Christmas means yet another excuse for charitable, warm hearted and randomly bare chested photo shoots…
Adventpilez 2010 – December 9: Snowball Fight, take two… December 9, 2010
Newspilez – Week Ending 14th November 2010 November 16, 2010
What a weekend, hey, dear readers?
Week two of the Autumn International Series was an out and out nail biter from start to bitter end.
Saturday saw an ill-advised simultaneous kick off of the Ireland V Samoa, Wales V South Africa and
England V Australia games.
Sadly, this meant we didn’t get to see BOD almighty’s boys take on Samoa, but all reports we’ve seen
heard and read have described their 20-10 win as ‘unconvincing’. I’d call 10 points pretty convincing
but then I didn’t see it…
However, it was this side of the sea where all the excitement was happening. Wales very nearly kept
the South African wolves from the Millennium Stadium door with one of the most nailbiting and
controversial displays this reporter has seen in a very long time. From the starting whistle, our boys
in red were fierce and seemed to get the Springboks on the back foot for much of the first half, going
into the break leading by 20-9 after a scorching try from newcomer George North and some spot on
Kicking from Superstephen. However, the beginning of the second half saw the ‘Boks have a golden
spell, crashing over the line twice within five minutes and creating a four point lead from which the
Cymro’s could not recover, despite valliant efforts.
Fair play to the Springboks (that makes a change!) their defence was SOLID in the face of some
stellar Welsh attack, and the ball was firmly in the South African 22 for most of the last 20 minutes
as our boys tried to eake out one last, winning try but sadly it was not to be.
As if our pulses weren’t already racing, by the time the final whistle blew in the Millennium stadium
we were already getting word that something amazing had happened at Twickenham. England had
beaten Australia. Again. Convincingly.
A lot will be said about the fiercness of the pack in the face of the Aussie’s woeful scrimmaging, a lot
will be said about Ben Young’s mad skillz at 9, and Crofty’s Is-He-A-Flanker-Is-He-A-Winger presence
all over the field but most of the talk is of Chris Ashton. The Northampton Saints winger placed
himself firmly in the heart of every rubgy loving Englishman and woman after having scored a brace
against the Wallabies, both fantastic tries but non so much as his second.
From Deep in Enemy territory, inches away from the English try line, Good ole Ashy got the ball, saw
a gap…. and run the ENTIRE length of the field. The papers have been doing their best over the last
few days to describe how epic it was, some have done it in words, but many have tried graphics with
varying degrees of success. To us, it looked a bit like this:
That is to say, pretty impressive, and the kind of try we’ll be talking about for years (like that
Of course, the RFU don’t do humble, so now it’s a New English Renaissance, they’ve been pushed up
to fourth in the world rankings and they’re CONVINCED the World Cup is a formality.
Come on boys, that was awesome, don’t ruin it by running your mouths off. Oh, too late…
Up in Bonnie Scotland, Murrayfield was done up to look like Brigadoon with lone pipers, smoke and
fire and some incredible atmosphere. They got us so fired up that for a moment we even started
to believe they might actually give The Best Team In The World (TM) a run for their money. Sadly
the whistle blew and all that went south, way south, pretty quickly and after 78 painful minutes of
seeing earnest Scotsman after Earnest Scotsman fall to the Kiwis, the ref blew the whistle, with the
score at 3-49, clearly not wanting to add insult to Max Evans’ shoulder injury that had halted play.
More provincially, the LV= kicked off for the last time till January this weekend, with two big grudge
matches. Ospreys v Leicester in Bridgend and Wasps V Bath down in High Wycombe. We were very
pleased to see the Ospreys storm the Brewery Field with our gaggle of youngsters managing to
put 46 points past the Tigers who clocked up 13 points of their own. Wasps and Bath fought it out
valiantly to end 18-16 to the alleged Londoners. Elsewhere the Scarlets travelled to London Irish
and thoroughly trounced them with 26 points to 35 and Harlequins won 28-20 against Newcastle
Sadly, the Weekend did not end on as positive note as it started. It was announced on Sunday
Evening that two players from the Springbok camp had failed their random drug tests after their
game against Ireland a week previously. Both Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson have taken early
planes back to South Africa after being handed bans by the IRB on the recommendation of Six
Nations Rugby who carried out the test. Both tested positive for ‘non specified’ banned stimulant
methylhexaneamine, a nasal decongestant only recently added to the watch list, and one which
Springbok Management are claiming, somewhat plausibly, came from flu medication. Either way this
may not be as serious as it sounds, but it’s put everyone on alert. Are players fully aware of what is a
supplement and what is going to ruin their career? Or is this part of a deeper problem?
As ever, we like to end on a hormonal note. This week we’re turning our sights to the impending
Bottom of the Ruck Awards. What started off as a bit of a lark on twitter has turned into a glitzy awards
ceremony at Twickenham with a raft of Rugby Stars.
Austin Healey will be presiding over the event and many of the nominees will be trying to prove their
bottom is best, all in the name of Beating Bowel Cancer. We’ve already voted but if you want to rate
Dan Carter against Adam Jones or Brian O’Driscoll against James Haskell, get to the website then get
your glad rags on!
And before we go: Player Of the week!
A shared award this week as, in complete tandem two men put themselves in the history books of
rugby in fine style this Saturday.
The First; George North: The third youngest player to be capped for Wales came out of the traps
like he’d been ready for it since the day he was born. He worked the entire field and went over for a
brace of stunning tries. His future looks bright.
Chris Ashton: Because that try was more than great.
Words by Lauren, bad photoshop by Lauren
Rawr Data Player Profile: Stephen Jones August 15, 2010
Next up on our world tour of the players whose various talents have caught the eye of the Manpilez team is none other than former Wales captain, proud Lion and primary wearer of the red number 10 shirt… Mr Stephen Jones.
Stephen ‘The Count’ Jones
Stephen is 32, 6 foot, and heading on for 15 stones. He plays fly-half for Wales and the Scarlets and made his debut for Wales in 1998 when he was 20 years old.
He was a member of the disastrous 2005 Lions Tour, but was second choice fly-half to an injured Jonny Wilkinson. Stephen’s performance in the 2005 Wales Grand Slam had been brilliant, especially in the hugely exciting game against France – he scored 14 points, including a drop goal, and made a huge 60 metre break up field which shocked everyone and set up a try for Martyn Williams.
He was also a part of the 2009 Lions Tour, and started every test match in the tour whilst also breaking the Lions record for most points scored against South Africa in the second test. He’s currently tenth in the international all-time list of leading Rugby Union test point scorers.
Unfortunately, no kicker is ever 100% successful and he’s come up against some stiff competition for the shirt in recent time against the likes of James Hook, Dan Biggar and even Lee Halfpenny. One thing’s for certain, we love seeing Stephen donning the red shirt but when it comes to the Magners League he’s a massive threat in scarlet…
Words by Ellie, Picture source unknown