Lions take first bite in Oz….literally

The British and Irish Lions tour in Australia has started on high with a mauling of the Western Force in Perth on Wednesday.

Acting captain Brian O’Driscoll led from the front by scoring two of the tries, having linked-up well with fellow centre Manu ‘Ferry-jumper’ Tuilagi.

The Lions looked hungry throughout the course of the match, and in particular Irish prop Cian Healy who in the 17th minute couldn’t hold-out for half-time snacks any longer by taking a bite of scrum-half Brett Sheeran’s arm.

Having only served to whet his appetite, he eventually had to fake an injury in order to get something more substantial and less hairy off the field of play.

Apparently head Lion’s coach Warren Gatland is now rethinking his strategy of starving his players for 2 days pior to each match.

Would sir care for brown or red sauce with his arm?

Would sir care for brown or red sauce with his arm?

The battle of the Celts

The 6 Nations tournament kicks-off today with a mouth-watering encounter between two Celtic nations who have really upped their game in recent years.

Since winning the grand slam last year, it’s fair to say Wales have not had a great run….in fact, it’s been more like a chain-smoker struggling to climb a flight of stairs weighed down by having an entire nation’s hopes and dreams on their back.

Ireland have also underwhelmed of late, but they have O’Driscoll back (could it be his last?!) to bolster their hopes of their first title since 2009.

Ireland are a good team so could give the Welsh a run for their money…but they’ll have the hulk that is George North to contend with first.

George North....don't make him angry.

George North….don’t make him angry.

2013….the rugby year ahead!

Rugby 2013

Having survived the potential threat of a Mayan apocalypse, most people (well me anyway) are now merrily plotting their 2013 rugby-viewing calendar.

As always, there’s much to look forward to and in the spirit of Oscar season, here’s a brief BDR awards preview:

6 Nations – 02 Feb

 Best Actor Nominees:

Owen Farrell – the new(ish) golden-boy of England rugby, his performances and delivery have been deadly this season.

 Best Director nominees:

Rob Howley – the Welsh head coach is putting together an all-star cast, in an epic bid to retain the 6-Nations title.

 If it was a Spielberg film:

The Colour Purple – the Scottish thistle will be in full bloom if they manage to win, well….anything really.

Super rugby – 15 Feb

 Best Actor Nominees:

Schalk ‘the Hulk’ Burger – back from ‘injury’ (or what industry insiders call a cosmetic surgery getaway) to take a lead role in the The Stormers’ campaign.

Best Director nominees:

John Plumtree – he came painfully close to the ultimate prize last year with a stellar performance (remember this?), he has also brought in critically acclaimed assistant director Carlos ‘Twinkle Toes’ Spencer to help with this year’s production.

 If it was a Spielberg film:

Jaws – the Sharks will be hoping the sequel is better than the last one.

British & Irish Lions Tour Australia – 1 June

Best Actor Nominees:

Brain O’Driscoll – the man, the legend, will be hoping his rousing performances can help make amends for missing out in the 2001 awards…and who knows, maybe bag him a lifetime achievement award!?

Best Director nominees:

Robbie Deans – despite a rocky few months at the helm, the Wallaby coach is still Top-Gun…and some might say a bit of a rebel with a cause.

If it was a Spielberg film:

War of the Worlds – well okay, hemispheres…if you want to be picky about it!

4 Nations Rugby championship – 17 Aug

Best Actor Nominees:

Richie McCaw – he may be taking a sabbatical (trying out a new hair-style?), but really…is there any competition here?

Best Director nominees:

Santiago Phelan – the Argentine head-honcho will be hoping to make another impression with his portrayal of gritty realism, having taken the best foreign language accolade in last year’s competition.

If it was a Spielberg film:

The Terminal – there’ll be lots of time spent in these during the course of this competition.

Richie McCaw preparing his acceptance speech.

Richie McCaw preparing his acceptance speech.

It’s in the centre, Mr Venter…

There’s some mouth-watering international rugby on the cards this weekend with 3 big North vs South clashes…and if I’m gonna take this Civil War analogy to the next level (which I am) I reckon the exciting match-ups are going to be in the rear guard cavalry department – in other words in the centre Mr Venter (to nick the catch-phrase from an old SA tv ad from yesteryear)!

Here are the head-to-heads I’m looking forward to the most:

Game: Ireland v NZ

Match-up: Brian O’Driscoll v Sonny-Bill Williams

Who’s gonna come up trumps?

The old war-horse back to captain the side from his R&R in the stables versus the young ‘everbody likes to say his name’ filly who’s normally used as an impact player. It’s a tough one to call but I’m gonna go with experience over physical perfection on this one – as I reckon the old dog still has a few tricks up his sleeve!

Brian O'Driscoll

“Worried…who’s worried?!”

Game: Wales v Australia

Match-up: Sam Warburton v David Pocock

Who’s gonna come up trumps?

Who doesn’t like a good old battle of the generals (remember Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant?!), especially between two teams with the recent history that these two have. I’m gonna go with Pocock on this, somewhat based on form but mostly because I don’t want to seem biased towards the Northern Hemisphere.

The Wallaby captain takes his defence seriously…maybe a bit too seriously.

Game: South Africa v England

Match-up: Jean De Villiers v Manu Tuilagi

Who’s gonna come up trumps?

The Springbok captain will want to do the new coach proud, so he’ll be adding a few extra highlights to his hair and more importantly he’ll be all over Tuilagi like stink on sh*t. Assuming Tuilagi doesn’t jump ship and get sent-off for silly tackles, he may give the Springbok backs a run for their money – but I still reckon De Villiers will nail him.

