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Gareth Thomas makes an important step forward

So, Gareth Thomas is gay.

There's nothing wrong with that in my book.

Best of lucks to Gareth Thomas, because being gay and an important name in sport don't often get along very well.

New format for NPC: can it fool anyone?

Now, it seems the Air New Zealand Cup is going to have Canterbury, Wellington, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Auckland, Otago and Southland in the "Premiership" and Manawatu, Counties Manukau, Tasman, North Harbour, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Northland in the "Championship".


Who's going to win the championship?
Who's going to have the Log'o Wood?
Who's going to have the crowds?
Who's going to be cut down when the money runs out?

Yeah, sure, keep thinking the NPC is still a 14-team competition.

The season is over

December is come and with December, the usual Barbarians games against a southern nation announces the end of the rugby season.

While northerners have just started the new campaign and are positioning themselves in the Top 14, Magners, Guinnes Premiership and Heineken Cup, the south takes a deep breath.

This season has shown the might of the South Africans. Forget about stupid arguments, this is not about who's the best, this is about strengths. South Africa have shown theirs and these and not any others you should expect from them in New Zealand in 2011.

The rest of the nations are more or less underdone, with the possible exceptions of Wales and Ireland. Wales, Ireland and South Africa are the closest ones to the final product, while England, France, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand are still looking for it.

If you think you know which situation is better, I will warn you, in 2006 the Springboks were put to the sword by the Wallabies by a record 49-0.

Fear the Wallabies, bet for a very strong kiwi side, expect the unexpectable from the French and be warned about the English, they will play better in two years time. About the Argentinians, I don' t really know.

Wallabies Grand Slam tour is at last finished

If anything, this tour has shown how easily the Wallabies could have achieved their second Grand Slam tour.

A Brian O'Driscoll play at Corke Park denied the Wallabies a win over Ireland, while a missed conversion by Giteau made the difference between winning and losing at Murrayfield.

But being so close and still not being able to accomplish the goal is one of the worst situations that you can be in.

The Wallabies should be aware that it is only their fault, their inability to win close matches, the main reason that is preventing them for realising their full potential.

It's a tough task to find it once you have lost it.

Deans' end

Last post was about Richie McCaw and how close could he be to the end of his rugby career.

This one is about Robbie Deans' end as Wallabies coach.

  1. In 2009, the Wallabies have played 13 tests, with 5 wins, 7 losses and one draw.
  2. In 2008-2009, the Wallabies have played 27 tests, with 14 wins, 12 losses and one draw.
  3. Eddie Jones was sacked in 2001 with a better success rate.
  4. Deans' continuity has been a subject addressed by up to 5 different sources, including ARU boss John O'Neill in the 24 hours following the Scottish hiding.
  5. This season the relation between the ARU and Australian players has been patchy at its best, and clearly Robbie Deans has been supporting the ARU. Issues have arised with Giteau, Tuqiri, and bold coaching decissions like those involving Smith, Mortlock, the captaincy and vice-captaincy have certainly not helped.
  6. Australia should have never lost to Scotland.
Robbie Deans is a good coach. He is an outstanding coach, in fact. But this Wallabies team apparently has got a lot of internal issues that he has not yet managed to fix. I wonder if anyone is capable to fix them.

I don't know if the ARU should keep him or sack him, what I do know is that winning is the best way to solve them, and solving them is the best way to winning.

And Robbie Deans has not managed to do any of those things.

Richie McCaw's closing to the end

First the All Blacks coaches said they were preparing an understudy for McCaw's subsitute.
Then it was suggestions that McCaw could eventually switch to 8 latter in his career.
After that we sought him playing 8 for Canterbury.
Last week the talk was how damaged and stressed was McCaw's body after a test.
A few days ago we knew that McCaw would skip the first three games of the Super 14 2010
Also this week he could be seen scrummaging at 8 during the All Blacks training session.

All in all, McCaw can't last forever, as tough as he is, putting his body to the line, week in week out. So I bet he will be targetting RWC 2011 as his ultimate goal. Nothing longer than that. Yes, perhaps he will still play for a year or so after the RWC, but he's sending out messages that rugby's a heavy burden when you are an openside, and just like Schalk Burger's and George Smith's, his body's got a limit.

I like him more than ever.