Bruce Pope (archive)

Drowning sorrows brews trouble

  • Bruce Pope - BBC Wales Sport journalist
  • 14 Feb 07, 04:15 PM

b_pope_6666.gifwal_badge.gif Cardiff - Are professional rugby players, specifically international rugby players, allowed to have a drink?

By drink I don't mean rehydrating with some fancy isotonic concoction or, heaven forbid, plain old water. I mean booze, hooch, the devil's brew - alcohol.

I only ask because one of the daily tabloids down here in Cardiff dedicated Wednesday's back page to a report on how the Wales team went out drinking in Edinburgh after Saturday's defeat to Scotland.

Apparently there were more than a few Welsh fans "enraged" by seeing Gareth Jenkins' boys out supping a few ales after being duffed at Murrayfield.

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Surprises wing in from Wales camp

  • Bruce Pope - BBC Wales Sport journalist
  • 29 Jan 07, 04:41 PM

b_pope_6666.gifwal_badge.gif Cardiff - "How we sing as we limp through the air; Look below, there's our field over there; With our full crew aboard and our trust in the Lord; We're coming in on a wing and a prayer"

I'm trying to think of a previous time when a player has been definitely ruled out of a major international, only to then miraculously recover just in time (I believe in some rugby circles it's known as an 'anti-Wilkinson', although Jonny's ready for another return).

But you know how it is, you wait for one and then two come along at once with Sunday night's news from the Wales camp that Shane Williams and Mark Jones could yet face Ireland.

Gareth Jenkins' backs cupboard had been looking a bit bare, what with injuries and possible bans, and we'd all enjoyed keeping a close eye on Gavin Henson to see if he fitted the bill at full-back (general concensus in the last blog seemed to lean towards 'not at the moment').

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Will Henson get his groove back?

  • Bruce Pope - BBC Wales Sport journalist
  • 26 Jan 07, 05:00 PM

b_pope_6666.gifwal_badge.gifCardiff - Apparently, Gavin Henson has danced his way into the Wales number 15 shirt for the Six Nations opener against Ireland on Sunday week.

Wales have requested he has a run-out at full-back this weekend for the Ospreys against Ulster, as national coach Gareth Jenkins seems to be running out of backs.

Wings Shane Williams and Mark Jones are crocked, full-back Lee Byrne and centre Sonny Parker are very crocked, fellow midfield man Tom Shanklin is struggling with a thigh strain, while Gareth Thomas has a possible ban hanging over him.

I don't think full-back is Henson's ideal position, especially if you look back at the 2005 vintage at inside centre which, in harness with Shanklin, was so integral to Wales' Grand Slam success.

Continue reading "Will Henson get his groove back?"

About Bruce Pope

  • Bruce Pope - BBC Wales Sport journalist
  • 24 Jan 07, 08:15 AM

b_pope_6666.gifCardiff - There are few better places than Wales to live and work if you love your sport - even if you happen to be an Englishman - so it's been a happy six years since they let me in the front door here in Cardiff.

I'm Devon-born and Dorset-raised but it wasn't till I ended up in Swansea at the end of my studies that I had a top-flight rugby team to support, just as the All Whites were hitting their stride in the 90s.

Regional rugby and the amalgamation with Neath means the Ospreys have inherited my loyalty.

I got my first taste of journalism during an exchange year in the USA, as a tennis reporter for the University of New Mexico's student paper. After graduating and a year back-packing in Africa I started freelancing in London, working as a sports sub-editor for the likes of the Independent and the Telegraph online.

It's always a hard task to put aside being an over-excited fan (and put down the beer glass) during the Six Nations and take on the role of impartial BBC journalist, plus a Welsh girlfriend and an Irish mother mean I've got my feet in a few camps.

But my only real complaint with the championship is that it clashes with the ski season, although if they ever move the Six Nations I don't think it'll be because of snow.

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