The Sin Bin
The half-back hokey cokey, knock-out rugby, 'minimum standards' and Twitter bait
May 4, 2012
Gloucester's Mike Tindall was in France last weekend - not to put pen to paper on a big money move to the Top 14 - but to support friend and Biarritz fullback Iain Balshaw © Twitter
Welcome to the latest edition of The Sin Bin - our regular feature offering you some of the quirkier stories to emanate from the game we love.
There's not a ruck we will not delve into or a hospital pass we will avoid in a bid to bring you some of the more bizarre, humorous and downright daft stories, videos, pictures and soundbites from around the rugby globe.
The half-back hokey cokey
One of the big stories of the last week was Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia moving from his current Super Rugby employers the Reds to their Perth-based rivals the Western Force. An even bigger story was said player's decision to renege on that offer and stay in Brisbane. The lure of the Sunshine Coast was only part of the reason for this funny - unless you are a Force fan - turn of events with Genia revealing that the Reds' victory over the Blues last weekend was pivotal in his decision. "And singing the team song in the change rooms afterwards ... to think I wouldn't have that opportunity again next year was a scary thought." That must have been some sing-song if he would later turn his back on a reportedly $550,000-a-year contract in favour of $400,000 per season with the Reds.
Let battle commence
Twitter claimed its latest victim this week with renowned Sunday Times journalist Stephen Jones bowing to pressure from his peers and wading into the micro-blogging site. Famed for a running verbal battle with New Zealand, he wasted no time in stoking those fires with this and has since launched this tongue-in-cheek broadside in the wake of Wayne Smith's decision to turn down an offer to join the England coaching team:
South Africa has long had a reputation for producing the most physically-intimidating players. Occasionally they overstep the mark and school boy rugby is clearly not immune to such madness. During a recent clash between Hans Strijdom and Alberton in Mookgophong, referee Chris de Beers was headbutted and knocked unconscious. The guilty party was a 17-year-old lock who took offence after one of his props had been sent off for head-butting an opponent. The result was a 10-year ban for the player in question - of which seven years have been suspended. To his credit, the referee recovered and completed the match but would later call time on his officiating career. He said: "The punishment is ridiculous and will bring it about that referees will more frequently be exposed to this kind of violence." And if you're there thinking, 'this doesn't happen in the UK', think again.
Ever wondered about the 'minimum standards' that hold the key to promotion to the Aviva Premiership? OK, well just humour us for a moment. A quick Google search can provide all the answers with Saracens' recent application to move to the Copthall Stadium providing all the answers. The 57-page tome is a real page-turner and details the endless hoops that Premiership hopefuls must jump through in order to take their place among the elite. These requirements include such gems as: "1 urinal per 70 males (trough urinals calculated on basis of not less than 600mm per person)" and the presence of "an emergency drug box" containing - among other things - "Diazepam 5mg rectal tube x 1".
So you're talking about red yeah?
Who knows what goes on in a referee's head? An interesting sequence of events during the Highlanders' victory over the Cheetahs last weekend caught our attention and puzzled us at the same time. The Highlanders' James Haskell invited trouble with a couple of big punches on the Cheetahs' Justin Downey. Unsure of the full picture, referee Marius Jonker sought clarification from his assistants who recommended a red card. Jonker then went for his pocket but by the time he fronted the player he had decided to go for a yellow - and a white card. See for yourself.
Can I get a re-Tweet?
More humorous Twitter banter to report, this time from Clermont Auvergne lock Nathan Hines who also found time to hang out with Motorhead last week. The weekend saw him line-up against his former side Leinster in the Heineken Cup semi-finals and he couldn't help but engage his old team-mate Sean O'Brien with a request for a re-Tweet.
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