Umm, well

England wing Dan Norton breaks Rugby Sevens try scoring record in Hong Kong – and he’s only 29

7 s has only been a serious international thing for a bit so someone’s got to have the record – and this is the lifetime try record being talked about. And 29 is not exactly young for either a wing or a 7 s player either.

I mean yes, well done, certainly better than anything I’m likely to do but still. We are rather like having a list of top try scorers in the Calcutta Cup in 1890 or so. Early days that is.

Well, you know, umm, tough?

I’m an Olympic medalist but I’m worried I won’t be able to provide for my unborn twins’.

When Chris Langridge discovered shortly after the Rio Olympics that his wife, Emma, was pregnant with twins, it seemed the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Langridge and Marcus Ellis had won bronze in the men’s doubles, Britain’s first badminton medal in 12 years, and negotiations with potential new sponsors were well underway.

Then UK Sport pulled the rug from beneath their feet, cutting all £5.7m in funding despite Langridge and Ellis’ success. Sponsors have disappeared and, with less than three months until Langridge has two more mouths to feed, he is consumed with worry about how he is going to manage.

“After Rio we found out Emma was pregnant – surprise!” he explains. “Then we found out it was twins – big surprise. Then we found out straight after we had no funding. It has been a really stressful time.

“I have been worrying about how I am going to provide for my family. I’m an Olympic medalist but my finances are bleak as I’m in such an uncertain situation.

“As soon as your sport is told that funding is being removed a lot of sponsors look at you a different way, thinking you’re a risk and maybe they won’t invest. I think ‘I’m one of the best in the world and I can’t get sponsors – this is mad’.

“After I won that medal I thought that finally I could relax a little. Finally I can enjoy this a bit more.

You’re one of the very best in the world at doing something not many people are interested in. Thus it’s a bit difficult to make a living at it.

Well, OK, umm, shrug?

Well, yes, this is a problem

Meanwhile it gets odder still. Murdering Bruno, who as things stand is guilty of ordering a woman’s murder and feeding her to his dogs, wants to play football again. And soon. He’s still only 32, in his prime for a goalkeeper. He’s been training in prison. But wait. There’s a problem with Murdering Bruno returning to football. No, not mass protests, a life ban and questions in parliament. The problem is he’s not quite match fit. Just give it a few weeks, his agent says. He’s back, baby. Murdering Bruno is back.

In fact, several Brazilian clubs have already been in touch trying to secure his signature. And why not? He’s a good goalkeeper. Brazil don’t really have a settled No1 right now. The current regular is Alisson of Roma (whose older brother is also a goalkeeper, called Murial). It’s not inconceivable Bruno could be pushing for a spot in the squad six months from now, maybe even making it to Russia 2018. Who knows we might even see Murdering Bruno at Wembley, ruffling the mascot’s hair, shaking Trevor Brooking’s hand, staring with cold, flat, glazed eyes out of your TV screen while he mouths the national anthem.

Crime and punishment are always difficult, are they not?

But the crime and the punishment are for the legal and court systems to do, not the football authorities.

Would we say that a baker out on appeal for murder could not work as a baker? And why the difference if a footballer?

Marmite, is there nothing it cannot achieve?

History will remember the glory and romance of Lincoln City’s improbable triumph, memories fixing on the drama that has propelled a non-League club into the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in more than a century.

Yet the secrets underpinning this remarkable leap to immortality are rather more mundane. Theirs is a success founded upon hard work, and Marmite on toast.

I don’t actually like football

But I do love the FA Cup.

An excruciating few seconds as the technology calculated whether it had crossed the line. Then – finally – a whistle and a raised arm. And then pandemonium. Improbably, impossibly, little Lincoln – small in status but enormous where it counted – had won the day. The last eight of the FA Cup will have its first non-League representatives since 1914.

For those who don’t know what makes it great is that pretty much every football club that is organised enough to be a football club has the right of entry. 750 of them or so is the usual entry in recent years. There’s no seeding (although the big clubs enter later in the competition). No round robins, no group stages, just simple knock out matches all the way up. The first matches are in August, leading to the final the next May.

So, for example, Anstey Nomads FC, down at Level 10 of English football, with a ground capacity of 1,000, and quite possibly not in fact paying their players at all, is in competition with Manchester United here.

OK, so what you might think, but I think that makes it great. Because while the way to bet is that the race is to the swift etc, on the day it’s possible for the good little ‘un to beat the good big ‘un.

That was a bit close, no?

Obviously, post-Brexit we shall have to stop France being in the 6 nations.

For, as we keep being told, all cooperation with J. Foreigner will stop the moment we little Englanders take over.

Hmm, after that, messy, messy, game that we were lucky to win. V. lucky.

Not entirely sure about the new high tackle rules though. Ones that just ride up are worth a penalty, really just not sure about that.

Didn’t know this at all

Former Springbok captain Joost van der Westhuizen is in a critical condition in hospital, the J9 Foundation has confirmed.

The 45-year-old ex-scrumhalf has been fighting Motor Neurone Disease (MND) since 2011, and has in recent times required an oxygen tank on occasion to help him breathe.

What a shitty thing to happen to a sportsmn.

Sure, OK, it’s shitty for anyone but specifically for someone who was absolutely fighting fit for all those years.

Jeebus, who knew?

