Morris dancing and 'silly stuff' from Greyling
September 21, 2012
Arsenal fan Chris Robshaw hails England's new change strip - that has a striking resemblance to an old Gunners kit © Getty Images
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. Got anything you think warrants a mention? Let us know.
England connect with grassroots
England unveiled their latest playing strips - the first produced under an agreement with Canterbury worth a reported £20m to the Rugby Football Union - in deepest, darkest Gloucestershire this week at Drybrook RFC as a reward for the club's commitment to the wider community. The kits may have taken centre stage but Drybrook chairman Paul Mason stole the show with his thanks to those local groups that support his club including the British Legion, the local Racing Pigeon club and perhaps the only Morris Dancing troupe to partner up with a rugby club.
Monye in the money
It appears Wasps' James Haskell is not the only England international to benefit from the honesty of random Londoners. Quins winger Ugo Monye took to Twitter last week to thank the stranger who returned his wallet to Kingston police station deserves a medal. He wrote: "Big thank u to whoever handed in my wallet into Kingston police station. "Great to see that ;) Whoever u are, u are blessed X."
Union on a wire
Word reaches ESPNscrum towers of a new rugby-themed tourist attraction in south west London. The Daily Mail reports that the RFU are in talks to build a 'roof walk experience' at England's iconic Twickenham home. Doubts have already surfaced as to how the vista will compare to similar tourist traps at the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia and the Sky Tower in Auckland and sadly it is not expected to be ready in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup that will start and end at the stadium.
Rugby official in 'openness' shocker
England Rugby 2015, the organisers of the next World Cup, rolled out the welcome mat at their Twickenham HQ earlier this week to mark the three-year countdown to the opening game of that tournament and we shocked by not just one but two rare examples of honesty and openness from leading officials. Firstly, the refreshingly straight-talking ER2015 chairman Andy Cosslett offered a no-nonsense take on why Debbie Jevans has taken on the chief executive role at the expense of Paul Vaughan - "In every respect she brings new value to the team that Paul wasn't in a position to do because he hasn't got that experience." And then, International Rugby Board chief executive Brett Gosper, only a month into one of the most powerful jobs in the game, threw the gauntlet down to rugby fans around the world to debate the issues direct - via Twitter. More of the same please.
It is hoped a bust of the late Bill McLaren will help turn his home town of Hawick into a tourist 'mecca'. The Hawick News reports that the likeness of the 'Voice of Rugby', who died in 2010 having carved out a reputation as arguably the sport's greatest commentator, "is set to become a shrine for supporters of the sport and draw many tourists from all over the world." Former Hawick captain and Scotland cap Alastair Cranston, now a Hawick and Denholm councillor, said: "I'm hoping that with the bust and the rugby centre together, Hawick is going to become a mecca for rugby fans."
'That was silly stuff'
Poor old Dean Greyling. The South Africa prop had a bit of a shocker in his side's latest Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand - and he was only on the field for 20 minutes. His eye-catching cameo included penalties and missed tackles but more notably a forearm to the face of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw that saw him sin-binned and later banned for two weeks. We are in awe of McCaw's ability to literally role with the punches and are also baffled by the lack of consistency from officials with Greyling's cheap shot arguably worse than the head-butt attempted by his team-mate on Australia's Nathan Sharpe that did not land but also resulted in a two-week suspension.
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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