are that he may take a jaunt south of the equator, but will he be willing to risk fitting the “exceptional circumstances” bill post-World Cup to jeopardize his England career? When the decision is made, expect to hear about it. A lot. With sponsorship.

Another departure that hasn’t surprised us is that of Mauro Bergamasco, who has been with the club since 2004. While he and younger brother and former team mate Mirco celebrated a championship win both then and in 2007, the past few years have been more about the graft than the glory. Mirco seems to be going from strength to strength since leaving Stade, having had a great debut season with Racing Metro and of course, with his heroic performance in Italy’s win over France in the Six Nations. Mauro, meanwhile, spent most of last season out of action following an injury and subsequent surgery on his shoulder. It’s safe to assume the older Bergamasco will have his sights set on a trip to New Zealand come the autumn, which may very well be his last RWC and we’re hedging our bets that club-wise, a return to the homeland may be on the cards, with Treviso being a likely prospect.

… in with the new

Other players avoiding an acid-hued brain-vomit of a kit next season include Juan Leguizamon, Hugo Southwell and Ollie Phillips, but what of the newcomers? Paul Sackey announced his arrival by sporting a very unsubtle neon pink sock alongside his Barbarians kit in the game against England on 29 May and with a wealth of experience in French rugby behind him, will be a welcome addition to the squad alongside Toulon team mate Felipe Contempi. Having a former All Black in the shape of Byron Kelleher and Wallabies centers Morgan Turinui and Paul Warick thrown into the mix isn’t going to do any harm, either.

Stick or twist…

Then there are those players who will remain, including lock Tom Palmer, arguably the stand out performer for England in this year’s Six Nations. Consider his poor wife, Helen, however, who faces at least another year of  non-French speaking misery in a Paris suburb  without even the light relief of baking cock-adorned cakes for Haskell and Phillips.

Current captain Sergio Parisse has made no noises about moving as of yet and although he’ll be absent for the World Cup in the early part of next season, his apparently God-like presence (calm down, Stuart Barnes) will boost the squad if he’s still on the scene.

The biggest question mark, however, currently hangs over Matthieu Bastareaud. While Stade Francais are insisting he’ll remain for the duration of his contract, Mourad Boudjellal, chairman of Bastareaud’s desired destination of Toulon, has taken the oh so subtle Marc Lievremont approach to courting the media by claiming the center is depressed to the point that he is pyschologically unable to stay chez Guazzini.

How is it that a soap opera about French rugby hasn’t been written yet?

A brave new world…

If there’s one massive positive to take from all this, it’s that Stade Francais are well versed in phoenix-from-the-ashes tactics. In fact, typically controversial news that a peculiarly random financial saviour from Montreal has dragged them out of the red means that they have avoided administrative relegation and there are also hopes that the recent return of Bernard Laporte may see him turn the tide for Stade as he did so dramatically in the 1990s. While coaching duties remain with Michael Cheika, there will be a lot of expectation on Laporte in the role of administrator to perform a similar, if not more impressive overhaul and set Stade Francais back on track. It would seem that, for the time being, pink is not dead.

Words by Anna

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Previewpilez : The Amlin Challenge Cup Final – Harlequins v Stade Francais May 18, 2011

And now, the end is near, and so we face the final questions…

Harlequins or Stade Francais?

Leinster or Northampton?

Leinster or Munster?

Leicester or Saracens?

And so begins the first of our looks ahead to the show pieces of  what has already been an exciting, unpredictable and entertaining rugby season.  Well, unless you count the Aviva Premiership final being a direct repeat of last year…

This Friday sees the final of the Amlin Challenge cup, where Harlequins and Stade Francais will both be running out onto the Cardiff City Stadium pitch to prove pretty much the same point: their season hasn’t been all that bad.

With both star-studded  teams having finished in the bottom half of their leagues, and records that can only be described as hit and miss, it’s difficult to tell which way this will go. On the one hand, Harlequins beat Magners League dominating Munster to get to this final, which is no mean feat in itself, but with their away record in particular this season looking a little grim, there’s a bit of a sense of that wonderful ‘it depends which Quins turn up on the day’ cliché we all brought out for France in the Six Nations. Add this to the fact that the moments where Harlequins have shone this year have been when the pressure has been highest, it’s very tempting to put Quins as favourites to lift the trophy.

Stade Francais, on the other hand, are a different animal altogether. With some massive international names on their books and a budget the size of the entire economy of Lichtenstein, it’s hard to understand why they have missed the mark so often this season, finishing a lowly 11th in the Top 14. However, with so many internationals, there is a strong test-match mentality which has saw them through the tournament so far.

