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Messages - TheGuv

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Other Senior Rugby / Re: R.I.P. Andrew Arnell
« on: January 18, 2021, 10:31:07 AM »
Very sad to hear of the lads. My thoughts and condolences to his family, friends and all at BBOB. I read his obituary on the BBOB website and must say he must have been a terrific bloke and rugby player. A sad loss.

Andrew started his rugby career at Rovers but moved to Brigade at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. Since then he has been the heart beat of the club, almost single handedly ensuring our survival when it looked as if we would fold a few seasons back. Andrew epitomised what it was to be a rugby player, never taking a step backwards on the pitch, no matter the difference in size, yet once the game was over you would struggle to find a more humble, unassuming man. He would make time for anyone and was always the first to welcome new players to the club. Andrew could cut teammates in half with a put down for not pulling their weight (if I was your size I would be playing for England being a personal favorite), but likewise would have you walking off the pitch feeling ten feet tall after giving you praise. Players would run through brick walls for Andrew, knowing he would, and had, done the same for them. The picture shown is from our last game pre covid, which would ultimately prove to be Andrew's last. He is shown, as always, leading from the front.

In his time at Brigade Andrew played 211 games, scored 83 tries, spent 5 years as captain, was 3 times player of the year, 2 times leading try scorer and a clubman of the year.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rachel, Daniel, Olivia, Eric, Cath, Paul and the rest of the family at this heartbreaking time.

RIP Arnie you were loved by everyone who had the pleasure of pulling on a shirt with you.

Inevitable. I still think (Hope) we may get a few old school friendlies in place in April/May.

Hmmmm, I think there’s nearly no hope of this now. Will clubs’ first proper fixture since March 2020 be in August 2021 for pre season?

I thought the referee had a shocker today.

Falcons losing 21-17. An attacking scrum on their 5m and the referee shouts for the Falcons to ‘use it’ just as the Falcons crunch their scrum and were clearly about to score/receive a penalty/penalty try and the referee gives Bristol the put in. A huge turning point.

Saying that, I thought the Falcons were pretty poor in the second half and deserved the defeat. They ended up 50m behind the gain line at one point. No Plan B at times.

Good start to the season however and should be more than comfortable in staying up.

Durham & Northumberland One / Re: RFU league changes
« on: December 28, 2020, 11:17:07 AM »
Brian Moore in today’s Torygraph:

As 2020 comes to its baleful end, what started as the countdown year to the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa and the first step on the next world cup cycle has become a battle for survival for much of the game.

Most people had hoped that this calendar year would see the last effects of Covid, but it looks increasingly likely that the whole of the 2020/21 season is going to be written off for grass-roots clubs. When they can resume training and playing it will be with fewer players and teams and every side lost within a club might take years to come back.

There will be one or two clubs that do not survive, with all attendant effects for that locality.

Given that this level of rugby has another reenforced period of inactivity, the local committees and relevant RFU constituent bodies should take this time to consider far reaching changes to the structure of the game at local level. Measures need to be taken to restore the game to localities, to reduce costs and recreate the old rivalries that used to sustain the grass-roots.

There should be a purposeful review of every ladder of the league structure and clubs should consider whether they want to stay in the present top-to-bottom promotion and relegation structure or to secede back into local merit tables that feature only teams from their locality.

There has not been a serious realignment of grass-roots rugby since the league structure was introduced and for every club that has flourished, there is one who wishes it could go back to the way things were. Let us be clear, the national league system should remain for all clubs who want to rise through leagues, but promotion should be optional and if the winning teams do not wish to take on a vastly expanded schedule of travel that comes with promotion to the next level, they should be allowed to decline promotion. Whether their place would be taken by the runners up or no side would be promoted is a matter for discussion, but the consent point is the most important.

There is growing evidence that many clubs do not want and cannot afford the extra burdens that promotion into national structures brings. For the couple of years they spend in the higher leagues, their club changes a little bit further and gets away from what it was and what many would like it to be. And for what? A temporary rise up a league structure that remains opaque to nearly all but those involved and whose benefits are arguable.

