Israeli Settlement

Heh:

Rugby Australia (RA) says it “did not back down” by reaching a financial settlement with player Israel Folau after he was sacked for making homophobic comments.

The ex-Wallabies star sued RA for A$14m (£7.4m; $9.5m) after his contract was terminated in May.

Similarly, France didn’t surrender in 1940.

The parties settled for an undisclosed amount, according to a joint statement on Wednesday.

“We had to make a decision that was right for rugby in this country,” RA chief Raelene Castle said at a news conference in Sydney.

And which by pure coincidence has saved us the humiliation of losing a costly lawsuit.

“We stick to our values that inclusiveness is absolutely core to rugby.”

So Izzy’s being reinstated then, is he? Lord knows, it’s not like you couldn’t use him after your lacklustre performance in the World Cup which saw you beaten by both England and Wales.

She said taking the matter to court was not in the interests of the game and the eventual decision was “more cost-effective for us”.

But not as cost-effective as complying with the law in the first place, I expect.

“So we made a decision that gave us cost certainty that put us in the best financial decision entering the new year in a positive way,” she said.

This rearguard action is as impressive as that against Wales in the second half.

“I think it’s clear to say our values are not aligned and the expectations that Rugby Australia would have of Israel coming back into the sport would not be acceptable.

Presumably by “our values are not aligned” she means that Folau at least refrains from trampling people’s rights and being forced into costly legal settlements. Note the woman who heads Rugby Australia isn’t stepping down over this, and why should she? It’s not her money, after all. What price virtue signalling, eh?

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Florida Turn-Bike

From The Daily Mail:

A polyamorous woman has fallen pregnant by one of her four partners after they went away together – but says they will raise the baby as a ‘family’.

Tory Ojeda, 20, from Jacksonville, Florida, met one of her partners Marc, 18, in high school and then started a relationship with Travis, 23, two months later.

Their love story began three years ago and she has since announced her engagement to Travis in July.

She also found love with their long-term mutual friends Ethan, 22, and Christopher, 22. While seven months ago, Tory and Chris found out that they were pregnant with a baby girl.

At least it’s good to see they don’t conform to any stereotypes about polyamorists:


What’s the betting the kid either runs away from home or is taken in by social services before age 15?

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Dumb baggery

Now there’s a surprise:

Sales of “bags for life” rose to 1.5bn last year as the amount of plastic used by supermarkets increased to 900,000 tonnes, Greenpeace research has found.

Many supermarkets have stopped selling 5p single-use bags altogether in favour of stronger 10p bags, which are intended to be reused.

A study by the Environment Agency concluded that these plastic bags for life needed to be used at least four times to ensure they contributed less to climate change than the lighter, single-use bags.

Y’know, it might have been a good idea to have investigated the relative effects of different bags on the environment before lobbying idiotic politicians into passing laws banning the most useful and popular type. But as I like to point out, this is driven by emotions not rationality.

The Greenpeace and EIA research says that bag for life sales were cut by 90% in the Republic of Ireland by setting higher prices of 70 cents. The report recommends a charge of 70p or “ideally” a government ban.

The charge appears to be based on that of another country, only changing the currency without even bothering with exchange rates, let alone purchasing power. I suppose we should be grateful the unwashed clowns at Greenpeace didn’t take Venezuela as the test case. And what is everyone supposed to use to carry groceries if there is an outright ban on plastic bags? Re-purposed drawstrung elephant scrota?

The research also found that overall supermarket plastic use has risen to more than 900,000 tonnes in 2018, despite pledges by retailers to cut down on packaging.

The previous year, they used 886,000 tonnes of single-use plastic packaging.

The report found that supermarkets had slightly reduced the plastic from own-brand goods but that packaging from branded goods increased.

In other words, they’ve spent years hounding the wrong part of the supply chain. These are the people who wish to be in charge of a command and control economy.

Fiona Nicholls, ocean plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Supermarkets are failing on plastics and failing their customers.