Despite this second-string meeting playing second fiddle to Saturday’s Heineken Cup final, some fantastic head to head battles on the field have the potential to make this the more interesting fixture. One of the most interesting oppositions will lie at the back row, as Chris Robshaw, Nick Easter and Will Skinner for Quins up against Antoine Burban, James Haskell and Sergio Parisse, while at scrum half, the occasionally controversial Julien Dupuy will test his mettle against the ever energetic Danny Care.

What is certain, is that Leckwith is not going to know what’s hit it with two particularly voiciferous and passionate sets of fans baying for glory.  We’re particularly looking forward to hearing how loud the chants of ‘Uuuuuugooo!’ will be if Mr Monye works some magic.

Ones to watch:

Nick Easter, sometime England captain and cheeky cockney geezer is never a man to be afraid of putting his body on the line to create a chance.

Sergio Parisse, always. In fact, we’ll give you a tenner* if you can find a rugby player, writer or pundit that can say a bad thing about his play.

One to drool over during stoppage time: We know you lot love a bit of Danny Care action, but we’re going to go Mirco Bergamasco, mainly because Anna goes all gooey when he’s around.

*We wont

Words by Lauren

 

The inevitable macro post October 4, 2010

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Manpilez ladies and to apologise for the lack of Newspilez, we’re offering up a combination of two of our favourite things to appease you: rugby and macros. Manpilez: we do it for the lols.

It’s Macro, It’s Macro tiem.

 

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Source: unknown. Powered b y ROFLBOT.

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Source: unknown. Powered by ROFLBOT.

 

Newspilez: week ending 12 September 2010 September 13, 2010

Given that we Manpilez ladies are 75% Ospreys loyal (with the remaining 25% having both feet firmly in Wales), a certain issue about a certain twinkly-toed hypothermic man has not passed us by this week and we’re sure it didn’t miss you, either. Bearing that in mind…

  • The week ended on a positive for the Ospreys who, after having their four point defecit suspended on Friday morning, saw off Italian Magners newcomers Benetton Treviso at the Liberty Stadium with a 32-16 win. A more coherent performance than last week’s show against Ulster, the Ospreys went in on the attack and exploited a weak Treviso defence. Hideous weather conditions failed to improve throughout the game and there were plenty of slips and slides, not to mention a gutted Gareth Owen losing out on a try in a lamentable butterfingers moment. Pieman, Peddlar and Stig did some proper business, but we’ve not seen the best of the boys from Llandarcy yet this season. For about twenty lovely minutes, the Ospreys were roosting snugly at the top of the league, but were usurped once Munster fought to seal a three point victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

 

  • The big Saturday showdown saw Leinster take on Cardiff Blues in a game with more ups and downs than a kangaroo on a pogo stick. The first half was definitely in Leinster’s favour, but the Blues made a step change in the second and levelled before Leinster booted themselves up the behind for a charged final twenty minutes. Two tries in the last ten saw Leinster seal the deal 34-23.

 

  • Elsewhere in the Magners League, Newport Gwent Dragons seem to be upping their game and saw off Glasgow Warriors 23-11 in a scrappy clashing of heads at Rodney Park, while Scarlets slipped by with 35-33 win despite an early lead from Connacht. Kudos to Aironi, who, despite falling foul of Ulster in the final quarter to end on 15-22, really bit back in their first Magners League home game. Two Irish competitors down and two Welsh lined up in the coming weeks, only time will tell if the fire in their bellies be enough to keep Aironi afloat…

 

  • Over in England’s green and pleasant land, the Aviva Premiership is gathering pace with Bath currently leading the pack. Despite injurygeddon coming to the Rec, Bath managed a 20-13 victory over London Irish with everyone’s favourite reformed bad boy, Olly Barkley, putting the boot in to land five penalty kicks. In your face, Johnno.

 

  • Wasps suffered a massive upset at the hands of Newcastle Falcons, falling from 14 point lead grace to stumble home with a 29-17 defeat swimming before their eyes. With tries being disallowed left, right and centre, Quins were no doubt spitting to lose out 16-20 to Northampton Saints at the Stoop, while Sarries rose from the ashes of last week’s Twickenham defeat to beat Sale Sharks 28-13. Gloucester clawed back some dignity after their first round trouncing from Exeter but landed only the slimmest of victories over Leeds Carnegie with a final score of 22-21. Speaking of Exeter, the Chiefs were back to their old tricks at Welford Road on Saturday, at least for the first half of their head-to-head with current Aviva champs Leicester Tigers. Going into half time with a 20-10 lead, Exeter fought tooth and nail but were denied a second win as the Tigers finally pulled their socks up and turned the tide for an epic 11 point comeback in the final 16 minutes. Newcastle, you’re next and you’d be wise to not underestimate the west country boys!

