The Sin Bin
Naked calendars and ice skating
January 4, 2013
Gareth Thomas will be back on your screens in another reality television show © PA Photos
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
The emergence of 'Ref-Cam'
With rugby coaches, players and supporters the world over still berating the standard of refereeing most weekends, Sky Sports have given the rugby-watching public a new way of seeing the game - from the perspective of the officials. 'Ref-Cam' was trialled during Newcastle Falcons' Championship clash with London Scottish.
The camera was attached to referee Matthew Carlin's chest and so wherever his chest was pointing, so too was the camera. The innovation was greeted with a mixed reaction with some heralding it as a worthy addition to our ever-modernising game, but others, such as former England hooker Brian Moore, were less than impressed. Moore said in his column for the Telegraph: "Apart from nausea, Sky's ref-cam innovation added nothing to the viewing experience".
Gael hangs out for Stade
Manchester City star Gael Clichy was a surprise addition to the famous Dieux du Stade calendar for 2013. In the past we have seen the likes of James Haskell, the Bergamascos and the Evans brothers get their kit off for the calendar. This year's edition includes athletes from an array of sports alongside your normal host of rugby stars. Clermont's Wesley Fofana and Morgan Parra and Toulon's Maxime Mermoz and Alexis Palisson have also stripped off for 2013.
And on the subject of naked calendars, a few of Oxford University's victorious Varsity side also opted to ditch their clothes for charity. They were 'artistically' snapped in various places around Oxford and without sporting their usual kit.
Alfie turns to the rink
Wales' most-capped player Gareth Thomas, an ex-Celebrity Big Brother housemate, will be back on your screens this weekend but this time, rather than wearing his rugby kit, Gareth will be wearing Lycra as he is part of the line-up for the latest series of Dancing on Ice. He will compete against the likes of Pamela Anderson, Keith Chegwin and Beth Tweddle for the title, and Alfie has set his sights high.
"I have a dream for this show; I want to be able to do something that's never been done on the show before. I don't know what that will be but whatever the move is, I want to be the first celebrity to have ever tried to do it. I miss challenging myself since I left rugby - I want to show the real me and let my personality shine through."
Berocca trickshots with @ProperChurch
He has won numerous gongs with Leinster and looks set to be in with a shout of touring with the British & Irish Lions in the summer. But what does Cian Healy do in his spare time? Wonder no longer.
While London Welsh are performing admirably in the Premiership and above expectations, it seems the Oxford infrastructure is struggling to adapt to hosting the new kids on the block. According to local newspaper reports, roughly 1000 fans missed the first-half of London Welsh's eventual 34-15 loss to London Wasps. A disgruntled Wasps fan said on Twitter: "Parking was a disgrace and missed most of 1st half." So it seems that while they have shown no ill-effects of their rushed promotion on the field, there are still some teething problems for their new CEO Tony Copsey to attend to.
Ignoring the frost to play touch
A few days before Christmas, 294 locals, all dressed as Santa, took to Perthshire Rugby Club's pitch and broke the record for largest game of touch rugby. It smashed the previous record of 262. The participants aged from just two to those, shall we say, significantly older and their senior coach Andy Cummins was delighted with the turnout.
Cummins told The Courier: "After it was postponed last week, we were a little bit worried about the turnout but we are really pleased with the turnout from the team and also the local people of Perth -- it's great to get that many people on a Sunday morning. It was amazing to see all the red and white suits running about. It's a brilliant community event."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd