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Friday, 28 January 2011

The Greatest 5/6 Nations Tries

With the RBS 6 Nations commencing in one week’s time, the team here at ENS thought we would delve into the archives and select our top five 5/6 Nations tries. Selecting the best five proved to be a difficult task and some excellent tries have just missed out. Do you agree with our choices?

1. Phillipe Saint-André, England v France, Twickenham, 1991


This is French flair at its best and was deservedly voted the greatest try ever scored at Twickenham. You can only admire the audaciousness of the great Serge Blanco to begin an attack from behind his own try line but this is proof that ‘he who dares wins’. The names involved in this length of the field score are legendary, with Phillippe Sella setting up Didier Camberabero for his double chip kick, which makes fools of Dean Richards and Peter Winterbottom. All Saint-Andre had to do was collect and touchdown and thus write his name into the history books. For all you English fans, it’s not all bad news, as England did in fact win the match 21-19 to claim the Grand Slam. However, there is only one thing this match will be remembered for.

2. Phil Bennett, Wales v Scotland, Murrayfield, 1977


This try is the stuff of Welsh legends, fittingly scored by a Welsh legend in his own right. Gerald Davies initiates the break out from the Welsh 22 with two scintillating sidesteps. There is a slight hint of a forward pass in the build-up but that takes nothing away from the phenomenal offload by Steve Fenwick to Phil Bennett, who finishes the move in style with a sidestep to match Davies’s earlier effort.

3. Jim Calder (1982), Scotland v Wales, Cardiff Arms Park, 1982


The kicking tennis featured at the beginning of this clip, including an effort by the Scottish lock Bill Cuthbertson, had scattered the Welsh defence across the pitch but how well the Scots took advantage of it. Roger Baird superbly gathers a Welsh kick in his own 22 and carries towards half-way before offloading to Iain Paxton. The work rate of the Scottish forwards is incredible to see, as the lock Alan Tomes gives the scoring pass to his flanker Jim Calder. The joy in the voice of the great Bill McClaren just makes this try that much more special.

4. Gareth Edwards, Wales v Scotland, Cardiff Arms Park, 1972


The Welsh wizard at his magical best. This is a truly incredible individual score by Gareth Edwards and one that will be replayed for years to come. Not only does he show scorching pace in breaking away from the line-out but the skill he shows in chipping the Scottish full-back, hacking the ball forward and touching the ball down is sensational. It’s no wonder he is considered by many to be the most naturally gifted player to ever grace a rugby field.

5. Ben Cohen, England v Ireland, Twickenham, 2002


This gem of a team try was yet another highlight in a golden era for English rugby. On route to the Irish try line, England put the ball through nearly every set of hands in the team. Austin Healey’s run ignites England’s surge up field and is only bettered by the inter-passing between Hill and Dallaglio, who provides the scoring offload for wing Ben Cohen. The only thing more pleasing on the eyes of English fans than this effort was the sight of Martin Johnson lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy a year later.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

NEWS: Pit Your Wits Against Rugby Legends

England legends and ENS clients, Martin Bayfield and Pete Richards, will be playing SportGuru for the RBS Six Nations, and you can take them on in your pool!

For this year’s RBS Six Nations Championship, SportGuru have introduced a functionality that will enable members of the public to add Martin and Pete to their pool and pit their wits against two rugby legends.

Martin, who at 6ft 10’ is the country’s tallest ever representative, gained 31 England caps and 3 British and Irish Lions caps before being forced to retire due to a back injury. Since retirement Martin has become a prominent figure on the after dinner speaking circuit and an established broadcaster. As well as anchoring ITV’s rugby coverage, Martin also plays the role of Hagrid’s body double in the Harry Potter series.

Former London Irish and England player, Pete Richards was forced to retire at the end of the 2009/10 season due to a back injury. Pete started his professional career at London Irish before playing for Harlequins, Benetton Treviso, Bristol Shoguns, Wasps and Gloucester and then returned to London Irish at the start of the 2007 season. Pete played his part in England’s memorable 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign and was part of the winning England team at the Hong Kong Sevens in 2004.

You can sign up to the site and take on Martin and Pete here: http://www.sportguru.co.uk/sixnations/


Monday, 24 January 2011

BLOG: Who'd be a referee?

Sky have today disciplined Andy Gray and Richard Keys, following comments made by the pair whilst off air during the Wolves v Liverpool game on Saturday. Believing that their microphones were switched off, Keys and Gray agreed that Sian Massey, a 3rd official in the Premier League match they were covering, would not know the offside rule. However, she proceeded to make an excellent decision in allowing Liverpool’s disputed first goal when the Wolves players were adamant that Raul Meireles was offside.

There is no doubt that a referee’s job, whether man or woman, is a tough one. On the rugby pitch however, the difficulties can become somewhat more physical.

