All the Pre-Season Gossip….

anonymous_360Pre-season is now well under way for all of our Aviva Premiership players, some have been beasting out horrific watt bike sessions for the past 3 or 4 weeks, whilst others are just returning after their summer holidays. Over the next few weeks the hard work is being put in before the first ‘official fixture’ of the season the JP Morgan 7s and the many bruising pre-season matches that follow it. This time is normally fairly quiet news wise, the players are putting themselves through a lot of pain and the rest of us are trying to find other things to fill their weekends with, however this season it has all been kicking off before a single match has even started! The rugby news has been coming in thick and fast, so I thought that now would be an appropriate time to review some of the punchier headlines to date…

Team Bonding at its best…

Obviously we need to go straight to beautiful Bath and take note of the ‘how to make friends and bond at your new club’ lesson that Gavin Henson has taught everyone. Now personally I like Gavin Henson, yes you will all probably shoot me for saying that, but I do, he is an extremely talented rugby player… who just happens to not make great choices from time to time!!! A flooring from a team mate isn’t really the ideal way to start his life at club number 8. Let’s hope that things settle down, now that he and Carl have both been fined and the club have ‘closed the issue’. I’m sure that Gavin will be knuckling down, no pun intended, to his actual pre-season training now and will plan to smash it up on the pitch in the first few games so that he won’t be on the hunt for club number 9 come next Easter!

New Season, New Home…

The ‘transfer market’ has been an extremely busy one for the past few months with comings and goings all over the place, there are far too many to cover every single one however below are a few highlights…

Harlequins have benefited from a last minute signing; Nick Kennedy arrives back from Toulon fully charged with England and World Cup ambitions. He is ready to raise his profile and he has certainly chosen the right place to do this. Nick has just 9 England Caps… far too few in my opinion, having watched him play at London Irish for the past 7 years I can assure you that he is a superb player. Hearts broke all over Sunbury when Danny Care announced on Twitter, that Nick’s signing was completed…

danny care ‏@dannycare 10 Jul

Welcome to the family @NickKennedy4 Always knew you wanted to be a Quin!! #COYQ

Nick Kennedy ‏@NickKennedy4 10 Jul

@dannycare thanks Chico. Good of you to announce it!?

Needless to say Mr O’Shea has bagged himself an absolute legend and I cannot wait to sit and watch Nick run out at the Stoop every week… it’s a good job that I’ve got a great seat!!

One other club that hasn’t done too badly in securing some fresh blood is Northampton. George North and Alex Corbisero will arrive back from their well-deserved holidays ready to devastate the Aviva Premiership. I’m sure that Jim Mallinder will be excited to let them loose at Franklins Gardens to help wipe away the memories of Twickeham in May. I’ve no doubt that George North will be at the heart of everything good at Saints this season and as long as Dylan Hartley can keep his temper in check then Saints look like they will be marching straight back to Twickenham for the Aviva Prem Final come May.

Sent to the Naughty Step…

Cockers is banned for 9 matches for ‘using obscene, inappropriate and/or unprofessional language and behaviour towards fourth official Stuart Terheege’ at the Aviva Premiership Final. We all know that he is a fiery character and after his written warning last season for his conduct it is not surprising that he has been punished yet again. Leicester of course are fuming and may still appeal but for the moment he will not be allowed to have any contact at all with the team on match days and will have to sit in the stands and watch like everyone else. Clearly it will be up to his coaching team to steer the ship for the first few months of the season… welcome to the coaching staff Geordan Murphy it’s time to get stuck in!!!

Finally Schalk Brits will miss the first 3 Aviva Premiership games due to his behaviour in Hong Kong, I’m pretty sure that he will think twice before launching one on a team mate again! Personally I would have loved to be a fly on the wall after that game because that punch certainly looked like it had some feeling behind it…

Pre-Season; how long left…!?

Sadly we still have a quite a while left to go until Round 1 of the Aviva Premiership so fingers crossed that the headlines will keep coming in because otherwise the lack of rugby in my life will start to become a real problem… at least until the JP Morgan 7s and the Pre-Season Fixtures arrive!!

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