 

  • Finally, a quick hop over the Channel to review the state of the Top 14. Our favourite boyband Stade Francais are having a bit of a shocker, currently practising their choreography and lipsynching in the bottom end of the league (stifle those giggles in the back) while their historic bitchslap counterparts Racing Metro 92 are flying high, three points behind leaders Aviron Bayonnais. The Racing boys took La Rochelle to the cleaners on Saturday 43-18 win that saw perennial injury-magnet Juan Martin Hernandez duck out early with a thigh complaint. Let’s hope he’s not Iantoed himself and will be fighting fit soon.

 

Words by Anna (ably abetted by Lauren)

 

The Hard Sell September 11, 2010

So, the new season has started and while everyone wants to talk form and predictions, I have turned my attention towards something altogether more inconsequential: the money-spinning (or not) world of rugby merchandise. Yeah, merchandise. Got a spare tenner? NO. Never have a spare tenner. There are so many valid things you could do with a tenner. You really, really don’t need novelty flip flops.

I have trawled the online stores for a handful of teams to assess their shoddy wares and to point the finger at the worst offenders when it comes to touting Pink Shit for Girls.

  • Find your way past the badly photoshopped picture of Olly Barkley in an unsightly hoodie and you’ll soon learn that Bath Rugby wants to BRAND YOUR LIFE. Not content with having an entire section dedicated to your goddamn car, Bath Rugby wants you to be rebellious (poker set, playing cards), trendy and tech savvy (latte mug, USB memory stick), a noisy twat (mini swivel drum) and… no, I haven’t quite decided the remit for the Big Balls Soap Set… All this and no less than seven – count ’em – different teddy bears. The Bath Rugby shop is the online equivalent of one of those tat catalogues that falls out of a Saturday tabloid. You never knew you needed all this pointless shit… and really, you don’t. Secret Santa heaven.
    Pink Shit for Girls? This is where Bath wins, big time. The pink is minimal and restricted mostly to hats.

 

  • For a team with the maxim Pink is Beautiful, the Stade Francais Boutique is woefully disappointing. Where’s the glamour, the innovation, the je ne sais quoi? Dull, dull, dull. Although I wouldn’t say no to the lightning bolt beach towel. Or the pants, if the right person was wearing them. Pink Shit for Girls? You bet your life. Pink shit for everyone!

 

Um...

  • Not content with having one of the ugliest kits in rugby union, Gloucester go to great lengths to offend eyes everywhere with an array of gubbins which looks as though it was salvaged from the a 1970s bargain bin. The more discerning drinker will be right at home in the Gloucester shop: MAN’S PINT GLASS, MAN’S WHISKEY TUMBLER and an elegant tulip glass perfectly suited for Glawsy ladies.

    Shoplifted from Poundland

    Pink Shit for Girls? Yes, in a shade best described as “spam”. Putrid.

 

  • Ah, Leinster. Where men are men and they play rugby, use Zippo lighters and wear bowties. After a fair bit of scouring, the Leinster shop is the only online rugby merchandise store where I’ve found both a lighter and a bowtie. Now that is eclectism. Take note, Stade. Also, if you ever need a bag, the Leinster store appears to be the place to go. BAGS, I’m telling you. Bags of bags.

 

  • I’m finding Munster hard to come to terms with. The red and blue just doesn’t correlate in my head. Granted, the red isn’t as offensive as Gloucester’s. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even have mentioned Munster were in not for the fact that they boast one of these bad boys:

    and if you don't love these, you have no soul

    Pink Shit for Girls? If it’s there, it’s well hidden. Bonus points for the awesome Munster wellies for kids!

 

  • For a no nonsense approach, look no further than Glasgow Warriors. This is a t-shirt. It is blue. It has some writing on it. It is a Glasgow Warriors t-shirt. You do not need to know anything else, go away. The layout of the entire shop keeps to this rule, to the point where they might as well have forgone the images and simply labelled each box “Generic Merchandise #1” and so forth. Inoffensive, but forgettable for it. Pink Shit for Girls? A very bland scarf. Meh.

