by COLIN RENTON
Silver screen beckons for Brave Blossoms
The Tokyo-based agency Kyodo News has reported that Japan’s 2015 World Cup victory over South Africa will be made into a film. The movie, with the working title ‘the Brighton Miracle’, will be written and directed by the Australian Max Mannix – a former professional rugby league player – who intends to start production in January on Australia’s Gold Coast. Mannix has lined up New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison to play the part of Japan coach Eddie Jones and Australian Uli Latukefu as captain Michael Leitch. Mannix says the film is about more than rugby. He will use it to tell the complex stories of some squad members, including Kensuke Hatakeyama whose parents lost their home in the 2011 tsunami. Mannix will also cast real rugby players to ensure authenticity.
Eddie’s obsessive attention to detail
A biography of Jones due for publication in November offers an insight into the Aussie’s obsessive attention to detail. Rugby Maverick, written by journalist Mike Colman, tells of Jones’ time in charge at ACT Brumbies. In the book, George Gregan reveals that Jones would hand out a two-to-three page dossier on the match referee, including an assessment of the official’s fitness, suggesting that those who were less nimble would take more time to reach the breakdown, allowing players to lie longer on tackled men and slow the game down.
Christian wades into American adventure
The options for players disillusioned with the domestic game appear to be growing. For Scots unhappy about the offer of a contract, the destination has generally been the lower leagues of England and France. Now England international winger Christian Wade has shown that there is an alternative career path. Wade has left Wasps and moved to the NFL in America, with the refusal of Eddie Jones to pick the 27-year-old cited as a key factor. Wade won his solitary England cap on England’s tour of Argentina five years ago. He has scored 82 tries in 130 Premiership matches for Wasps, but has not been at his sharpest this season. Wade’s final game for Wasps was against Gloucester on 6th October.
It takes time to nurture native coaches
The appointment of Gregor Townsend in the Scotland job means that a native Scot is back in the post following the contributions of Andy Robinson, Scott Johnson and Vern Cotter. The introduction of Super 6 has many well documented downsides but, if not over-managed by Scottish Rugby, could prove a breeding ground for the next generation of national coaches. That will place Scotland well ahead of Wales, whose chief executive Martyn Phillips has admitted that it could be a decade before a Welshman leads Wales again. Current incumbent Warren Gatland will be succeeded by fellow Kiwi Wayne Pivac after next year’s World Cup.
Kyle beats himself 33-5
The effect of player shortages at lower league clubs was eloquently described by Keith Wallace in his column on 16th October. But it takes more than dwindling numbers to stop enthusiasts enjoying their weekly rugby fix. A good example of players coming to the support of opponents was Kyle McIntosh of the Glenrothes Development side. The Fifers travelled to meet Stobswell in Tennent’s Division Four Midlands. McIntosh scored three tries and nine conversions for the visitors before switching sides to help out the short-handed hosts who had been hit by injuries during the game. And, McIntosh achieved a rare feat in claiming the Stobswell try in a 95-5 defeat.
Doping cheats caught out
A glance at the list of athletes recently sanctioned by the UK Anti-Doping Agency offers a worrying insight into the increased use of illegal substances by rugby players operating below the elite levels. During October, Dan Wells, captain of English National Division Two South side Clifton, was banned for four years after testing positive for an anabolic and a stimulant. Also suspended for four years was Maredydd Francis, skipper of Welsh Principality Premiership outfit RGC 1404, whose test showed traces of several drugs including nandrolone and testosterone. These decisions came a month after Newton Stewart’s Tyrell Wilson was handed a two year ban for taking ecstasy. Earlier in the year, former Marr prop Andrew Acton was found to have used steroids. The increase may be a sign of improved testing, but should nonetheless be a source of concern for officials, and a warning to those who may be tempted.
Not so Nice work by Georgian duo
Scottish Rugby’s partner club, Stade Nicois, with Hamish Bain and Archie Erskine starting and Nick McLennan on the bench, posted a hard fought 20-13 win over Grasse in the Mediterranean derby. The win, which leaves Nice third in the Federale Division 1 Pool 4 table with a game in hand after six matches, came at a price. Nice finished the game with 13 men after Georgian pair Kakhaber Koberize and Giorgi Chkhaidze were red carded (Grasse also had a man sent off). The latter was dismissed for this push on the referee.
Honest Mike comes clean
On a positive note, credit to Mike Brown for coming clean in the European Challenge Cup tie between Harlequins and Agen. The England full-back called a knock-on against himself, making life easy for the referee. Admittedly, the decision to confess may have been easier to make given his side’s comfortable lead at the time. Nevertheless, it was a sporting gesture that deserves plaudits.
🃏 A great moment from the win over Agen
🏉 Mike Brown looks to have scored, the try is given but he admits to the referee he knocked it forward
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) October 15, 2018