So with less than a year to go till the 2015 Rugby World Cup – I personally can’t wait – love my sport me 🙂 – England Coach Stuart Lancaster has been given a six, yes, SIX year contract extension. Some people will say why give it to him before Rugby’s elite competition (his previous contract expired at the end of next years bonanza). This to me is a gamble, England are in the group of death with Australia and Wales, they will also play Uruguay or Russia as well as Fiji in the opening game of the tournament– so they will have to be ‘On It’ from the start. It is not inconceivable that England could fail to qualify from their Pool, and where does that leave a 6 year contract extension!!!!!!! My main concern is that whilst Lancaster has done a fantastic job – they were the last team to beat the All Blacks (until last Saturday – 4th October*) – however for me there are three games that define the Cumbrian’s tenure – England 12 Wales 19, Wales 30 England 3 and France 26 England 24. All games that ultimately cost them a Six Nations title. In essence, England whilst progressing under Stuart Lancaster, have tended to end up as the bridesmaids. Australia, South Africa and New Zealand are amongst England’s opponents this coming autumn and they begin the Six Nations with a visit to Wales in February, here’s hoping the decision to hand a long term contract of this nature is not going to make anyone look too foolish. Not to worry I’m sure there is a break clause – I just hope it never has to be used.
*South Africa are now the last team to beat the All Blacks, after a Rugby International from the gods at Ellis Park, Johannesburg. A late penalty from Pat Lambie was the crucial points scorer in a 27-25 victory after New Zealand fought back from 24-13 down midway through the second half to lead 24-25 at one point. By a quirk of fate these sides meet in a shortened (because of the World Cup) Rugby Championship next year, in the same stadium and are also seeded to meet in the semi-finals of the global competition, my mouth is watering already.
Andy Murray in his quest to make the World Tour Finals has had a decent couple of weeks. He entered the Shenzhen Open in his first tournament after the US Open and battled his way through with a number of come from behind victories to win his first title since Wimbledon last year and boost his chances of making it to London for the end of season singles bonanza. In the China Open that followed he had a good run till the semi-finals, however he was comprehensively beaten by Novak Djokovic, his conqueror in New York, so still plenty for our Muzza to ponder. He is now within touching distance of a top eight place with two tournaments (Shanghai and Paris) to come, so it is now in his hands. After a difficult season (partly due to injury, lack of form and change of coach) with a drop down the rankings, qualification in front of home fans is now within sight and would be great fillip. A good run would set him up nicely for the 2015 season and an assault on increasing his ranking and Grand Slam title count.
Ps Note to Ed ‘commercial genius but utterly clueless when it come to conducting footballing matters’ Woodward. Mr De Gea has less than two years on his contract – GET HIM SIGNED UP TOUT SUITE!!!!!!! And don’t wait until the last minute which is seemingly how YOU tend to conduct transfer business – DOH!!!!!!!
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