“We hear piecemeal supermarket announcements on plastic every other week, but in reality they are putting more plastic on the shelves than ever.”

These supermarkets are failing their customers in the same way coke dealers are failing London property developers.

Only Tesco has given suppliers an ultimatum to cut plastic use or see their products removed from the shelves.

Perhaps their management are not happy with the pace at which they are losing market share and wish it to quicken?

Waitrose was ranked top for cutting its packaging and trying out refill stations for products such as coffee, rice, pasta, wine and detergent.

The Waitrose near me in St. Katherine Docks serves coffee in porcelain cups, but doesn’t let you leave with them. In other words, it’s a cafe serving people who have time to loaf around in the middle of the day drinking coffee. And we’re back to London property developers again. Meanwhile, nobody seems concerned about the amount of plastic used in women’s makeup:

I wonder why that is?

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Lez have a fight

Remember my post about the two lesbians being attacked on the upper deck of a London bus?

So here’s what I think happened. These two women are political activists, steeped in third-wave feminism and high on the fumes of the extremely dangerous narrative that women can go head-to-head with men and come out on top. They were on this bus when they encountered a bunch of feral thugs of the sort who plague British cities but remain untouchable thanks to the efforts of the same lefty do-gooders who encourage open displays of homosexual affection.

I expect these women, being foreign, didn’t sense the danger. Maybe they believed Sadiq Khan’s tweets about London being a welcoming utopia where diversity is celebrated by all? So when these thugs first noticed them instead of getting up and leaving or moving closer to other passengers, they engaged, perhaps with some sassy feminist boilerplate while thinking feral British youths have some sort of code about smacking women around. Big mistake.

Via Julia, here’s a video of the incident:

Which pretty much confirms my original suspicions. Note that it appears it was one of the women who started the physical altercation, something the report is careful to conceal but it explains why they’ve been charged with public order offences and not assault:

At approximately 0230hrs on Thursday, 30 May, two women, both aged in their 20s, boarded the bus in West Hampstead.

As they sat on the top deck, they were approached by a group of males who began to make lewd and homophobic comments and gestures to them.

A fight ensued which left both victims with wounds to their faces after being punched several times by the suspects and a phone and bag were stolen.

If you or I were to punch a feral scumbag on a bus for making lewd gestures, we’d either be nicked for assault or beaten up in return with the police showing no interest whatsoever. But as I’m fond of saying, the term protected classes means just that:

The investigating officer, Detective Constable Darren Barlow, from the Met’s Roads and Transport Command (RTPC), said: “No one should ever be victimised because of their sexuality and I hope that this result brings some form of closure to both victims and they can put this ordeal behind them.

Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, from the Met’s Roads and Transport Command, said: “Any Hate Crime on London’s transport network, or anywhere else in London, will absolutely not be tolerated. The Met’s RTPC officers will always fully investigate crimes that are committed on the bus network and we would urge anyone who has been a victim of crime to contact us.

“The transport network in London is, and remains, extremely safe and occurrences of this nature are few-and-far between.”

Mandy McGregor, Head of Transport Policing and Community Safety at TfL, said: “This sickening incident was utterly unacceptable. Homophobic abuse is a hate crime and won’t be tolerated on our network. All of our customers have the right to travel without fear of verbal or physical abuse.

The police have wheeled out three people in succession to remind us they will not tolerate protected classes being assaulted by violent, teenage thugs as if they were just ordinary members of the public. Nor will the protected classes be punished for throwing the first punch. I wouldn’t mind them protecting only their preferred demographics if they’d let the rest of us drown feral scumbags in the Thames, but if we tried to do that we’d find Plod suddenly on their side. I’ll say this for our ruling classes, they let us ordinary plebs know where we stand.

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Totally Lost

Via reader Gavin Longmuir, this:

Total SA has joined Royal Dutch Shell PLC in withdrawing from American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers because of disagreement about polices on climate change.

