BBC BLOGS - Tom Fordyce

Archives for March 2012

Inside the new anti-doping system

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Tom Fordyce | 10:46 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2012

Every Olympic athlete representing Great Britain this summer is using it, it's the cornerstone to every sport's fight against drug cheats, and it's just changed significantly.

This is Adams (the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System), the online program that athletes use to tell the testers where they will be for an hour a day, seven days a week, and where they'll train at all times.

When I signed up to the National Registered Testing Pool last summer, in order to experience first-hand what our sporting heroes go through, I found the old version of Adams clunky, slow and impossible to access from your phone. You got the hang of it with time, but it was far from simple.

With the new system freshly in place ahead of the London Olympics, I decided to test it out myself.

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Lancaster leads England renaissance

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Tom Fordyce | 22:52 UK time, Saturday, 17 March 2012

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree is not normally an emotional man, nor one given to effusive praise.

So his comments about the team and its interim coach Stuart Lancaster after the 30-9 demolition of Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday were as telling as they were unusual.

"We've been born again as a new team under Stuart," he said. "We've come such a long way. We've made everyone proud of us again, and there's still loads more to come."

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Ashton yearns to make a splash

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Tom Fordyce | 23:53 UK time, Thursday, 15 March 2012

Chris Ashton is the fastest man in the England team. He is also quick to admit his weaknesses.

Has this been the toughest six months of his entire career?

"Definitely. Coming back from the World Cup... sometimes it just goes like that," he said.

"Your life is never going to keep going up and up - there will always be a bit where it plateaus out. It's dealing with that side of it that's harder than anything else. When we got back from New Zealand it just kept snowballing."

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The Final Countdown: Inside the England dressing room

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Tom Fordyce | 18:18 UK time, Wednesday, 14 March 2012

You've been selected to play for your country. The day of the big Six Nations clash has arrived.

The hours before kick-off are crawling past, but at last you're on the team coach, arriving at the stadium, thousands of people cheering and jeering all around.

What happens next? Four of England's key men this season take us into the inner sanctum...

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Lancaster's perfect pitch

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Tom Fordyce | 19:46 UK time, Sunday, 11 March 2012

Everyone gets anxious before job interviews. After England's thrilling 24-22 win over France in Paris on Sunday afternoon, Stuart Lancaster might feel rather more confident about his next one.

You can imagine the first question after England's caretaker coach sits down in front of the five-man panel who will decide the identity of England's permanent coach: "So, Stuart. What qualities do you think you bring to this position?"

"Well... I've just orchestrated a heart-stopping win over the World Cup finalists on their own patch, pulled off by a team of inexperienced newcomers against vastly more experienced opponents, just a few months after they ended the reign of my predecessor.

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Land of the rugby giants

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Tom Fordyce | 11:43 UK time, Thursday, 8 March 2012

There's been much talk this Six Nations about the giants of the rampaging Welsh back line - two inches and 11.8kg bigger on average than their English opposition a fortnight ago, the team as a whole average a staggering 107.7kg (16st 13lbs).

But just how much bigger are international rugby players than their counterparts from days gone by and what effect is it having on the game's tactics, aesthetics and injuries?

With the consent of some very kind people at Twickenham's Museum of Rugby, I've dug out statistics for every England team every decade since 1962 and spun them into detailed comparisons. The results make very interesting reading indeed.

We'll get the thoughts of Shane Williams - at 5ft 7in and 80kg a brilliant anachronism among the modern-day behemoths - on what rugby's growth spurt is doing to the sport. But first, the numbers.

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