The restoration of local derbies, where clubs and players win one year and lose the next, is closer to ethos of junior club rugby. It is cheaper, more fun and, crucially, takes far less time. No need for four-hour coach journeys there and back just to fulfil a fixture. More time spent with team-mates and opponents and better returns over the club bar. Junior club rugby has a chance to reset itself and it should take it.

Within the higher echelons of the game the product can be made more entertaining with small alterations, none of which require radical action, just the will and commitment to change.

None of what comes next is revolutionary and it has all been mentioned in previous articles. Setting time limits on scrums and lineouts completing would be speed the game up and prevent the interminable lags in action where, literally, nothing happens. If the team who is awarded the put in or throw in it goes to the other side. You would see that every team was suddenly ready. They really do not need the committee meeting that takes place before each set piece; they only have one because referees allow it.

Stopping the game clock until the ball is back in play is not the way to tackle this issue of tardiness because all what will happen is the teams will take even longer to get the ball back into play, claiming that they are ultimately not taking any time out of the game. In the meantime, the crowd and viewers at home will be left with even longer periods of inactivity.

The same approach should be taken for kicks at goal and kicks to touch. The present time limits are too long, and kickers routines have evolved to take advantage of every second allowed. There would be a few complaints at first but watch how seamlessly professional players would adapt to this new regime and you would soon wonder why there was any debate about it in the first place.

We all want our game back as soon as possible but why not go that bit further and make it better whilst we have the chance?

National Leagues/North One East / Billingham Win
« on: December 27, 2020, 06:28:44 PM »
A strong Billingham side or a weak Stockton side or was it a bit of both?

Nice to see two local clubs playing each other.

Those at either club to provide an update on the game would be great!

FT. Billingham 82-0 Stockton

Durham & Northumberland One / Re: Contact Rugby back in January ?
« on: December 04, 2020, 09:23:51 AM »
Was just thinking this means any planned friendly between Percy Park (North Tyneside) and Northern (Newcastle) can’t go ahead?

Similarly, I live in North Shields (North Tyneside) but Novos are in Newcastle. Hmmm...

Durham & Northumberland One / Re: Contact Rugby back in January ?
« on: December 03, 2020, 08:35:26 PM »
Confirmed by NRU.

"A player cannot travel from one local authority to another to PLAY or TRAIN whilst we are in Tier 3. For example, a player living in Morpeth, Northumberland cannot travel to Novocastrians, Newcastle to play or train".

That'll be tricky for clubs like Blyth or Seghill close to the border of Northumberland. I assume it'll be pretty similar for clubs based in Tyne and Wear with people living in County Durham. Curse the 1974 Local Government Act!

Other Senior Rugby / Re: Dr George Douglas
« on: December 03, 2020, 05:38:15 PM »
Sorry to hear that Mugsy.

I believe Steve's son was selected for an England U18 training camp recently. Clearly a talented rugby family.


Durham & Northumberland One / Re: Fixtures
« on: December 03, 2020, 03:44:55 PM »
Good for them. Where have you heard this?

I doubt many other clubs will have anything organised for 2020.

Other Senior Rugby / Re: Is modern rugby more exciting?
« on: December 02, 2020, 06:29:45 PM »
Just to make a pertinent point - I saw this on the Falcons' twitter today...

Even though it's 50 years ago, I would rather watch this 'old fashioned' rugby as opposed to the robotic rugby of today!


Current Newcastle Falcons supporters have become used to watching international sides playing in the city. In addition to the three Rugby World Cup group matches in 2015 and last year’s visit of Italy to St James’ Park, Tonga played the Falcons at Kingston Park whilst Georgia began their 2015 RWC warm-up there against the Falcons.

Whilst Newcastle has worked hard to establish itself as a ‘rugby city’, visits from international teams in the amateur era were few and far between, and it is remarkable therefore that the old Northumberland County Ground in Gosforth hosted two international sides in 1970.

The North East Counties XV played host to the touring Springboks in early January in a match played under tight security to deter anti-apartheid protesters, but on October 24 the ground witnessed one of the biggest shocks in world rugby when the Barbarians played Fiji in front of the BBC Rugby Special cameras.

The Barbarians team comprised 15 full internationals nine of whom would tour New Zealand with the British Lions the following summer.