In a report on integrating climate with strategy, the company said it reviewed 30 industry associations to which it belongs “to verify that their stances on climate issues are aligned with the group’s.”

Total Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne also cited the Paris agreement, stating, “Our policy regarding industry associations demonstrates our consistency and credibility. Transparency will strengthen the action of businesses, which are key participants in discussions on how to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

Now it might be the case that Patrick Pouyanne believes capitulating to climate activists is the best way to safeguard the interests of Total’s shareholders. It might also be that he’s chiefly concerned about how he is perceived by France’s political elite, having realised his nest is well-feathered regardless of what happens to Total in the long term. I don’t know. But I found this interesting:

Total has suspended all activities on a planned $3.5bn crude export pipeline from Uganda to Tanzania due to uncertainty over its Uganda operation.

The 1,445km pipeline was planned to pass through neighbouring Tanzania to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga.

The decision follows last week’s termination of the farm-down transaction between Tullow Oil, Total E&P and CNOOC.

All parties have been actively progressing the sale and purchase agreement (SPA) since 2017. However, the companies did not reach an agreement on the fiscal treatment of the transaction despite negotiations with the authorities.

Total’s Ugandan development has been going nowhere pretty much from the beginning, and word on the street that the Frenchmen they sent to negotiate with the government – including the CEO – might as well have been random farmers plucked from the fields of Normandy. So if I may make a helpful suggestion to Total’s senior management, perhaps it’s better to reacquire the necessary skills and expertise to develop oil and gas reserves rather than waste company resources in meeting the objectives of the laughably self-serving, corrupt, and ultimately pointless Paris Climate Agreement?

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Swiped Out

There’s a trial underway in Auckland involving the murder of an Englishwoman at the hands of an Australian man whose name is suppressed by a New Zealand judge who may not realise the internet is global:

British backpacker Grace Millane died after being strangled by a man she met on a Tinder date, who later buried her body in a shallow grave, the Crown says.

Grace and the accused met on Tinder and went to a number of central city bars and eateries that night.

The pair were “plainly comfortable” in each other’s company and Grace had messaged her friend saying so, McCoubrey said.

CCTV footage captured from the Bluestone Room bar showed the pair kissing.

“She was plainly enjoying the date, at that stage … there’s clear evidence that both parties probably anticipated sexual activity,” McCoubrey said.

So she was travelling alone in a foreign country, met a total stranger online, went to his apartment to have sex, and wound up dead. Did she find hugging crocodiles in the Northern Territory a little too sensible, or what?

This blog’s resident Kiwi David Moore points us towards this related article:

A witness who wept after being told she would have to return to the High Court in Auckland will continue giving evidence on Tuesday in the trial of the man accused of murdering Grace Millane.

The witness told the court on Monday how the 27 year-old accused of murdering Grace sat on her face as she performed a sex act on him, inside his apartment in November 2018.

The Crown says Grace was murdered about a month later in the same room.

Okay.

On Monday the witness, who has name suppression, said she had drinks with the accused at his apartment in CityLife Hotel, after the pair connected on the dating app Tinder.

Hey, let’s go to some random bloke’s hotel room, what could possibly go wrong?

Giving evidence by CCTV, she told Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey the accused said he loved her and wanted to be with her.

“He grabbed my arm and I said: ‘We’re not having sex’.”

Then why go to his apartment?

The pair moved to the bed and she performed a sex act on him before he sat on top of her.

Because the natural response of someone who declares “we’re not having sex” is to perform a sex act on the chap she’s just yelled at.

The witness said she exchanged messages with the accused in the days following the incident but decided not to mention the suffocating episode because she didn’t want to aggravate him.

Unless she’s exchanging messages with him while they’re sat in the same room, this is a level of imbecility impressive even for the antipodes.

Under cross-examination from the accused’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, she was asked why she exchanged over 700 messages with the accused, in the month following the sex act.

She told Mansfield she was leading the accused on and was scared that if she cut him off, he was going to turn up in her life.