Researchers from the London School of Economics found that by playing sport in a team participants not only gain the health benefits of exercise, but can boost long-term happiness.

Rather a Chesterton’s Fence thing there, no?

Given that most human societies have had some form of team sport…..

Misread this

Racing 92 7 Munster 32: Visitors honour Anthony Foley with bonus-point Champions Cup win

Didn’t Foley play for Munster? Going down by 927 points isn’t honouring is it? Umm…..ah!

So, Six Nations predictions then

Deciding match last of the series, England v Ireland in Dublin?

Scotland are much better than in the recent past but it is much better, not top rank, Wales are drifting, Italy, game lads but and France, well, who knows which team will turn up?

Ireland well beat the All Blacks and were very close a second time. And England. So, the last match as the decider perhaps?

Tee hee

Oh tee hee indeed:

Giovanbattista Venditti scored a crucial second-half try as Italy bounced back from an All Blacks mauling to score an historic first 20-18 win over embattled South Africa.

On the England Fiji game, yes, obviously, Fiji were soundly beaten. However, however, this is not quite true but around and about so. 30 years ago the England Maybes team would have put up that sort of score against Fiji. Today they need to bring out the full team to do so. Fiji is advancing….as obviously, is Italy and as Argentina have done similarly.

Oh, well done, well done indeed!

Ireland’s class of 2016 stamped their names into the history books as Joe Schmidt’s side dispatched New Zealand 40-29 in Chicago for their first victory over the All Blacks in 111 years of trying. Three days after the Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year drought to land baseball’s World Series, Ireland lit up the city’s Soldier Field stadium with their maiden win over the All Blacks at the 29th attempt.

New Zealand’s record-breaking winning run was halted at 18 Tests – their last defeat was by Australia in August 2015 – after the Irish were forced to hold off a ferocious fightback in the second half, which saw the All Blacks recover from a 30-8 deficit after 46 minutes to go within four points at 33-29.

Not particularly because it is Ireland that did it, nor that it ends the winning streak. Just because beating the All Blacks in a test is one of the more difficult achievements in sport.

Difficult achievements should be applauded. As they say, this is the first time Ireland have achieved it….

I don’t think it’s six million at the Cubs victory parade

No, just really, no:

The fall classic! Daredevil Cubs fans risk their lives with crazy ‘trust falls’ as SIX MILLION pack the streets of Chicago to celebrate their World Series win 108 years in the making

If you look at the pictures it’s a good turnout alright. But it’s not double the population of the entire city.

cubs

A good crowd but…..say it’s 20 deep like that, both sides,  all 7 miles of the route. Two people a yard, 1760 yards per mile. Half a million, maybe 600,000. That I would believe. But sorry Mil, just not 6 million.

This is part of a 6 million crowd:

6-million

Different order of magnitude

On the Cubs winning

God Exists. QED.

Possibly over the top but this is baseball so you never really know. There’s something about the game that speaks deep to the American soul. Other countries have sports, certainly, certain people within those countries might be nuts for one sport or another. But there’s some mythos about baseball and being an American.

Different from and possibly deeper than Kiwis and All Blacks even. Even, even they, Kiwis don’t mythologise the first time Dad tackles son, but Pop and Jr trying out the child sized glove with a bit of catch is as much a rite of passage as realising that Mom’s apple pie actually stinks.

I’m with the players here

Sparta Prague have sent two players to train with the women’s team after they told a female assistant referee to stay in the kitchen.

Lukas Vacha and Tomas Koubek were condemned by the Czech FA chairman and their club appointed them as ambassadors of the women’s team following comments they made against the assistant referee Lucie Ratajova last weekend.

Ratajova failed to notice a clear offside as Sparta lost a 3-2 lead in the 92nd minute against Zbrojovka Brno following a goal by Alois Hycka last Sunday.

After the game Vacha, the injured Sparta midfielder, tweeted the assistant referee’s photo with a caption reading “To the cooker”, while the goalkeeper Tomas Koubek told the media after the game: “In my opinion, women should stay at the stove and not officiate men’s football.”

Both players issued apologies on Monday but the Czech FA chairman,

No, they didn’t go up and shout this in her face. They whined about a bad decision after the game. And in whining about a ref making a bad decision anything is fair game.

Shock! Horror!

One of England’s top rugby clubs hired a private detective to investigate extraordinary claims of debauchery during an end-of-season riverboat party.
Wasps players booked the Hurlingham floating nightclub for a cruise along the Thames, but their riotous behaviour is alleged to have left staff in tears and fearing for their safety.

Rugby players drink a bit and get boisterous.

Well now, there’s a surprise.

Erm, really?

Go back home! / Go! Back! Home! This was a troubling if not entirely unexpected chant to hear in downtown Minneapolis last weekend.

Fortunately, the source was not a rally for America’s incorrect answer to Nigel Farage, rather a rowdy tailgate party taking place before the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings faced the Green Bay Packers.

The majestic tailgate towers above all of America’s other great institutions – the state of the union address, Saturday Night Live, maple syrup as a crucial component of breakfast. There is no equivalent in British sporting fan culture.

Take a generous car park, fill it with extrovert vehicles with names like Patriot, Renegade and Wrangler, set up a barbecue, decorate your area with allegiance-pledging trinkets, BYOB, have a wonderful time.

Twickenham car parks?

OK, rather more British etc but…..