This was Fiji’s first ever tour to England, and when the party arrived in London in early October dressed in blazers and calf-length skirts their coach announced that their play would be as unorthodox as their dress.

He said: “We keep on running. It suits our style of play not to get too involved in rucking, although of course we place as much emphasis as all rugby teams on possession from set pieces. My players are so devoted to attack that there will be no going back on our methods, even if we are narrowly in front with just a few minutes left.”

The party was hampered by the lack of a recognised goalkicker, and early signs were not auspicious. A convincing victory over Devon and Cornwall (17-3) was followed by a draw against Midland Counties (16-16), victory over NW.Counties and then a defeat (6-14) to a North Eastern Counties XV including Gosforth’s Dave Parker and Roger Uttley.

Pre-match ticket sales went well. With no internet sales in those days, members of the public wishing to buy tickets could obtain them from Stan Seymour’s sports shop on the corner of Market Street and Pilgrim Street. All seats had been sold by October 19, but standing tickets could still be purchased for eight shillings (40p in new money) and four shillings (20p).

Both teams arrived in Newcastle on the evening of the 22nd. Whilst the Fijians trained on the Friday morning, the Baa Baas played golf, although they did hold their sole training session in the afternoon at Northern.

The match itself, played in front of a packed house, exceeded all expectations.

After a first half which did little to set the pulse racing saw the teams turn around at 3-3, the tourists ran amok creating carnage almost every time they had the ball. They played fifteen-man rugby in its truest sense, running in six second-half tries all from open play.

Some of the most impressive running came from the tight forwards displaying impressive athleticism and handling skill which drew comparisons with the famous Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. The space they created enabled the majority of the tries to be scored sufficiently close to the posts to ensure that four of the tries were converted, leaving the final score at 29-9.

To put that in perspective, under today’s points scoring that would equate to 43-13 in the humbling of one of the strongest teams ever assembled in the UK.

Pot-match praise for the tourists was suitably effusive. The Journal’s rugby correspondent, John Pargeter, wrote: “It is doubtful if any tourists to this country have ever captured the imagination of the rugby-playing fraternity – let alone the general public – as have the Fijians. Their carefree tactics, sometimes described as fanciful, exuberant and more like the Harlem Globetrotters, are in complete contrast to the dedicated drilling of British sides which is making them more and more stereotyped.”

The Northumberland President Telford Moralee said: “I don’t think we will ever see anything like it again. It was absolutely wonderful rugby, and short of completely closing up the whole game, I don’t know what the counter is. Their attacks came from all angles. Their front five in the pack were marvellous, and their display can do nothing but good for the game.”

Other commentators made a plea for the domestic sides to adopt a similar approach to playing the game. In a follow-up piece to his match report, Pargeter asked: “Is this the trend England should take and not to pattern play on the all-powerful All Blacks, with everything hinging on a pack smothering the finer points of the game which, after all, was started…..by William Webb-Ellis who RAN with the ball in his hands? Kicking has killed rugby as a spectator sport…”

Sadly, it was not to be. The tourists could not replicate this performance and lost several of their remaining tour matches as opponents realised that the ‘counter’ to this style of play was simply to deny the Fijians possession. The reality is that this type of performance is only possibility when playing against opponents who are intent on playing in the same way, as were the Baa Baas.

Happily, highlights of the BBC’s coverage of the game can still be viewed on You Tube by clicking here for the shorter package, or here for the extended version.

The teams that day were as follows:

Barbarians: JPR Williams (Wales); ATA Duggan (Ireland); JS Spencer (England); DJ Duckham (England); P.Bennett (Wales); GO Edwards (Wales); PJ O’Callaghan (Ireland); FA Laidlaw (Scotland); DB Llewellyn (Wales); WD Thomas (Wales); A.M.Davies (England); R.J. Arneil (Scotland); JF Slattery (Ireland); R.Quinnell (Wales).

Fiji: J.Visei; R.Latilevu; S.Nasave; K.Latilevu; P.Tikoisuva; K.Nalatu; G.Barley; I. Batibasaga; J.Sovan; J.Nacabaluva; A.Racike; J.Quoro; N.Ravovou; S.Toga; I.Tuisese.

The referee was Mr TFE Grierson from the Scottish Rugby Football Union.