I’m beginning to think those mullahs may have a point about letting women out on their own. Perhaps this is why Jacinda Ardern was encouraging Kiwi women to adopt the burkha a while back?

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Smorgasbord

Sorry about the lack of posting: I’ve been busy.

Last week I was on a short business trip to Pori in the west of Finland to visit a testing facility and kick off a project I’m managing. Three of us went, flying into Helsinki and then boarding a 30-seater twin prop between Helsinki and Pori operated by Budapest Air Service. Yeah, I couldn’t work that one out. Apparently the flight is subsidised by the Pori municipality, who might worry nobody would come and visit otherwise. When we went to the desk to check in twenty minutes before our flight we found it deserted. We asked someone from the Luftwaffe Lufthansa desk next door and she said it was a bit early. Sure enough, 10 mins before departure a lady showed up, asked us our names, and ticked us off a list. There were only about 6 or 7 people on the flight including us. We were aboard and airborne on time. When we landed they dropped the stairs and we just sort of got off and wandered across the apron towards what we guessed must be the terminal building. This is how flying should be done.

We got a taxi from Pori airport to our destination, about a 10 minute drive. The driver grunted at me once when I gave him the address, again when I paid him, and once more when I thanked him. I initially thought he didn’t like me for some reason, but then I remembered in Finland this is what passes for a warm welcome. Our hosts were rather more chatty, and we spent a day wandering through laboratories and industrial units, stopping for lunch to eat salmon, lamb, and a dessert made with sea buckthorn. Last time I was in Finland I found the food so bad I started missing even German food. This time was a lot better. It’s amazing what effect not being a tourist has. That evening we went for a short walk along the river. Some early snow had fallen leaving a dusting over everything, and there were an awful lot of birch trees. It brought back a lot of memories of Russia, a country I’ve not been to since 2012, and made me miss the cold and snow. It beat the miserable wet of Cambridge hands down. Afterwards our hosts took us to a very nice restaurant and we drank lingonberry vodka and ate reindeer steak, which I ordered rare so it was red as Rudolph’s nose. It was excellent.

We were dropped off at Pori airport at 8pm and we were the only ones in the entire building except one other passenger. About 20 minutes before takeoff a bloke showed up who checked us in without even giving us boarding passes, a couple of pilots who looked as though they ought to be tucked up in bed somewhere, and two security personnel who didn’t yell at us. I rather enjoyed my trip to Finland – they’re nice, competent people – and I’ll be going back on monthly visits either to Helsinki or Pori between now and March or April. So if anyone is around up there, let me know.

When I got back from Finland I quit my serviced apartment in Cambridge and moved to London, lodging with my Dad for a few days while I look for a temporary apartment. I found myself rather isolated up there: I didn’t know anyone, the traffic on the drive to work was awful in one direction and abominable in the other, and the weather was miserable. One of the things which has changed since I left the UK in 2003 is the introduction of flexible working in offices. I arrived in my new job to find I didn’t have a desk assigned to me. Instead I had to hot desk, and carry all my stuff home at the end of each day like a sherpa. It seems nobody is provided with desk phones any more, instead you get given a Skype number which routes straight to your laptop. Most people work 3-4 days in the office and the rest either from home or somewhere else. Attending meetings over Skype is the norm, and I realised that the oil industry is still operating somewhere in the early 1990s. The expense system, travel booking system and HR benefits and admin system are all third-party and online. In my last place of work they were, respectively: 1) paper-based requiring multiple signatures, 2) a confusing chain of emails to umpteen managers and departmental secretaries who often appeared to have brain damage, and 3) non-existent. In short, I don’t really need to be physically in the office as much as I thought. I then discovered I can get a the Brighton to Cambridge train from London Bridge pretty easily, what with it being empty going north once it’s passed St. Pancras and most empty coming south until you reach Farringdon. So I can get a good 40 minutes work done on the train each way.