For example, in London Irish’s 5th round tie against the Ospreys in this year’s Heineken Cup, referee George Clancy inadvertently gets in the way of Jonathan Thomas’s charge for the line and receives a heavy tackle for his troubles from one of the game’s big hitters, Seilala Mapasua:


Perhaps not wanting to be outdone by his Samoan counterpart, Tongan Lifeimi Mafi gets in on the act by this time taking down referee Tim Hayes in Muster’s Magners League clash with Edinburgh:


Surely a Canterbury Crusaders’ winger running in open field is no risk to a top class referee, wholly adept at judgement and positioning skills? This clip goes to show that there really is no hiding place whatsoever for the officials, as Sean Maitland bulldozes his way through the unfortunate Chris Pollock. It is hard not to see the irony of the slogan on Mr Pollock’s shirt:


Who would be a referee? The official in this next clip probably asked himself that very question after being sent tumbling to the ground by this scrum half’s box kick, although fortunately Steve Martland claims to not remember the incident. I should think that is for the best Steve but you can relive the moment time and again here:


Obviously these are freak events and the majority of referees leave the pitch unscathed. However, perhaps officials, both men and women, don’t get the credit they deserve for simply doing their jobs. For if it weren’t for them there would be no match taking place in the first place, and no contentious issues to debate the next day. I for one am delighted Sian Massey got her big decision correct at the weekend and I am even more delighted with the genius of Sean Davey here. If he ever gets fed up with the pressures of refereeing, an acting career surely awaits:


Friday, 21 January 2011

NEWS: Marine Industry Awards Website Launch

The Marine Industry Awards website went live for the first time on Monday 17th January.

The awards, which were launched at the 2011 Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show last week, have been set up in order to acknowledge and recognise excellence within the marine industry. The scheme is supported by the British Marine Federation (BMF) and all those shortlisted for an award will receive the MIA’s Kitemark of Excellence, with the winners of each category receiving the MIA’s Gold Kitemark of Excellence.

The awards ceremony will take place on January 6th at the 2012 Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show, which will again be hosted at London ExCeL. With 12 different categories up for entry, the ceremony will seek to celebrate the whole spectrum of the marine industry, from powerboat and yacht of the year to innovation and marketing campaign of the year.

A star-studded judging panel, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and including powerboat champion Shelly Jory-Leigh amongst other experts, will select a winner from a shortlist of the best five applicants for each category.

Application forms will be available on the Marine Industry Awards website from the 1st February until the 1st August 2011.

For more information, please visit www.marineindustryawards.co.uk

Thursday, 20 January 2011

BLOG: Top 5 Rugby Bloopers

    1. Juan Manuel Leguizamon - London Irish v London Wasps

    Premature arrogance at its finest. Juan Manuel Leguizamon has been a fantastic player over the years but unfortunately he will be remembered for this most shocking of errors. When you hear coaches tell kids to "just put the bloody ball down", this is the reason.

    2. Odwa Ndungane - Sharks v Crusaders


    Another glaring miss, this time from a more clinical finisher in Odwa Ndungane. It is a great move from the Sharks which deserved to end in a try but the Springbok winger had other ideas. In looking behind to check for covering defenders, he seems to forget he has the ball in his hands and despairingly spills it forwardm over the goal line.  

    3. Martyn Williams misses in penalty shoot out - Cardiff Blues v Leicester Tigers


    You could predict the outcome of Martyn Williams shoot-out attempt after Stuart Barnes introduction (go to 8 minutes on the video). "Martyn Williams, the king of Cardiff, this would be the cruellest thing if Martyn Williams were to miss it. A brilliant footballer, I say Martyn Williams gets it." Thus, the commentators curse strikes again as Williams agonizingly hooks his kick to the left and sends his beloved Cardiff crashing out at the semi-final stage of the Heineken Cup.

    4. Rob Howley's Heineken Cup final try against Toulouse. "What has Poitrenaud done?"


    What has Poitrenaud done indeed. One could only look on in shock, or elation if you were English, as Rob Howley touched down in the Twickenham corner, giving Wasps Heineken Cup glory and giving Clement Poitrenaud a lifetime of nightmares. Poitrenaud has been a fine player for Toulouse and France but I doubt whether he will ever be able to banish the memories of this unforgivable and hugely costly error.

    5. Corey Jane's nose charge down.  


    One of the finest examples of commitment to the cause that I have ever seen. Everyone knows that Corey Jane has an innate ability to sniff out a try-scoring opportunity, but on this occasion he had another task for his nose. You can't help but wince as the ball cannons into his face and sends him 'limbo dancing' to the ground. Credit must be given for the way he bounces straight back up and attempts to brush off the whole incident.