Manu the 'ear-o' and Harlem Shakers
March 1, 2013
England centre Manu Tuilagi fronted up to the media on Saturday - fresh from having 19 stitches in the ear that was torn from the side of his head © @GavinMairs
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.
'Manu is a bloody ear-o'
Congratulations to the subs at The Sun for their take on Manu Tuilagi's heroics during his side's Six Nations victory over France last weekend. For those who have somehow missed details of his awe-inspiring endeavour, the centre had his ear ripped from his head in a challenge with France's Louis Picamoles but dimissed the need for stitiches in order to return to the game that he would swing in his side's favour with an all-important try. His injury required 19 stitches after the game but that did not prevent him fronting up to the media with a host of hacks trying their hand at sports photography with pictures of his freshly-stitched wound - including the one above by the Daily Telegraph' Gavin Mairs - flooding Twitter.
Rugby world fuels Harlem Shake phenomenon
The Harlem Shake continues to reverberate around the world with rugby teams big and small happy to play their part. YouTube is littered with examples of players convulsing to the sound of Baauer's global hit with the Crusaders' version arguably the pick of the bunch.
Cohen 'outed' at Houses of Parliament
Rugby World Cup winner and now anti-bullying campaigner Ben Cohen got a little more than he bargained for when he attended the Houses of Parliament's gay staff network earlier this week with Commons Speaker John Bercow mistakenly introducing him as 'openly gay'. The Daily Mail reports that thankfully Cohen, who dedicates much of his time to tackling the problem of homophobic bullying among young people through his StandUP Foundation, took it in good spirits. "For those of you who aren't aware his background is as a rugby international - capped no fewer than 57 times for his country - and he is openly gay and has dedicated himself to fighting for gay rights," Bercow told a packed room. The newspaper reports that the "audience roared with laughter Mr Cohen called out: 'Don't tell my wife!' Mr Bercow was left squirming and tried to backtrack."
'Rugby shorts saved my life'
We have long been convinced of rugby's ability to change lives but save them? Apparently so. The Daily Mail reports that British teenager Sam Woodhead, "survived for three days without food or water after getting lost in the scorching Australian Outback" and was finally rescued having made an SOS sign out of his old rugby shorts that "saved him from certain death in the wilderness." You could be forgiven for thinking that Woodhead is carrying a bit of timber until you read a little further down that he actually used all his clothes in his bid to attract the attention of rescuers. Reflecting on his rescue, Woodhead said: "I asked the pilot afterwards and he said, "The only reason we turned around was because we saw something fly up from the ground." It was a pair of my white rugby shorts that I used in the SOS sign."
'Hallowed turf' takes a pounding
Twickenham has witnessed many eye-catching displays but perhaps none to rival that put on by the team from BBC motoring show Top Gear. Presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May took on each other in a game of 'car rugby' that left the playing surface at English rugby's HQ looking a little worse for wear. Any fans fearing the impact on England's free-flowing style and their quest for a Six Nations Grand Slam can rest easy as the shoot took place last year before the Twickenham pitch was re-laid.
Rugby promotion is out of this world
You could be forgiven for thinking that the British & Irish Lions' tour to Australia is the only event on the rugby calendar this summer but you would be wrong. The last Rugby World Cup Sevens event, before the Olympics takes over as the pinnacle of the 7-a-side game, is set to vie for the rugby globe's attention with the tournament set to take place in Moscow, June 28-30. The pool draw took place earlier this week with cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, currently on the International Space Station, lending a helping hand with a message from outer space. You sense they may have a bit more success in catching the public's imagination with the rather glamorous assistants that were on-hand to help promote the latest international event staged in the country following the 2010 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy.
'Hopefully we'll find a commentator in the stadium for the second half'
Wales' Six Nations victory over Italy in Rome last weekend was a largely uneventful affair but still managed to provide one of the talking points of the weekend - albeit in the commentary box. The BBC's Andrew Cotter was taken ill a few minutes into the game leaving sidekick Jonathan Davies to take the commentary microphone and another former Wales international - Shane Williams who was set for just pitchside punditry duty - drafted in as support. Recalling the off-field drama, Williams told the Western Mail: "I'd been speaking to him [Cotter] in the morning, we were in the same hotel, and he was fine but 10 minutes into the game he had stood up and was just violently sick. All of a sudden Jonathan was left on his own and it was panic stations. You can imagine me, someone who's never done this in my life, the next thing I know I'm up there in front of 70,000 people. The worst thing is the woman who took me up said: 'Don't worry there are only five million people listening to you!"
Richie taking a back seat for a change
While his Crusaders side were preparing for the start of their latest Super Rugby campaign, Richie McCaw was enjoying the latest leg of his hard-earned sabbatical in the United States. The All Blacks captain is known to have done a bit of travelling while re-charging his batteries and was spotted in the audience of The Late Show with David Letterman - a popular chat show that is filmed in New York.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in Pictures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year