My intention was to find an AirBnB in London for a month while I sorted myself out. So I found one near London Bridge and booked it, and my credit card was charged accordingly. Next thing I know I get this message:

However looking again at the price it seems to be incorrect I can’t accommodate next to tower bridge in effect a 4 star hotel 2ned suite with lots of storage at £100 a night . Hotels next door are £200 a night tiny double room or £1500 plus for a 2bed suit .

The price should be £175 a night I can do for a compromised £149 a night .

Still very reasonable for that price .

If I can send you a price amendment pls can you accept failing that can u please ask you politely to cancel the reservation.

This was rather odd: I thought we’d agreed the price and I’d paid, and now he wanted more – 50% more, to be precise. So I told him to sod off. Then I got this:

Hi Tim

I hope your okay . I’m new to airbb (my property is on One Fine Stay at £250 a night).
I’ve called airbb to rectify the pricing if it was just a couple of nights stay I wouldn’t mind . But for a months stay I simply can’t make commercial sense flats in the area rent out on normal market at £3000 plus a month .

So if you can’t pay the extra can I pls ask you to cancel I hope your decide to stay as I can’t imagine your find better in this locality .

This chap makes Theresa May look like a master of negotiation. Anyway, I told him to sod off again. Which resulted in this:

Hi Tim

I hope your well.

I’ve just been on the phone to airbb customer service they have advised me to increase the to a commercial viable amount I do hope we can compromise and meet half way. Once you see the apartment it’s great home and you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for your empathy and storage is no problem .

Assuring you of my personal attention at ALL Times .

The next thing I know I have someone who sounded Filipina calling me from AirBnB trying to persuade me to pay the extra money, adopting the role of negotiator with his interests at heart. I explained to her as far as I was concerned the deal was done and I’d paid an she said “Yes, you make a good point, I’ll go back and tell him that.” Whether she did or not I don’t know, but within 5 minutes my booking had been cancelled and I received this message from my would-be host:

Best of luck best price £135 a night very responsible to be opposite Tower Bridge in Luxury apartment same as a five star hotel suite .

I fired off a complaint to AirBnB and they said “they were sorry I had to cancel my booking” but I’ve been refunded, although the money could take up to 15 days to reappear in my account. I told them I didn’t cancel it and they went quiet until I started having some fun telling the story on Twitter while tagging in @Airbnb. Eventually someone emailed me and said they’d investigated but due to privacy reasons they couldn’t tell me what the outcome was. The email, like all their correspondence on this case, was littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. I’m wondering how long AirBnB are going to be in business before someone is killed in an unsafe property and they respond by sending the grieving relatives a list of alternative properties and wishing them a pleasant stay. In the end I got 10% off my next booking, but I’d have preferred my would-be host’s head mounted on a spike at the Tower of London.

Anyway, the good news is I’ve met someone in London who is neither Russian nor a lunatic and therefore is unlikely to be providing much blogging fodder as others have done. I’ve checked and she’s not into polyamory, which must be a disappointment to my readers. In fact, she’s rather wonderful. And that’s the main reason behind my move to London and, if I’m being honest, my lack of blogging.

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The girl with the cad on spat two

Via reader Robert Harries comes this article:

A woman has revealed how a ‘predator’ ex-boyfriend groomed her into a ‘fake relationship’ while living a double life with another girlfriend.

We live in an era in which women’s accounts of being with douchebags are deemed newsworthy.

Catherine Garrod, 38, said she was ‘trapped’ for three and a half years by her ex who started out ‘charming and attentive’. She said they met on Plenty of Fish and he was ‘very keen to progress the relationship’ and settle down ‘like his mum and dad’. He wanted to look at houses and they did within six months, but none of them ‘were ever quite right’ for him. As soon as she ‘committed’, she said he ‘pulled back’. She said the relationship followed this manipulative pattern for months on end where ‘he’d promise the world but deliver nothing’.

A man failing to meet the material expectations of a woman is classed as manipulation now, is it?

Catherine repeatedly tried to end the relationship but he would suddenly become ‘loving and attentive’ again, saying he ‘couldn’t imagine a life without her’.