The Fijian winger, Pio Bosco Tikoisuva, went on the play in 19 tests for Fiji. Following the 1970 tour he was recruited by Harlequins and went to play for the Barbarians in matches against Leicester and France. In 2001 he became the first professional CEO of the Fijian Rugby Union and in 2008 he was appointed High Commissioner for Fiji in London.

The Fijian connection with Newcastle has of course been re-established in recent years with a number of Fijian internationals, most notably Vereniki Goneva, Josh Matavesi, Tevita ‘Tex’ Cavubati and Nemani Nagusa, all plying their trade at Kingston Park.

JPR Williams, one of the most famous players to wear the red of Wales, was no stranger to the North East, having played in the Northumberland Tennis Championships in each of the previous two years.

As for the old County Ground in Gosforth, it is of course no more. Having begun life as the Gosforth Cycling Grounds and at one stage operating as the County Athletics Ground, it hosted greyhound racing between 1932 and 1987, one of three licensed Dog Tracks in the city.

It is not entirely clear when the Northumberland Rugby Union acquired the site. The pitch and dog track were surrounded by covered grandstands offering a mix of seated and standing accommodation. A brick pavilion was built to incorporate dressing rooms and offices, and latterly a bar. Northern and Gosforth played their home fixtures on the ground until 1937 and 1955 respectively, but thereafter its rugby use was limited to a handful of representative games and county cup finals.

Pitch maintenance was pretty basic, with the grass grown long and frost protection consisting of a generous covering of straw.

With the loss of income from the dog racing the decision was made to sell the ground in 1988, and the stadium was demolished to make way for the ASDA supermarket that stands on the site today. The sale proceeds of approximately £2.5m were eventually invested in a series of trusts for the benefit of rugby in the county, with the income from the invested capital being used to complement the central funding available to clubs and constituent bodies from other sources.

Shorter Video:

Extended Video:

Durham & Northumberland One / Re: Contact Rugby back in January ?
« on: December 01, 2020, 08:53:55 AM »
December 18th apparently.

No scrums, mauls, showers or pints (currently).

Other Senior Rugby / Is modern rugby more exciting?
« on: November 26, 2020, 01:02:25 PM »
I got into a bit of a debate on twitter.

One bloke was basically saying that rugby today is much better than anything you see in the 80s and 90s (as the highlights you witness are the best of that time - which I completely understand). My opinion was that rugby today is more sterile, has far too many stoppages and the games last forever (TMO, scrum resets etc). I gave one example of the RWC Opening game vs Fiji which lasted over 100 minutes (he disagreed as he has seen a game of it on youtube and said it was 90 minutes). I corrected him with a live match update from the Guardian which shows the game lasted 103 minutes. Line here: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2015/sep/18/england-v-fiji-rugby-world-cup-live


Is the game more or less exciting these days? The game has changed so much (even from the early 00s) and I put most of this blame around the set piece and TMO. We can always disagree with opinions but you can't ever change my mind that watching a game is as open and asexciting as even 15-20 years ago, let alone the matches I've watched from the 80's and 90's.


Other Senior Rugby / Re: NZ v Argentina
« on: November 21, 2020, 09:38:26 AM »
Watching the Argentina v Australia game. Last play of the first half and Australia score a try. The last pass leading to the try was clearly, CLEARLY a forward pass. The TJ is in line with it and the referee is in a good position. Why oh why, do we waste a minute of celebrating when the players deep down kow it was forward?

Can officials no longer make on field decisions? I’d scrap TMO tomorrow if I could. When it was first brought in it was great - but now it’s for every decision. It’s ruining rugby and it’s now ruining football too. The only sport it works in is cricket - and even then - it’s up to the captain’s jurisdiction if it is used. Can a review system not be implemented in rugby?

Other Senior Rugby / Re: NZ v Argentina
« on: November 15, 2020, 09:32:43 AM »
Haven’t seen it but my jaw dropped when I saw the result, first back to back defeat for the All Blacks  since 2011. I wonder when they last lost 3 in a row and what the odds are in a home Argentina win next week are....?

Durham & Northumberland One / Re: Contact Rugby back in January ?
« on: November 15, 2020, 09:29:31 AM »
Seems rather sensible

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