'Call Me Maybe', rankings rancour and Wales stash
June 29, 2012
Barney's Army: Pieter Dixon, Butch James, Victor Matfield and Percy Montgomery prepare for the John Smit's recent charity game in Durban © @VictorMatfield
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.
Rugby takes on 'Call Me Maybe'
The dawn of professionalism brought new standards in terms of physical fitness, preparation and performance but also created a quandary - what do players do in their downtime? While some may make a bee line for the games console or try to memorise the Nandos menu, others choose to entertain. Step forward Wasps' Tom Varndell, Chris Mayor and Charlie Davies. The trio offered their own take on the earworm that is Carly Rae Jepsen's multi-million selling song Call Me Maybe. They are not the first as this is a worldwide phenomenon that has seen many - including the infinitely more appealing Miami Dolphins cheerleaders - offer their take on the hit but sadly they don't play rugby. Enjoy, but prepare to be cursing this song for the rest of the day.
"He pierced my heart with a whisper"
Saracens were once again crowned 'Club of the Year' at the All Parliamentary Premiership Rugby Community Awards this week. The event, held at the Houses of Parliament, was hosted by the ever-capable Will Greenwood who added some colour to proceedings with a tale or two highlighting powerful words, inspired by the Churchill Room setting. One such humorous recollection recalled a meeting with the South Africa at Twickenham where the Boks' skipper Andre Vos warned: "Come down the blindside and I will break you in half and snap off your head." Suitably unnerved, Greenwood remembered: "It was amazing how in a stadium packed with 80,000 noisy fans that he could pierce my heart with a whisper." A plea to the nearby referee Paddy O'Brien drew this response: "I wouldn't go down the blindside if I was you."
The publication of the latest IRB rankings drew consternation and laughter in equal measure this week due largely to the fact that Ireland moved up despite a 60-0 thrashing at the hands of New Zealand. Wales also slipped two places despite having pushed Australia to the brink in Sydney. An uncharacteristically restrained Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu summed up the feelings of the majority of the rugby globe.
Much chuckling at ESPNscrum HQ with when the prolific RFU Championship communications department informed us that 'English prop Mark Irish has signed for London Scottish'. Unfortunately he didn't make the move from London Welsh.
Captain's armband or wedding band?
Ireland and Munster lock Paul O'Connell may be sidelined with a knee injury but he still hit the headlines this week. 'Rugby star Paul O'Connell set to tie the knot' proclaimed the Limerick Leader before going on to amuse us with these gems. "O'Connell has pulled on the captain's armband for Munster, Ireland and the Lions, but he will be slipping on a wedding band for the first time next year" and "He received the Freedom of Limerick City this year but he is a free man no longer" and " Paul is normally the first out on the pitch but he will be one of the last of his generation of Irish rugby heroes to get married". The wedding is planned for next year but you sense it will not fall between May and July when O'Connell will be hoping to be a little busy with the British & Irish Lions in Australia.
We endeavour to keep The Sin Bin fresh but yet again Mike Phillips has earned himself not just one mention but two. This week the Welsh scrum-half has cropped up on our radar as part of Bayonne's attempts to inspire interest in their forthcoming Top 14 campaign. They have opted to draw on the international's Welsh roots to (limited) comic effect.
And he was also up to his old tricks on Twitter, giving his 52,000 followers the chance to get their hands on some Wales stash - the three agonising defeats to Australia were obviously so scarring that he doesn't want any reminders.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September