So she could have left him at any point by walking out the door and not listening to his whining. I was at expecting at least a cellar and a set of manacles.

It wasn’t until she got a phone call from an unknown woman in October last year that she realised it was all a cover for a dark secret. For more than two years he had been living a double life with a secret girlfriend a short drive away.

This would be of marginal interest if you or he were 1) married and 2) famous. You fail on both counts.

The other woman had discovered a WhatsApp message from Catherine on his phone and found her the next day on Facebook.

Teenagers on a wet caravaning holiday would find this story boring.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘When she found me she assumed I was the affair. But when she went through my Facebook profile she realised we had been together for a long time. ‘She then sent me photos of cards he had written telling her how much he loved her, almost to try and justify that she didn’t know about me. ‘I think she thought I was the primary girlfriend and she was the affair, but I said “I don’t see it like that, I think we’ve both been completely f**ked over.” ‘He was great at writing cards. He was very heartfelt on anniversaries, on birthdays and at Christmas.’ When Catherine saw one of the heartfelt cards, she discovered it was a ‘word for word’ copy to one she received when he was on a ‘work trip’. She added: ‘I discovered when he was holiday with me he would tell her he was away for work.’

The central plot of this story is that a man managed to string along a couple of dunderheads for a while.

Within an hour of talking on the phone they both got in their cars and drove to his parent’s house. That’s when they discovered his family and friends had known about his double life all along.

‘I just don’t understand where their morals were,’ she added. ‘These are the people I thought were nice.’

Well, were they nice to you?

She said: ‘We discovered every move was calculated, every emotion was mimicked, and what we thought was love was an obsession with controlling our lives.

Sorry, what?

‘We both went through a period of being absolutely terrified. We’d come home to our empty homes and check our rooms to see if something had been moved. ‘I was convinced that he’d been here.

How did he get in? Were there signs of forced entry? Or are you insane?

I was having horrendous nightmares. ‘I suffered quite bad anxiety. My whole reality had gone. ‘He had violated my mind and my body. Not only had he controlled my life, but sleeping with somebody who is pretending to be somebody they aren’t, that to me, is physical abuse. ‘I didn’t know who he was. He was pretending to be somebody else and that’s just horrible. ‘You question everything because your whole reality wasn’t real.’

It seems to me as though this period of her life became retrospectively terrifying after she discovered there was another woman in the picture.

Catherine, who lives in Staines, reported him to Surrey Police but said she was told living a double life ‘would not meet the threshold for coercive control’.

And I suspect that was the polite version.

She said: ‘The officer said the CPS just won’t take it on. I said that’s ridiculous and they basically said we don’t necessarily disagree with you but we can only operate within the confines of the law.’ Catherine also accused her boyfriend of threatening to kill her, which Surrey Police did take action on, charging him with domestic assault. But he was later cleared of the charge at Staines Magistrates’ Court in February.

There’s manipulation here all right, but it isn’t coming from the person she says it is.

Catherine has been inspired to share her story after watching Labour MP Rosie Duffield’s account of her own experience of domestic abuse in the House of Commons.

Which I covered here. So an MP uses parliament instead of the changing room at her yoga class to complain about her ex-boyfriend’s non-criminal behaviour, encouraging unhinged women to file complaints with the police over trivial domestic matters brought about largely by their own naivety. And this is progress?

She believes there are more victims like her out there and has set up a website called ‘He Controlled Both of Us’, where victims can come forward, and stay anonymous if they wish to. She has also launched a petition to urge the government to define ‘leading a double life’ as a form of domestic abuse.

Like the upskirting law passed last year, this is another example of women rushing to a policeman every time a man is beastly to her. Modern feminism seems to stunt the development of certain women, leaving them stuck in a teenager’s mentality and unable to cope with the world as they find it.