 

  • The wallpaper border available from the Scarlets shop made me feel weirdly nostalgic. When was the last time you considered buying a wallpaper border? When was the last time you thought about wallpaper borders? You’re trying to remember the theme tune to Changing Rooms right now, aren’t you? I’ll give them back some points for the adorable Sosban Fach fridge magnets, however. Pink Shit for Girls? Yes. “Bright pink”, though strangely less offensive than the “SCARLET GODDESS” t-shirts, which are a bit market stall.

 

  • Ah, Racing Metro. New boys on the Heineken block. The GAP to Gloucester’s Matalan. Let’s overlook the fact that they have a lovely kit and let’s overlook the fact that Juan Martin Hernandez is the model du jour… (took me a bit longer to overlook that one) and review: nice retro tees, cute baby clothes, a spiffy little iPhone cover (if that’s your bag) and… Pink Shit for Girls? Absolutely none! It’s purple!

When it comes to merchandise, Racing are number Juan

Words by Anna, photos by various (roll over for details)

 

Newspilez – Week Ending 29th August 2010 August 30, 2010

With less than a week to go before the Magners League and Aviva Premiership (which we WILL remember is no longer anything to do with Guinness by the end of the season, promise) put boot to ball, we assess a rather busy week in Rugby land, considering…

With two games left of the seemingly never ending Tri Nations, South Africa came back from a dramatic opening in which visitors Australia scored 14 points in the first four minutes to win 44-31. Sadly for the Springboks, it’s still nowhere near enough to catch up to table leaders New Zealand, who’d better get the brasso out to keep that trophy shiny.

Meanwhile, the Women’s world cup has thundered on so quickly we can barely keep up. The most exciting news is that the England Ladies have fought their way through to Wednesday’s Semi Final at the Twickenham Stoop, where they will battle it out with Australia for a place in the final, with defenders New Zealand  fighting against France for their opportunity to make history by remaining the only side to ever take the title.

Sadly, our other home nations were not so lucky and Scotland and Ireland will go on to play for their ranking between 5th and 8th place while our poor lovely Wales ladies are going to be trudging on to claim their ranking between 9th and 12th place.

As ever, Manpilez will be cheering on all four home nations but as you can imagine we’re all hoping  that England show those Black ferns a bit of what for  and bring that trophy to the homeland!

Bloodgate has continued to make headlines as the enquiry by the British Medical council got underway to determine the fate of the doctor who got mixed up in the whole sorry mess. Sadly, this story reached the point where everyone was past caring nearly a year ago so the stories served only to help us take mid-commute naps…

Following on from last week’s retained captaincy update, this week we got the breaking news that the new captain of Stade Francais Sergio ‘The Big Man’ Parisse will now also be known as ‘The Big Daddy’ after his wife gave birth to a beautiful baby.  Aaaaw!

Closer to home, news came in from Ospreylia that in order to concentrate on Wales’ World Cup efforts, Ryan Jones will no longer be wearing the armband for this season but it will be ably filled by none other than Mr Alun-Wyn Jones.  We tried to write a non-hormone led reaction to this news, but we failed so let’s just say that we’re very pleased, yeah?

In Ellie’s homeland, Cardiff,  the Blues got their campaign under way in a last gasp friendly in the form of a testimonial for good ole Nugget. We couldn’t make it ourselves but after speaking to some reliable sources, here’s our Ellie with a report …

Cardiff Blues V. Newport Dragons – 27th August 2010

Picture from Huw Evans at www.welshrugbypics.co.uk

Nuggest runs in support of the all new Beef Halfpenny

Well, I’m sorry to say that I missed the first Blues friendly match on Friday, and seeing as it wasn’t on the telly I can’t give you a personal view of how it went. Still, I’ve talked to a few friends who made the tripand have since read some fans’ reactions, and it all sounds promising! Our new fly half, Mr. Dan Parks, went down very well with his tactical kicking and general level-headedness, and Martyn Williams (whoseTestimonial game it was) played a blinder as ever. We love you, Nugget – NEVER LEAVE US.

Bradley Davies and Richie Rees are just getting better and better every time we see them, full stop. Great tosee Richie getting to play with Parksy, in what’ll hopefully become a classy double act, and Bradley paired up with lock-in-crime and head honcho, Tito. Tiiiito.

Judging from the pictures, Pencey’s beefed up big time over the Summer and was apparently almost unrecognisable with his beard and minus the previously omnipresent scrum cap. There seem to be a few worried mutterings going round that the new bumper sized Pencey might be a wee bit slower too – only time will tell!

