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Mark Orlovac (archive)

Mark Orlovac

The Bloggys (70)

Waterloo station/ a cross channel ferry, Monday - As a final parting World Cup gift, myself, Tom and Ben (remember them?) thought we'd dish out a few prizes from the last seven weeks. First prize goes to all of you, obviously, for reading and joining in and making the blog what it is.

But after you lot, there have been some outstanding, and not so clever, achievements. Here's just a few. Let's call them "The Bloggys". (See if you can spot who wrote which ones!)

Continue reading "The Bloggys"


Mark Orlovac

Where do England go now? (107)

Paris – I doubt whether planning for the future of the England team was foremost in the minds of the bleary-eyed fans I saw wandering around the streets of Paris this morning.

After all the partying and heartbreak that accompanied Saturday’s World Cup final against South Africa, simply getting home was as far ahead as these weary souls were prepared to look.

But as journalists gathered for player interviews in the bowels of the Stade de France late on Saturday night, some were already looking to next year’s Six Nations.

Continue reading "Where do England go now?"


Ben Dirs

England v South Africa ratings (174)

Paris - Hello all. I watched the final alongside my colleague Mark Orlovac at the Stade de France and rated the South African players. "Orlo" was in charge of England. Here's how we scored them.

Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts.

Continue reading "England v South Africa ratings"


Mark Orlovac

Mind games, James Bond and Gordon Brown (35)

Paris - For a man supposedly not comfortable with the media spotlight, England coach Brian Ashton played a blinder on Friday.

In Friday's final news conference before England play South Africa in Saturday’s World Cup final, Ashton did not look like a man just 80 minutes of rugby away from writing his name in the history books.

He was calm, funny and relaxed, and dare I say it, could he have even been playing a few mind games ahead of the clash at the Stade de France?

Continue reading "Mind games, James Bond and Gordon Brown"


Mark Orlovac

Cueto gets the nod (47)

Paris – Luckily, I hadn’t finished my "England call on Hipkiss" feature for today.

The fact that I had even started thinking about writing it shows that for the umpteenth time over the last few weeks, I have been pretty presumptuous about this England team.

It was widely assumed that Dan Hipkiss, the strong-running Leicester outside centre, would be named in the side for Saturday’s World Cup final against South Africa following the cruel injury to wing Josh Lewsey.

Continue reading "Cueto gets the nod"


Mark Orlovac

England locks ready for battle (61)

Paris – It has been quite a strange experience being around the England camp over the last couple of weeks.

You would have thought that as the World Cup has progressed through the knock-out rounds, the tension would have increased. Now they could just be good actors, but I haven't seen any evidence of it.

England, written off and dismissed, are on the verge of becoming the first side to retain the Webb Ellis Trophy but are not feeling the weight of expectation that maybe New Zealand and France did.

Continue reading "England locks ready for battle"


Mark Orlovac

England ponder Lewsey replacement (104)

Paris – To be honest it wasn't that much of a surprise.

England fans feared the worst when wing Josh Lewsey gingerly limped off the field at the half-time whistle of Saturday’s semi-final victory over France.

And earlier today it was confirmed that a hamstring strain has robbed the Wasps flyer of a chance of playing in his second consecutive World Cup final.

Continue reading "England ponder Lewsey replacement"


Mark Orlovac

South Africa v Argentina player ratings (150)

Paris - It worked so well on Saturday we're continuing the Orlo/Dirsy blog partnership for the SA v Argentina ratings, but this time with added Fordyce!

Here are our player ratings for the Boks' semi-final win over the Pumas. I have rated South Africa and Ben and Tom are now so inseparable they have jointly rated Argentina.

Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts!

Continue reading "South Africa v Argentina player ratings"


Mark Orlovac

England in the final mood (86)

Paris - The headlines said it all.

“Rageant” (infuriating) and “Une Frustration Infinie” (you can guess what that one means) screamed the press as France awoke after another draining evening with the realisation that for them, their World Cup dream is over.

The French inquest into the events that occurred at the Stade de France was already underway in earnest, with many supporters questioning why Lionel Beauxis was taken off so early in the second half.

Continue reading "England in the final mood"


Mark Orlovac

England v France player ratings (243)

Paris - A brand new partnership of me, Orlo, and him, Dirsy, together in one blog.

Here are our player ratings for England's semi-final against France. I have rated England and Dirsy's rated France.

Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts!

Continue reading "England v France player ratings"


Mark Orlovac

England calm before storm (20)

Paris – I’ll have to be honest here, I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach. It did not take me long to work out the reason why.

After all the hype and build-up, we are just over 24 hours away from Saturday’s massive clash between France and England in the World Cup semi-finals.

The anticipation is building.

Continue reading "England calm before storm"


Mark Orlovac

England stick with winning formula (40)

Paris – Make a note of the date. It has been quite a momentous day for those of a Red Rose persuasion.

For the first time in almost two years, an England head coach has been able to keep the same starting XV for successive games.

It is an incredible statistic and highlights how injuries and muddled thinking have disrupted the reigning World Cup champions over the last few years.

Continue reading "England stick with winning formula"


Mark Orlovac

Grumpy England look for improvement (40)

Paris – “Don’t worry, be happy”, sang Bobby McFerrin in his 1988 number one hit of the same name.

Jut in case you are too young to know, McFerrin’s song was the most inanely cheery pop song I can remember and is still as infectious now as it was then.

But I would put my house on betting that this particular ditty will not be on any of the mp3 players used by the England pack out here in France. You see, they're not called the "Grumpy Old Men" for nothing.

Continue reading "Grumpy England look for improvement"


Mark Orlovac

Scotland ponder what might have been (84)

Paris – The reaction of the Scotland players as the final whistle went at the Stade de France on Sunday night said it all.

