The following night, Bath’s supposedly weakened team won at Northampton, against the Saints’ best team, give or take. So it was a good midweek for the rotation, but Bristol’s reserves were then put to death by Sale.
The Bears have discovered the hard way that building depth takes time, just as Leicester had already discovered. Clubs with the best liners are thriving during this congested time.
The Springboks were not invited to an eight-team tournament despite Laporte’s claims
Bernard Laporte is the vice-president of World Rugby, the president of the French Federation – and a mischievous politician. His claim that talks are underway with South Africa to participate in the eight-team tournament in Europe this fall – after Japan’s decision to pull out due to logistical issues related to Covid – has sparked a feverish backlash.
Sportsmail sources insist South Africa has not been in talks for a European tournament
However, Sportsmail sources insisted that no such discussion had taken place and that the Springboks had not been invited to join. The world champions are expected to compete in the rugby championship, if allowed to appear in New Zealand in October and November. Georgia are more likely to replace Japan in a pool with France, Italy and Scotland.
Referee Ben Blain deserves congratulations for taking a stand
Kudos to Scottish Rugby Union referee Ben Blain for taking a stand against the waste of time that undermines the appeal of rugby.
In the Edinburgh-Glasgow clash on Friday night, he became exasperated that Edinburgh was taking too long to play the ball after a failure, so after issuing a warning he gave Glasgow a scrimmage. Thank you sir. You have made gambling a service.
But there shouldn’t have been an 11-second delay between the command to “use it” and the whistle. It should take five seconds. Enforce the law – less endless haggling with players over interpretations. Blain led by example.
The Curry twins give Eddie Jones food for thought
Sale presented a glorious double vision on Saturday, for club and country. The Curry twins – Ben and Tom – started out in the Sharks’ back row and were instrumental in breaking down Bristol.
Tom is England’s established flanker, a talisman from last year’s World Cup who was nominated for World Player of the Year, but at AJ Bell Stadium his brother was at least his equal.
Ben and Tom Curry started for the Sharks and were instrumental in breaking up Bristol
Ben was Sale’s captain again and he was an inspiration again. He added extra volume as well as leadership to his repertoire. Eddie Jones must have no reason to neglect him. The Curries have formed a devastating selling alliance and they can do it for England.
The last word
England players have agreed to a 25% pay cut in their match fees as a result of Covid. Frankly, they had no choice but to match the cuts imposed on national coaches and even top officials and union officials.
RFU finds itself in a financial black hole, although some of the difficulties are due to years of financial mismanagement.
The richest syndicate in the world will be there, once they can start using Twickenham as a giant cash machine again.
Meanwhile, England players will still be paid significantly more (£ 17,250 per game) than any of their rivals in the world. It’s just that they are under some of the strain.