Marmite Banned!

In Welsh schools, Marmite is banned in Breakfast clubs in Wales. This is due to it's high salt content. What this decision does not take into account is that Marmite isn't used in vast quantities - it's spread thinly.

"Ridiculous", said Paddington.

(For those outside the UK, Marmite is a by-product of the brewing industry. Made from yeast it is a dark black gooey substance which is spread on toast. It is salty, and high in Vitamin B. Recognising that it's a product you can't be ambivalent about, this is used in the adverts - 'you either love it or hate it'. They show people consuming marmite and half of them have a bad reaction.... lately, Paddington Bear is advertising Marmite.)

Six Nations 2008

So, Everyone gets something... Wales get the Grand Slam, the championship and Bragging Rights (as do Wasps, as Wales did it with Warren and Shaun)

England get second place, and the Millennium Trophy for beating Ireland today (I was there). We also got to see Danny Cipriani's first game, and he was good - as Wasps knew he would... be.

France get the Giuseppe Garibaldi trophy for beating Italy (can all Italy games have a trophy at stake, please? That seems like an easy option to get a trophy in the short term... unless you're Scottish)

Ireland get the Centenary Quaich trophy for beating Scotland.

Scotland get the Calcutta Cup for beating England (in a game that caused me to fall asleep - but well done to Scotland)

Italy get a wooden spoon.

Nobody gets whitewash.

Everyone has something... and Italy can use their trophy for making nice meals. Bonus.

Investec Challenge: England vs. Wales

This a from Twickenham, where I watched Wales play England in the Investec Challenge game, one of the World Cup warmup games. Twickenham

I thought I'd get in early and beat the rush, but the train was packed and I had about three hours to spare.

England vs. Wales - Investec Challenge It was a hosing for Wales, with a final score of 62-5 to England, tries from Easter(x4), Borthwick, Dallaglio, Perry(x2), Robinson and Tait. Wilkinson made 7 conversions and 1 penalty kick. As consolation, James scored for Wales.

It was such a hefty scoreline, that I found myself willing Wales on in order to make it more of a game!

France next week should be a lot closer.

Italy vs. Wales timeline

These times taken from the clip on youtube (some may be a little off), from yesterday's controversial game 78:22 Sergio Parisse named MotM 78:34 Lineout 78:41 J. Thomas brought down 78:54 Ball passed down line 79:00 Welsh get ball out of another ruck 79:05 ... and again 79:15 and again 79:23 Welsh brought down 79:36 Penalty awarded 79:53 Ref asks how long to go (didn't make out when player asked) 79:58 Do it now, ten seconds (ironically taking a chunk of those 10 secs) 80:00 Clock goes red. Kick taken. Ball not in touch when kick taken 80:15 Welsh not formed up for lineout yet 80:20 Gets something from his timekeeper, Whistle.

If there are comments, please use the thread on yesterday's controversial game.

Yesterday's Rugby Games

Yesterday, we watched a little of the Rugby on television. There were two six nations games. First up was Ireland vs. Scotland. This was a much closer run thing than it had any right to be. Scotland should have been hammered, but they kept fighting and it went to the line with an Irish win of 19-18. There is some controversy surrounding this game as one of the Irish players had his airway restricted, and the Irish coach is claiming it was deliberate (a very serious charge indeed, and to my mind, potentially a police matter).

Next was Wales vs. Italy. This was always going to be a much closer affair, with Wales desperate to avoid the wooden spoon, and Italy keen to show that their victory against Scotland was not a flash in the pan. This was a really good game, and I was on the edge of my seat.... however, sorry Wales, I was supporting Italy. The game went back and forth between the two sides, but the controversy came at the end. Update: I've made a timeline of the events, available here.

With 3 points in it and seconds to go, Wales were awarded a penalty. A kick would have seen them draw, but a try would see them win. They appeared to ask the referee if there was enough time to attempt the win, and the ref appeared to say yes. They decided to forego the draw and kick to touch. The ref then blew for full time before the lineout. I could not believe this, nor could the Welsh, as they appeared to have asked explicitly. On the other hand, comments on the 606 board on the BBC website seem to say the sequence was a little different to how I perceived it:

'Hook asked how long we had left and White said there was about 10 seconds.

Hook asked if we could kick to touch and White said 'yes, carry on'.

So according to this the Ref was NOT asked if there was time for the line out.

Either way, it was a tough call - and as someone said in this discussion, perhaps the rules should allow for a single lineout after a penalty, even if the clock has ticked past the 80 minutes.

As someone else said:

I don't see the referee being lambasted for not noticing it was a Welsh hand that created the 'knock-on' preventing a very good opportunity for an Italian try in the first half. These things have a habit of evening themselves out

I quite agree, overall, though the Welsh were hard-done-by at the end, the result of 23-20 to Italy was just.

In the Guinness Premiership, Wasps were playing Harlequins, and when I checked earlier in the game Wasps were trailing (unsurprising, it was an away game after all) - but at the end we had clawed it back, to what, I think, is our first away win in the premiership this season! The score was 23-16.

Elsewhere in the Guinness Premiership, Bath beat Northampton 22-17. I'm quite pleased with that as it keeps the relegation battle alive - and I've a slightly soft spot for Worcester as I've seen them play twice this season - losing both times, but losing with such style that they I've wondered why they're not higher in the table.

Bristol lost to London Irish, 7-12. This is good from a partisan perspective, as it means that Bristol are just two points ahead of Wasps (with a game in hand though), but Wasps are still 8 points clear of Irish.

On Friday, Sale lost to Worcester, 12 to 18, which I'm happy with for the reasons given for Bath-Northampton result.

Gloucester are to play Leicester today. I'm unsure what the ideal result would be - a Gloucester win would see them leapfrog Wasps with a game in hand, but keep Leicester in the sights. A Leicester win would keep Wasps above Gloucester, but only just - and they've still a game to play.

I'm not sure who I want to win!

The Premiership as of 10th March '07
1 Leicester 17 11 1 5 437 322 10 56
2 Bristol 17 11 1 5 297 274 6 52
3 Wasps 18 10 1 7 403 320 9 51
4 Gloucester 16 11 1 4 377 284 4 50
5 Saracens 17 9 2 6 415 319 7 47
6 London Irish 17 10 0 7 310 295 3 43
7 Harlequins 18 8 0 10 376 354 8 40
8 Bath 18 7 1 10 339 405 7 37
9 Sale 18 7 0 11 346 384 7 35
10 Newcastle 17 7 0 10 349 442 6 34
11 Northampton 17 5 0 12 242 377 6 26
12 Worcester 18 4 1 13 268 383 7 25

Update: 12:45 - the last six minutes of the game are on youtube.

Wales has vanished!

Maps of the EU are sometimes drawn with non-members removed (as on the euro coin). Eurostat produced a recent map, someone forgot Wales. Oh dear.

Regretable, though I can understand it as the organisation of the UK must be a bit of a mystery to many people who aren't from the UK. The person looking at their list of countries must have known about Scotland and England being part of the UK, but did not know that the same applied to Wales. Therefore when they looked for Wales on their list and came up short, they assumed it was outside the EU.

These things happen, though someone will be walking round with a very red face today.