Some sank to their knees, others looked blankly into space, Sean Lamont angrily threw his gumshield to the ground.

As the Argentina players and fans started their delirious celebrations, Scotland were left with the feeling that they had just blown their best of chance of reaching the last four of a World Cup since 1991.

Continue reading "Scotland ponder what might have been"


Mark Orlovac

Argentina v Scotland ratings (50)

Paris - I was at the Stade de France on Sunday night for the quarter-final between Scotland and Argentina as the Pumas reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time.

Here's my player ratings for the game, let me know what you think.

Continue reading "Argentina v Scotland ratings"


Mark Orlovac

Paris parties like it's 1999 (65)

Paris – Anyone know where I can get my hands on around 3,000 boxes of painkillers?

The reason I ask is because I reckon I could make an absolute fortune selling them on the streets of the French capital after the mother of all parties on Saturday night.

And who can blame anyone from feeling slightly groggy the morning after one of the most incredible days in World Cup history?

Continue reading "Paris parties like it's 1999"


Mark Orlovac

Hail the kicking king (49)

Paris - “Every team needs a Chris Paterson”, said a television commentator as the pinpoint Scottish kicker landed another penalty in the winner-takes-all clash with Italy last weekend.

And how right he is.

For the 30-year-old soon-to-be Gloucester back is one of the prime reasons Scotland are facing a quarter-final clash with Argentina on Sunday rather than joining Wales and Ireland on the plane home.

Continue reading "Hail the kicking king"


Mark Orlovac

Can France beat New Zealand? (85)

Paris - Yes I know it wasn't supposed to be like this, World Cup hosts France playing their quarter-final against New Zealand... in Cardiff.

The fact that Wales is the host for this epic contest has not gone down well here and the French mood is not helped by the fact that no-one expects them to win – with some French journalists giving them only a 10% chance of victory.

There is no doubt that the All Blacks are huge favourites but we all love an underdog don’t we? So let’s see if we can't give the hosts some hope.

Continue reading "Can France beat New Zealand?"


Mark Orlovac

Cruel blow for unlucky Farrell (133)

Paris - Just a day after learning he would get a shot at redemption, Andy Farrell has been ruled out of Saturday’s quarter-final clash with Australia.

The Saracens centre has suffered a catalogue of injuries since his switch from rugby league in 2005 and now he has another to add to the list.

Continue reading "Cruel blow for unlucky Farrell"


Mark Orlovac

England throw down gauntlet (123)

Paris - England coach Brian Ashton sprung a few surprises when he announced his team for Saturday’s quarter-final showdown against Australia in Marseille.

And the message he has sent out to the Wallabies is a simple one – we want to bully you at scrum time.

Continue reading "England throw down gauntlet"


Mark Orlovac

Chilled out Pumas play it cool (157)

Paris - Argentina are getting ready for the biggest game in their history, but you never would have guessed.

In the Parisian suburb of Enghien-les-Bains, the Argentine management team held their first press briefing since reaching the quarter-finals with the comfortable victory over Ireland last Sunday.

And boy, were they relaxed. Which is just as well really, considering that Argentina’s impressive exploits in France have gripped a normally football-mad nation.

Continue reading "Chilled out Pumas play it cool"


Bryn Palmer

Highs and lows of the group stages (48)

Paris – So 40 matches down, eight to go.

The group stages are over and we are down to our eight quarter-finalists.

So I thought it was time for another batch of awards, reflecting on what we have seen so far. Again, let me know if you disagree or want to offer your own suggestions for additional honours.

Best game: Wales 34-38 Fiji .
No contest this one. Much as it was painful to watch, as a Welshman, Saturday in Nantes threw up one of the most enthralling games in the entire history of the World Cup. Nine tries in total, Fiji scoring 25 points in 10 crazy first-half minutes, Wales hitting back to lead 29-25, Fiji going back in front, Martyn Williams’ intercept try to give Wales the lead again…Fiji winning it at the death. Bewildering, breathtaking, heartbreaking stuff.

Continue reading "Highs and lows of the group stages"


Mark Orlovac

What now for the minnows? (44)

London - It’s all about the timing isn’t it?

Just as the World Cup starts to boil up nicely, we hear that the International Rugby Board is apparently considering reducing the number of teams at the 2011 World Cup – leaving the “minnows” to compete in a second-tier tournament.

Continue reading "What now for the minnows?"


Mark Orlovac

Scotland ratings v Romania (65)

London - Scotland made it two wins out of two with a comfortable enough victory over Romania at Murrayfield.

Frank Hadden's men rarely looked troubled but were a little scrappy and will need to improve their execution, especially at the breakdown, for the tougher tests that lie ahead.

See what you think of my player ratings and let us know what you thought of the Scotland display.

Continue reading "Scotland ratings v Romania"


Mark Orlovac

About Mark Orlovac (0)

I'm one of the team that helps look after the rugby union section on the website and on digital text & Ceefax on TV.
But just in case any of the bosses are looking, I do write other stuff as well...

Despite going to a rugby-dominated school, I never played regularly (to be honest I wasn’t good enough) but somewhere in my mind I have an image of myself as a dogged, sniping scrum-half – a bit like Gary Armstrong.

Unfortunately, five knee dislocations led to the premature end of my sporting career in 1997 although I am sure I will be living out my dreams through my two sons – all I am asking for are Scotland and Lions caps.

I started my journalistic career at a local newspaper in Teddington, covering the likes of Harlequins, London Irish, Richmond, London Scottish and London Welsh, before joining the Beeb in 2000.

Away from work, I am a drummer in a 50s jive band and my claim to fame is that my uncle invented hit 80s quiz show ‘Bullseye’ (my eldest son is the very proud owner of a bendy Bully and before you ask, I can’t get you one).


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