Toilet humour, ball aches and Beast
June 1, 2012
The RFU Championship trophy as you've never seen it before © Jon Mills
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.
London Welsh celebrated capturing the RFU Championship crown by 're-designing' the silverware with the odd beverage - the result was then broadcast to the world via captain Jon Mills' Twitter account. It may not make them popular with the RFU suits who they hope will reverse the decision to block their promotion to the Premiership - and who were booed at every opportunity at the Kassam Stadium on Wednesday night - but it's hardly in the same league as Scotland's John Jeffrey and England's Dean Richards playing football with the Calcutta Cup. Congrats lads - hope the hangovers aren't too bad.
Leicester Tigers' Toby Flood was a notable late withdrawal ahead of the Aviva Premiership final last weekend and he was almost joined by another high-profile name - ESPN analyst Austin Healey. The former Tigers star is now a key member of ESPN's rugby team but the broadcaster's live and exclusive coverage of the game was almost stripped of Healey's marmite-like banter as an ealy morning Tweet explained:
Thankfully he stemmed the tide long enough to take his place alongside Durders and Ben for what proved to be a thrilling finale with Austin's pain and perspiration reportedly a big hit with those lucky enough to have seen the game in 3D for the first time.
Rugby union once again made the pages of the Daily Mail that are normally reserved for celebrity tittle-tattle this week - but again with a serious message. The newspaper reports that an RAF serviceman hit in the groin with a rugby ball was diagnosed with testicular cancer when he sought treatment for the injury. Shane McMullen, 28, was left in agonising pain after the ball was booted at him during a match with his armed forces colleagues in February. But the father-of-two is now grateful the excruciating injury occurred as otherwise the cancer, which spread to his stomach, would likely not have been detected. Time for a check up?
The man is a beast
South African prop Beast Mtawarira proved to be an internet hit earlier this week thanks to a phenomenal show of strength during the Sharks' latest Super Rugby outing against the Stormers. The Springboks powerhouse and his lock Anton Bresler over-ran a re-start forcing the second row to stretch for the ball. What happened next is just awe-inspiring and a testament to the Beast's power. Not content with doing it once - he did it again soon after. Incredible.
A marketing tour de force
London Welsh clinched the RFU Championship title this week with victory over the Cornish Pirates that they hope will serve as a springboard to the Aviva Premiership - as long as they can overturn a recent decision by the RFU to block their promotion. Should they succeed, the club's plan is to re-locate to Oxford United FC's Kassam Stadium in Oxford where a marketing miracle will be required to conjure a following with London Irish and London Wasps on their doorstep. But the omens are good if the club programme for the Championship title decider is anything to go by. The 88-page publication boasted an incredible 109 adverts - a superb marketing effort that they hope will be replicated in season ticket sales.
Turning over a new leaf
Former Tonga international Epi Taione forged a formidable reputation during a well-travelled career that saw him play for the likes of Newcaslte, Sale, Harlequins, Racing Metro and most recently London Welsh. His colourful career playing included a ban for biting, another for a head-butt and a headline-grabbing decision to change his name to Paddy Power as part of a marketing ploy during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. But his wild days appear behind him after he was elected chairman of the new Tonga Rugby Union this week - edging out the Tongan Prime Minister in the process.
A hornet's nest
If you didn't know already, Twitter can get you into all sorts of trouble - just ask Wales' Mike Phillips. He's kicking back in the Wales camp and decides to offer his 50,000 followers a review of the latest film he's seen only to spark a political debate.
The Tweet was soon withdrawn in the face of criticism from those who took offence at his endorsment of the movie about the former Prime Minister. Fans - who needs them?
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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