De Villiers gratefully accepts another hospital pass from Steyn.

Big Daddy’s Essential ‘All You Can Eat’ Guide to the 6 Nations 2012

There was alot of testosterone in the room that day.

 

So the big chill has finally descended on Europe (I am literally typing this while wearing a pair of gloves!)….and just when we thought we were going to get away with the mildest winter since the Jurassic period. This coupled with the post-Xmas blues has meant the only thing stopping half-frozen commuters from ending it all by hurtling themselves on to the railway-tracks (only to find that their train has been delayed by half an hour…awkward) has been a morbid fascination to see how the Eurozone debt crisis turns out.

The good news for us Northern Hemisphere folk is that there will be a reason to get out of bed this weekend (unless you have a TV in the bedroom, in which case you won’t have to move at all), as International Rugby is back on the menu with the start of the 6 Nations tournament! Yeeehaw….

And just so you can enjoy it all the more, here’s Big Daddy’s essential guide:

 

ENGLAND

Coach: Stuart Lancaster – no pressure Stu, the RFU is right behind you…literally, so watch your back.

Captain: Chris Robshaw – has more syllables in his name than caps…experience isn’t everything, is it?

Man to watch: David Strettle – the Premiership’s in-form winger.

Strapline: A young, inexperienced side with a lot to prove but not much to live up to.

If they had a Depeche Mode theme tune: Policy of Truth or Condemnation (depending on how much the tabloids find out)

Team motto: ‘No news is good news’.

BDR’s Prediction: 4th

 

FRANCE

Coach: Philippe Saint-Andre, also known as ‘The Pig’…apparently.

Captain: Thierry Dusautoir – IRB player of the year.

Man to watch: Imanol Harinordoquy – you can’t pronounce his name and he hates you for it. A tour de force.

Strapline: The team to beat…if they decide to play.

If they had a Depeche Mode theme tune: Sometimes or A Question of Lust (depending on what mood they’re in)

Team motto: ‘Give it to Thierry’.

BDR’s Prediction: 1st

 

IRELAND

Coach: Declan Kidney – softly spoken number-cruncher.

Captain: Paul O’Connell – in the absence of injured golden-boy Brian O’Driscoll.

Man to watch: Stephen Ferris – a potato man-mountain with speed.

Strapline: Not as good as their provincial teams.

If they had a Depeche Mode theme tune: Never Let Me Down Again

Team motto: ‘Age before beauty.’

BDR’s Prediction: 3rd

 

ITALY

Coach: Jacques Brunel – a Frenchman, a turncoat…a part-time amateur film-maker?!

Captain: Sergio Parisse – if they could clone him to make a whole team, they would.

Man to watch: Martin Castrogiovanni – powerful name, powerful man.

Strapline: The whipping-boys

If they had a Depeche Mode theme tune: Dream On

Team motto: ‘Rome was not built in a day…or even 10 years’

BDR’s Prediction: 6th – at best.

 

SCOTLAND

Coach: Andy Robinson – lost his hair even before he started coaching Scotland.

Captain: Ross Ford – who?!…he’s replacing Kelly Brown…oh…wait… who?!

Man to watch: John Barclay – best flanker in the tournament, depending on who you’re talking to and if they’re Scottish.

Strapline:  If only they could score a try they might win something.

If they had a Depeche Mode theme tune: Everything Counts

Team motto: ‘The end justifies the means’.

BDR’s Prediction: 5th

 

WALES

Coach: Warren Gatland – Wales’ adopted son.

Captain: Sam Warburton – one of the players of the World Cup…when he stays on the field.

Man to watch: George North – “It’s alive!”…and it’s as fast as a friggin freight-train.

Strapline: Best of the Home Nations…could win it if they have belief.

If they had a Depeche Mode theme tune: A Question of Time or Agent Orange (if Gavin Henson is in the squad)

Team motto: ‘Boys will be boys’.

BDR’s Prediction: 2nd

Henson given life-line….whereas O’Driscoll needs more time

Gavin Henson has decided to take a well deserved (and encouraged!) break from his busy reality tv schedule by returning to the rugby field on Saturday when the Welsh host the English at the Millennium Stadium. The men in red will be hoping to exact revenge on their neighbours for last weeks defeat and for blatantly stealing the format of a typical night-out in Swansea and re-enacting it on the streets of London and other English cities earlier this week. As always, Henson will be out to dazzle the English with his bright orange glow and fancy footwork (mostly learnt from his recent stint in ballroom dancing).

Gav...you missed a spot or two!

Across the English channel the Irish will be visiting the South of France, though they won’t be packing their sun-cream and novelty Guinness hats, as they can expect a bruising encounter with Mark Lievremont’s team in a part of the country in which they actually enjoy rugby more than lovemaking and Jean-Luc Godard re-runs. Unfortunately for the Irish, they are still lacking their playmaker and all-round wunderkind Brian O’Driscoll, who is yet to return while working on the final draft of his autobiography ‘On the seventh day God created me’.

Brian O'Driscoll with his 'ride'

In BOD we trust

In Ireland the saying goes “In BOD we trust”.

Here’s a great little “Friday filler” video clip of Brian working some of his magic.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzvnexjWJYg&feature=related]

Great stuff indeed!

(Disclaimer: This move was performed by a professional and should not be attempted to be copied by any of the Bulls, Sharks or Lions centres).