Six Nations Donkey Awards: Round 3

Six Nations Donkey Awards Round 3.

An exciting weekend of rugby was torn apart by the fixture offered by Wales and England at Twickenham, where perhaps not the highest quality of games was played out, but certainly the most exciting game was, with the final ten minutes offering more thrills than the entirety of the other two games combined. That being said there was no shortage of tools on display across a weekend of highly entertaining sport.

1. The Lyrical Banker.

BBC punditry has come in for a certain degree of scrutiny this season, but the age old issue of ex-player bias raising its head on more than one occasion. That is not to say that this was avoided today in the form of Thomas Castaignède being added to the BBC line up to speak on behalf of the people of France, but his addition added something else, something extra, something beautifully bizarre in its lack of sense and clarity that it simply had to be recorded here. Castaignède’s inclusion though is done so with some hesitation, because his pre-match quote was so special – in many respects, his inclusion here should not be seen as a criticism or a punishment, but as a form of recognition, an honour of sorts. The quote in question:

‘This Scottish side, it is like a woman you want to be friends with but you don’t want to marry her’

Wonderful, baffling, and utterly incoherent, thank you Thomas, your observation was so brilliantly French, and long may we hope such views continue to be broadcast on the BBC!

Donkey score: 1 (but in a good way this time)

 

2. ‘Inconclusive’ seems to be the hardest word to hear.

So, your arm is underneath a ball, then your hand is underneath a ball, and then several other people’s hands are underneath the ball, and you are still convinced you scored a try? David Strettle may have felt convinced of his score, but to turn on the officials after the match and whine like an infant deprived of his blankey before bedtime was verging on shameful. There is a way to take defeat, to cope with perceived injustice, and Strettle decided to ignore all such protocols of decency and professionalism, and bark and chirp in a manner that we might have expected from that same team during a recent world tournament. On his way to 30, it’s probably time for Strettle to grow up a little.

(Whining) Donkey Score: 3

 

3. Hands of Steel…make catching hard.

Scottish rugby eh? Well, at the close quarters Scotland certainly showed a new found tough edge, battering weak tackles aside and making impressive inroads into the world cup finalists 22, yet, with this hardened approach in attack, Scotland seemed to have applied the same logic to ball catching, with the concept of ‘soft hands’ left behind, possibly somewhere in the middle of New Zealand. How the Scots managed to spill so much ball, so much of it unforced as well, is mystifying. It is almost as if Scotland concluded that to lead France for a portion of a game was a victory in its own right, and that the following 40 minutes of rugby should be an exhibition of how to throw away, verging on literally on occasions, a game of international rugby. Perhaps an express order of glue is in order before they face Ireland, as the Scottish team must urgently discover a way to hold on to a ball!

Donkey Score: 4 (with a multiplier effect from previous matches for doing the same thing wrong again, and again, and again).

 

4. When is a New Zealand not a New Zealander?

Take your pick on this one, because once again it’s Steve Walsh time (Walsh now representing Australia as a referee, having being sacked by the New Zealand rugby union some time ago, if the above question caused confusion). Walsh has a history of irritating fans of [insert nationality here] on a regular basis, and there was certainly grounds for query from both Welsh and English fans alike after yesterday. Certainly Strettle has made his views well known on the matter of the try/no-try scenario, and plenty of English voices were only too quick to join in that debate. But what of North being overlooked for a blatant flap of a ball into touch? What of the English captain Robshaw hauling Warburton out of the air in a line-out? Any other day both would surely be straight yellow cards no? However, for Walsh’s true moment of calamity, we must return to the try that David Strettle did not score… Everyone, including every single Welsh fan, knew Walsh was playing an advantage to England before Strettle failed to ground the ball, yet Walsh seemed to completely forget that following his lengthy chat with the TMO. In a moment of forgetfulness, Walsh may well have robbed England of a chance to draw…we will never know.

For catastrophic memory loss, Walsh earns:

Donkey Score: 5

 

In passing:

5. Rhys Priestland had a day to forget in many instance, but hopefully he will learn lessons from an uncertain performance, that while never looking like losing the game for Wales on his own, certainly did little to contribute to the victory. He’ll have many better days to come, but on a day of triumph, perhaps Priestland’s contributions can be put to one side.

Donkey Score: 1

6. Finally, an honourable mention for Manu Tuilagi. It has of course been a tough time of late for Tuilagi, falling off of boats and such, and his return to the England fold was marked by a high quality performance. Yet, when Priestland was given his marching orders, from nowhere came galloping up Tuilagi, to tug at the back of the referee’s shirt, making sure that cards of a colour were indeed to be shown. It was unnecessary, uncalled for, and very donkeyish.

Donkey score: 1

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