BBC BLOGS - John Beattie

Archives for April 2012

Irish lead the way thanks to S.E.X factor

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John Beattie | 11:41 UK time, Monday, 30 April 2012

I wonder - what do Scottish, Welsh and English teams have to do to catch up with the Irish provinces?

Because, if you fancy a wee bit of burglary on 19 May then pick Dublin or Belfast on the Heineken Cup final weekend as most of the residents will be in London. Can I have a Ferrari please?

Well done to Ulster and Leinster as they progress to the final thanks to "S.E.X": scrummaging, experience, and the X-factor.

Glasgow have a chance to make amends in the league, but at the highest level of European rugby Scottish teams have been lacking in the most marginal sense.

I thought Edinburgh played superbly in Dublin when they took on Ulster but the first scrum of the game sent a very obvious warning. Both packs went down, it was Ulster's put in, and the Ulstermen marched forward. Oh dear, it was going to be a long afternoon at set-piece and that's what happened.

In Bordeaux where Leinster took on Clermont Auvergne the Irish scrum started by creaking, but by the end of the game Leinster's eight were holding their own.

Scrums still win or lose matches.

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Rugby trips of a lifetime and hazy away days

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John Beattie | 23:14 UK time, Wednesday, 25 April 2012

What's the best rugby trip you've been on? Ever. Anywhere.

As Edinburgh fans scramble around borrowing money for a trip to Dublin, my mind started wandering.

Will the Scottish rugby team hit winning ways soon, who was the biggest person ever to play for Scotland (Richard Metcalfe I think) and will Donald Trump buy Murrayfield, call it Trump and Grind, and stick a couple of wind turbines on the back pitch?

Actually I wasn't really, I was thinking about going back to Ireland's capital and packing light. Yes, Dublin's fair city where the girls are so pretty but it's not much use if you're in your fifties, or something like that.

And from there my mind raced to all the places I've played rugby in, or had the luck to go to and watch games. You and me, we like away trips.

I've been tweeting to try to get Edinburgh fans to come to our Sport Nation programme on Saturday morning and I hope that plenty make the journey to the Aviva stadium or it'll be like going to a new branch of a fast food restaurant called Little Belfast. All red and white and "Stand up for the Ulstermen..." and the rest of it.

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Keeping an eye out for contenders for the top

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John Beattie | 17:13 UK time, Sunday, 15 April 2012

Go on, give me your rugby tip for the top. The person you play with or have seen playing that you think, given some proper training and the right environment, could play for his or her country?

So, there I was watching the Melrose Sevens and tuning up my guitar for the gig in the tent afterwards, during which Kelly Brown would joins us for a song.

The game that caught my eye was a Jedforest one. Two tall, young, fairly skinny twin brothers called Lewis and Gregor Young were outstanding. Boy, do they have pace. Jed progressed to the semi-final and promptly knocked out holders and hosts Melrose, the Young brothers to the fore.

And it got me thinking: Having watched Kelly Brown play sevens as a lad I could only compare them to him. It was great to see two young players that looked as though they had the attributes to go all the way.

It doesn't mean they will, but they might. They'd already helped Jed to win the Gala sevens, now they were in the Melrose final, although Saracens were just too professional and too strong.

Saracens, by the way, were wearing red - which, according to leading researchers, is the colour that helps you win. And that explains just why so many politicians wear red ties too. There are even suggestions that leaving red out of the Olympic kit to such a degree means team GB will win fewer medals that might be expected.

But I'm digressing...

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Extra Edinburgh v Glasgow game would fill stadium

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John Beattie | 14:41 UK time, Sunday, 8 April 2012

What's more important, the Heineken Cup or the RaboDirect Pro12? In other words, who has done better this season, Edinburgh or Glasgow?

Can I make one request? I want Glasgow and Edinburgh to play each other one more time, at Murrayfield, all guns blazing. I'm not sure the argument is settled yet, Scottish Rugby should put on one more glorious fixture.

In life, there are ups and downs, good and bad and yin and yang; not the pandas currently unable to mate in Edinburgh Zoo, but the opposing life forces the Chinese believe exist in the universe.

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Compensation calls have hollow ring in free market

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John Beattie | 12:05 UK time, Monday, 2 April 2012

So Ospreys boss Andrew Hore, a New Zealander, has backed calls for a mechanism to compensate countries that develop players and then see them sign for teams in other countries.

He calls it a transfer fee. As you'll read later it's the Kiwis who have the biggest cheek in all of this though.

The country Hore thinks is losing players at the moment is Wales who, thanks to Warren Gatland, a simple game plan, and some tough fitness stuff, have won a Grand Slam.

The theory is that one country, in this case Wales, has developed a player and then he's plucked away from them to play somewhere else.

It is a complete load of nonsense. Just because it's happening to Wales doesn't mean it becomes an international crisis.

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