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Coming forth to carry me home (empty handed)

Before yesterday’s rugby world cup final I was supporting England. I thought it would be good for a northern hemisphere team to win and I do live in England after all. However, my support was reluctant because, as is common, my social media feeds were full of English fans disparaging the Welsh with pictures such as this:

Here’s the thing. Wales punch miles above their weight when it comes to rugby considering their size, population, and mediocre clubs (none seriously competes in the Heineken Cup). Finishing 4th for the second time in 8 years is a pretty decent achievement. Realistically, Wales are never going to win a world cup. It would take them having a freakishly good team and everyone else to be unusually crap, and it would be an upset not quite on the scale of Greece winning the 2004 European Championship but something close to it. The best Wales can do is win the Grand Slam fairly frequently, get to the semis of a world cup, and claim a southern hemisphere scalp every now and then.

England, by contrast, are massive underachievers when it comes to rugby. They’re a large nation with well-funded infrastructure and teams which regularly compete and win the Heineken Cup. By rights they should be winning the Six Nations most years, Grand Slams several times a decade, and thinking they’ve had a poor tournament if they finish second. They should be finalists or semi-finalists in every world cup, and should have won more than one by now. For the English to mock the Welsh for having not having won a rugby world cup is like France mocking Belgium’s inability to win a world cup at football. I’ve often thought that England’s solitary RWC win 16 years ago has had the same effect as their FIFA one in 1966: they dine out on it for decades, kid themselves they’re genuine contenders every year, but somehow never add to the trophy cabinet.

And so it proved yesterday, when England got taken apart by a South African side who were better in every department on the day. The two most comprehensive beatings of the tournament between top tier sides was England’s defeat of New Zealand and South Africa’s thrashing England. The problem England have had for a long time is they’re invincible when their game plan works as it did against New Zealand, but if it doesn’t they have to wait for half time so the coach can tell them what to do instead. They’re a team seriously lacking in leadership. They’ve got strength, skill, and guts in abundance but nobody with the rugby brain of a Kieran Read, Beauden Barrett, or Faf de Klerk. A couple of seasons back in the Six Nations the Italians decided to throw a spanner in the works by refusing to form rucks, meaning they could defend from positions which would otherwise be offside. The England team, seemingly lacking anyone who knew the rules, had no idea what was even happening let alone how to deal with it.

So yesterday when they found their scrum going backwards at 30mph in the first few minutes they lost their heads. Ben Youngs threw a ball over the head of the winger and out of play, George Ford hoofed it into touch on the full, passes went astray, and balls were knocked on. Manu Tuilagi, the hero against New Zealand, didn’t trouble the commentators until a quarter of the match had been played. A lot of people are blaming the referee, but sloppy play is hardly his fault. England were unlucky to lose Kyle Sinckler so early on, but I doubt that made much difference. South Africa simply wanted it more, and played as though they were in a final. This maul appearing from nowhere in open play is one of the best moves I’ve seen in a rugby match:

As the match wore on I found my support for England waning on the grounds that I didn’t think they deserved it. As someone on Twitter said, New Zealand played their final against Ireland, and England played theirs against New Zealand. South Africa played theirs in the actual final, and deservedly won. England, having won one final out of four, are starting to look like chokers. My advice is they worry more about their consistent underachieving rather than spending time mocking smaller nations. After all, we were ravaged by injuries yet came within one penalty kick of stopping South Africa reaching the final, and we put a try past them. Maybe they should swap Eddie Jones for Warren Gatland?

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Crocketile Dundee

This is fun. Some background:

In 2001, Shane Della-Vedova, a military captain in the army explosives team, was asked to dispose of ten M72 shoulder-fired rocket launchers from an Australian Defence Force base. … Apparently, he overlooked ten rocket launchers that were still in the car boot––driving away that day with them in the back of his car.

Which led to a sequence of events that included the best quote in Australian wiretapping history:

“I sold the rocket launchers to my mate and he sold it to those fucking dickhead terrorists. Now it’s a fucking drama.”

Remember, this lot think Americans should be looking to them for advice on regulating handguns.

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