Month: May 2005

The best of the rest thrashed in Aberdeen

Scotland hammered an error-prone Baa-Baas team 38-7 in front of a small but vocal crowd of 20,000 in Aberdeen last night.

The somewhat dubious privilege of a Barbarians cap (for the British and Irish players[1]) was devalued even more by the nature of the 5 try to 1 rout. Handling was atrocious with countless knock-ons, defense poor, the attack was weak and disjointed (admittedly in the face of a superb Scotish defensive effort).

In their first game after sacking Matt Williams the Scots looked impressive. I think their next match is Argentina in November. I suspect it won't be half as easy, since after Mondays game Argentina look a match for anyone.

1. Whilst the Lions are packing their bags

Tags: , , , .

Lions muted roar

Lions 25 – 25 Argentina

Congratulations to the Pumas for holding the British and Irish Lions to a draw in Cardiff this evening.

In an exciting end game Argentina were 25-22 up with 3 minutes of extra time gone – most spectators believed it was game over when the Lions lost possession. The Argentinians had had a superbly resolute defense which answered everything the Lions could throw against it, including some decent moves from the Irish contingent of Hickie and D'Arcy (despite his several dropped balls), a nice break from the English pretender to RoGo's throne, Wilkinson[1].

Despite the best efforts of the Lion's backs at the end of the 2nd, it was really a forwards game throughout, which suited the Puma's big pack just fine. The Lions went nowhere fast with their several lineout-to-maul movements on the Puma 5 yard line as they struggled to turn the 25-22 deficit around. After 6 minutes of extra time they had to finally concede that time had beaten them and they must turn to the reliable boot of Jonny to steal the draw – and in inimitable style, he did so. Beautiful kick for a left-footed guy too (I must admit to sometimes wishing he was Irish).

The Lions are left with much to think about. It's hard to know how much this game really mattered – it's a half and half mix of mid-week and Test teams, played at home (strange), and it's early days. The first tour match is still a long time away, on Saturday the 4th of June (FYI 8am Irish time, Sky Sports 1 I believe).

BBC Sport report

Tags: , , , .

1. )

Behind the scenes at Lansdowne Road

I was stewarding at Lansdowne last Saturday for the Celtic Cup final. After an entertaining 1st half of good rugby but a disappointing 2nd, Munster came out on top with a 27-16 victory over Llanelli Scarlets[1].

I've been stewarding at quite a few matches this season – it's a great way to be guaranteed a ticket for the big international games (Six Nations: England and France at home this year) and big European games (Leinster vs Leicester – the less said the better). I'm also guaranteed a great view, normally from the West Upper just above the camera nests.

The downside of it is having to be at the stadium 3 hours before the scheduled kick-off time (yeah, you read that correctly – three hours!), which is quite a long time to be standing around. I've gotten the organisation down – to be comfortable on a cold day I need woolly hat, gloves, warm jacket, small radio (both for match commentary and pre-match boredom), sandwiches and a drink of some sort. And generally it's too hard to carry a bag, so I end up looking like I weight 300lbs (instead of my actual ~220) because of all the stuff in my pocketssss (Gollum would have a good time riddling with me).

Once the earliest fans start arriving 70-80 mins before kick-off things become more entertaining – there's no sport in the world with fans better than in rugby for their good natured bantering and discussion of the game with their opponents, the man in the street, and the steward in the stand.

Lansdowne Road in glorious May sunshine. Not as impressive as Croker by a long shot unfortunately. Taken from the south west corner looking north east.

My fellow stewards standing around under the West stand about 2 hours before kick-off. Quite cold in the shade!

Some of the Scarlets players just after the game. I was on the pitch, protecting them from crazed fans, somehow found time to get a picture or 2…

1. (For those unfamiliar with Welsh placenames, Llanelli is pronounced something like “cthlan-ehcth-li”)

Tags: , .

Dublin’s easy start to the Championship

I joined 38,800 people on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon here in Dublin, as the Boys in Blue literally had a walk in the park against Longford in the first round of the Leinster GAA Championship. Their 2-23 to 10 points victory was described in one paper as “ritual slaughter, mortification, a complete cakewalk”. It's unfortunate that Longford did not put up a better fight, as our next match is a tough one against the old enemy, Meath.

The new Hill 16 was sky blue and sung loud as ever before. One can easily see why the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) are so proud of Croke Park.

Pics courtesy of my new toy, an o2 xda2 (Intel Xscale PXA263 400MHz, 128Mb + 1gb MMC).

Tags: , .

Thanks Kryptonite

I wanted to say a big thank you to Kryptonite, who have made good on their promise to replace my vulnerable ulock for free. I received my brand new orange Evolution 2000 ulock recently but neglected to mention it here until now.

Companies like Kryptonite who go out of their way to provide good customer service should be praised publically to encourage others to take the same path (many other lock manufacturers have vulnerable locks and have made no such gesture). I wholeheartedly recommend them for your bike security needs 🙂

Tags: , , .