Shanks appears to be back on top and working extremely well with Casey Laulala, our excellent signing from last season, the pair of them guarding the field with everything they’ve got. He scored one of our three tries too, but did go off in the second half with what looked like an injured wrist – here’s hoping it’s nothing serious – I want him back and giving old Jamie some competition.

Two more tries were scored by Ma’ama Molitika and Lloyd Williams, while the Dragons’ only points came from a penalty kick by the ever-sharp Jason Tovey.

Scott Morgan and Robin Sowden-Taylor – both Blues boys last season, now Dragons – both caused some nice trouble around the pitch, but the Dragons were definitely having some difficulties due to a current swathe of injuries. Jonathan Evans was their only fit scrum half, and so was required to play the whole match.

All in all, a solid friendly to start the season. Three yellow cards (we expect no less from a Cardiff/Newport game!) and a good crowd of 10,016 supporters.

Cardiff Blues Squad: 15. Chris Czekaj 14. Leigh Halfpenny 13. Casey Laulala 12. Tom Shanklin 11. Tom James 10. Dan Parks 9. Richie Rees 8. Xavier Rush 7. Martyn Williams 6. Maama Molitika 5. Paul Tito (c) 4. Bradley Davies 3. Scott Andrews 2. Rhys Williams 1. Tom Davies

Replacements: 16. Sam Hobbs 17. Kristian Dacey 18. John Yapp 19. Deiniol Jones 20. James Down 21. Tom Brown 22. Michael Paterson 23. Sam Warburton 24. Lloyd Williams 25. Ceri Sweeney 26. Gavin Evans 27. Richard Mustoe

Newport Gwent Dragons Squad: 15. Matt Evans 14. Will Harries 13. Tom Riley 12. David Bishop 11 Aled Brew 10. Jason Tovey 9. Jonathan Evans  1. Hugh Gustafson 2. Tom Willis (Capt) 3. Ben Castle 4. Adam Jones 5. Scott Morgan 6. Joe Bearman 7. Robin Sowden Taylor 8. Hugo Ellis

Replacements: 16. Steve Jones 17. Nigel Hall 18. Pat Palmer 19. Ali Mckenzie 20. Adam Brown  21. Danny Lydiate 22. Lewis Evans 23. Jevon Groves 24. Matthew Jones 25. Tom Cooper 26 Adam Hughes 27. Nicky Griffiths 28. Matthew Pewtner

Words by Lauren and Ellie

 

Rawr Data Team Profile: Stade Francais August 26, 2010

Filed under: Rawr Data,Stade Francais,Team Profile,Teams — Manpilez @ 9:37 pm
Tags: ,

Anna turns her profiling eye to the joy and the sheer madness that is Uncle Gigi’s  ‘hood.

Stade Francais

Picture by Stade Francais

Un Pile Du Stade

When I first got into rugby, there was never a question of if I would fall in love with Stade Francais. It was only ever a matter of how long it would take…
Stade Francais, in their current guise, are a marketing dream come true in glorious technicolour. While it would be very easy to be cynical about the commercial success of the club, it is also difficult to not be impressed by their rise to notoreity in French rugby after a half century slump.
The club dates back to 1883, though you’d be forgiven for not knowing about those first hundred years or so, despite early success, as the modern day Stade Francais tends to… overshadow, shall we say, the club’s origins. It was in 1992, when businessman Max Guazzini took over as president, that Stade properly stepped into the limelight and started to become the elite squad that we have come to recognise in all their rose-tinted glory.
Uncle Max (or Gigi, as the Manpilez ladies affectionately know him) had a simple vision: to give the people of Paris a team that they could support and love. Bernard Laporte was drafted in as Head Coach and turned the tide for Stade, taking them from the third to first division over the course of three seasons. Gigi, meanwhile, was weaving his marketing magic to get those Parisien bottoms on seats and suddenly Stade Francais CASG was an all-singing, all-dancing, cheerleading, flag-waving force to be reckoned with. Then came the shirts. And the calendars.
Picture by Stade

Yeah, those ones.

The boys have come close to Heineken Cup glory twice, being pipped at the post by Leicester and Toulouse in 2001 and 2005 respectively. Their 2009-10 outing proved to be disappointing as they were, frankly, washed by Toulouse and sent out in the Quarter Finals. Stade’s last season was a bit of a nightmare all in all, so they’ll certainly be hoping for better things in 2010-11 and I fear they could do worse than the Big Man himself, Sergio Parisse, stepping up to take on skipper duties. Godspeed, Stade. You just might be my second team, at least for the next season…
Words by Anna, Pictures by Stade Francais