Archive for the ‘everton’ Tag

Jumpers for Goalposts – Episode 2 – It’s a Rich Man’s World (Everton Excluded)

Stef Meens bumbles his way through another episode of our critically panned show.

This week he’s joined in the studio by Ewan McQueen, Sahil Jaikda and Stu Martinez.

Topics on the agenda include Man United’s ominous start to the season, the never ending gloom at Arsenal, Everton’s desperate financial state, Jose Mourinho’s eye gouge and Michael Owen’s new found passion for jigsaws.

Apologies for the lack of a musical intro. We shall endeavour to have one next week.

Click on the link below to listen. Alternatively, you can catch us on Itunes. Search for ‘Champions Chat.’

Behold! It’s Six Nations time!

The start of the RBS 6 Nations is an exciting time for any rugby fan. For me, it signals the beginning of Spring. Although it may still be below freezing outside, the tournament brings fresh hope and entusiasm to the competing nations.

The old cliche, ‘the romance of the cup’ is rarely more evident than in this proud tournament. The mutual respect between rival fans is what makes it so special. Meeting England fans in an Edinburgh pub after beating them at Murrayfield proves this. Settling your differences over a pint, something that would not be found after an Old Firm game in Glasgow, or following a Liverpool-Everton match on Merseyside.

This years competition is being branded as one of the most open yet, with at least three of the six sides predicted to challenge for the title. 2011 could prove to be the year of the youngster in European rugby union. Every one of the 6 nations has their fair share of injury troubles, prompting the call-up of many new caps, and with the World Cup in the summer the youngsters will be keen to impress. See below a quick summary of all the competing nations, including past honours, injury troubles and their chances at claiming the title this time around.

France:

  • Favourites for 2011 6 Nations.
  • Won Grand Slam in 2010, which included a dominant 33-10 win over Ireland in Paris.
  • The only side with a clean bill of health.

England:

  • Last won the tournament in 2003, when Martin Johnson Captined the side to their first Grand Slam.
  • Viewed by many as equal favourites with France.
  • Very strong, physical forwards.
  • They are injury ridden however, missing 4 key forwards including Lewis Moody and Tom Croft.
  • Centre Mike Tindall has been handed the captaincy for the opening game against Wales on Friday (4th Feb).

Ireland:

  • 2009 Grand Slam Champions.
  • Had a relatively poor championship last year, but still managed 2nd place.
  • This year they have a lot of injury problems, with British Lions players Tommy Bowe, Rob Kearney and Stephen Ferris all out.
  • Ireland could easily slump this year, but are in good form having won their last two test matches, and will want to start strongly against Italy in Rome, on Saturday (5th Feb).

Wales:

  • Since winning the Grand Slam in 2009, Wales haven’t managed to finish higher than 4th.
  • Not considered serious title contenders.
  • They too are missing key players in the form of Leigh Halfpenny, Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins.
  • However, the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff is a fortress for the Welsh and any team can be humbled on it’s stage.

Scotland:

  • The Scots have never won the 6 Nations in it’s 10 year history.
  • Very good defensively, but struggle to score tries and therefore fail to beat the bigger sides of a regular basis.
  • However, Scotland won their last two tests against South Africa and Samoa, and have risen to 7th in the World Rankings.
  • Injured Graeme Morrison may return for the last two games of the tournament, and Johnny Beattie is only lacking in match fitness, so Scotland’s injury troubles are not as great as the other home nations.

Italy:

  • Very much the underdog of the tournament having finished bottom 7 times out of 10.
  • Italian rugby is growing quickly, helped by the induction of clubs Bennetton Treviso and Aironi Rugby into the Magners League.
  • They will also be boosted by the return of captain Sergio Parisse after he missed last years tournament through injury.

 

    Fixture List (All times GMT):

    Fri 4th Feb

    Wales v England – 19.45

    Sat 5th Feb

    Italy v Ireland – 14.30

    France v Scotland – 17.00

    Sat 12th Feb

    England v Italy 14.30

    Scotland v Wales 17.00

    Sun 13th Feb

    Ireland v France – 15.00

    Sat 26th Feb

    Italy v Wales – 13.30

    England v France – 17.00

    Sun 27th Feb

    Scotland v Ireland – 15.00

    Sat 12th March

    Italy v France – 13.30

    Wales v Ireland – 17.00

    Sun 13th March

    England v Scotland 15.00

    Sat 19th March

    Scotland v Italy – 14.30

    Ireland v England – 17.00

    France v Wales – 18.45

     

    Elliot Busby

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