Recently by Rene Merideth
Last week I had the brilliant idea to do my blog from the new tablet I'd purchased.... That went a bit wrong. But...now I'm back!
So let me wax lyrical for a moment about what's going to happen on Sunday. Wales is going to win. With the departure of Dan Parks and the way that Scotland played wmith such sloopy form last week, I don't think there can be any doubt. (One condition--Halfpenny should be kicking)
A brief analysis of last week. Rhys Priestland is a good kicker, but he's inconsistant. Our go to guy should be Halfpenny at this point. Now in the pub I heard ALOT of people shouting HHHOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKK. And obviously they wanted him to take it, but wpith all my inner Cardiff Blues energy I yelled back across the bar HALFPENNY!!!!!! It's the continued resistance to change. James Hook is our hero, he's the one who's pulled us out of the fire. Guess what--Halfpenny and Priestland can do that too. And a second guess what--one day Hook is going to be ready to walk away. I'm sorry to break it to you, but it happens. Stop looking so surprised. LOL
And as for Bradley Davies--he's one lucky man. That could and probably should have been a red card. But it's ok..our game is not dependent on one player..we bear the burden of victory or loss as a team!
There is a similar problem with change facing the Cardiff Blues. A large portion of supporters are on a mission to move the Blues back to Arms Park. On the surface, this doesn't seem like that big of a deal. However, lets break it down a bit.
Now I've talked to people I trust to know these things, and some (i know not all) of the reasons for the move were--better facilities for the players, better facilities for patrons, better front offices, more seating for larger crowds, better boxes to attract more sponsers, better facilities for supporters and the team to have events.
From the other side of the coin, I hear from some supporters and some rugbyfans in general, about the tradition that is Arms Park. I know some of this history, I don't live there and I've never seen a game there, but once on an unhappy occasion, it was a great comfort and joy to me to have a tour of the place. And yes it oozes with history and the sense of awe and warmth of a home. How could it not.
Now I've no stake in this one way or the other. I want to see my friends in the stands happy. And I want to see my friends out there sweating and in somecases bleeding for the game to be happy in their home. Let's not forget--whichever facility it is--it's the home of the Blues.
Here's my problem with this campaign about moving back to Arms Park. A small part of the people on the bandwagon are mucking it up. There are completely good reasons to move back to Arms Park,but I don't hear them above the loud, arrogent and selfish reasons. We can't smoke where we want, we have to go another mile, the pub is too far, I don't wanna pay to park, they don't come see me when i play bad---whining, whining and more whining. And now as I write this, the Cardiff Blues are playing in CAP! A one night only show us what you got supporters. So I go on twitter and I see tweet after tweet by people who some folks who have done some complaining and they aren't there...Why aren't you there?!?!?!
Why not go back to the list of reasons the first move happened...present the arguement of why those things aren't working. There are those who are working hard among you to make the voice of the supporters heard--most of them members of the Blues Supporters Club. And they are doing a good job--meeting with the head office decision makers, lending a voice or a ride to get to the CAP today, just tweeting about how great it feels to visit the old home.
It's that positivity that will generate more positivity. Instead of complaining about CCS, start praising reasons CAP is better. If it truely is the better place, they you will find all of there calling it the Blues home. But the selfish whining--just please stop.
Think about it from the players perspective these last few years....You get all excited to move into a new house, it's bigger, fresh paint, you can have more friends over. But then, people you thought cared about you just started complaining....you live too far away now, I can't smoke in that corner of your yard, I don't like your beer, I don't care you have a better bathroom, I don't care you have a proper changing room, I don't care that you can entertain your boss better--I'm never coming to visit you. But in this case, the Blues players didn't make the move, the front office did. And the constant stream of headlines, fb posts and tweets that only show the negativity--it hurts morale, it hurts to the core of a player.
I'll finish with this....a building is just bricks an morter...a pitch is just paint on astroturf. What makes a team--what makes a TEAM, are players and supporters. the human element. It can be housed in any shaped box out of any type of material....but it's the same. Even 6000miles away--my heart skips a beat when the Blues take the field.
Play on boys! (whereverthat may be!!)
Let me start this blog by saying...I want to be wrong. I've wanted to be wrong about Gavin Henson for the last year or so. But so far, it's been the same story. Although these last few months as poster boy for the Blues has at least kept him on the positive side of the headlines--and that alone does give me a new reason to pause.
I don't like to think that the Blues signed Gav as a publicity stunt. While I'm positive that was part of it, I think there are other factors. If he could manage to stay healthy (*eyebrow raise*) he could rise up again. But lets face fact. Henson will not be the force to be reconed with again. He'll come back to rugby form I'm sure, but it will be a different level. He's lived to much. He's gotten older. These are things all players face, but they become factors for Henson on another scale. I'm not hopeful today will see Gav race across the try line...first game back in ages, a lot of pressure, loads of things stand in the way. On the other hand we are playing the Dragons LOL
So my greatest hope for today's game is that the coaching staff at Cardiff has hoped for the best and planned for the worst. And I think they have. Roberts is on the bench for back up and Laulala is starting. Halfpenny and Cuthbert can handle wings with no sweat and our scrum is argueable the most solid in Wales with Rush, Warburton, Tito, Filise and Jenkins. Looks like kicking duties are falling to Halfpenny? Well, there's another thing to hope for...and I'm tired of fairweather fans yelling "bah humbug" when Halfpenny gets up to kick. (it's a lately thing--and I hope confined to the Los Angeles Welsh)
I'm not going to count out the Dragons entirely. All the pieces above are no good if they can't keep it together. And if Henson goes stupid in the back, well I don't see where the Blues make that up easily without some shifting of game style. Blues, in my opinion suffer from a bi-polar disorder on the field as it is, so that big of a shift will be very hard to overcome.
Where does this put us with this Rabo12 game before Christmas? Well, the Welsh-blooded lover of rugby who believes in Christmas and knows that Santa still owes her for the dollhouse fiasco of 1987--will cheering and seeing visions of an uber win 26-6 over the Dragons and an inch to within one point of overtaking the Warriors in the Rabo standings. However--my actual prediction is this--12-9 Blues, Henson injured and doesn't return in the second half. And our win moves us neither up or down in the standings.
Happy Holidays everyone!!
Shane. Williams. There was a day when a scrappy little winger took the field and nobody cared. But it is not this day. A day when fans in the stands said... "our teams is crazy, he's too small, he's not rugby material." Oh my friends it is definitely NOT this day. On that day, Shane got the ball and like so many Welsh players before and so many to come...proved that it ain't the meat its the motion.
Admiral has even allowed it's logo to be changed on Welsh jerseys in Shane's honor--although I'm sure that had a little something to do with the opportunity to make a little money on sentimental sales. Let's face it...this day is about to be very special indeed.
And I wish I could tell you more....I wish I could tell you the pride I feel watching Shane take the feel...to sit in the pub with my 630am cup of coffee and tear up as the crowd cheers. I wish I could see Shane score a try or two today. To watch what here at the cusp of kick off, is a video montage of Shane moments. But I can't. The game is not being shown here in the states. Even my back up to my back up of my back up cannot find it.
So I will watch like so many other, on the Matchdaylive portion of the Wales website. And hope (come on WRU front office--seize this opportunity just like the shirt) that there will be a video for sale. Or also hope that my friends in Wales have a DVR and can burn me a dvd....
No matter what...today we win. Today, when we should honor him....Shane Williams honors us...his performance will be strong and he will breathe the fire. The Wallabies feel the same pride and respect They know what's at stake. It's not some trophy. It's not even pride. It's wide eyed wonderment as they stand shoulder to shoulder and watch the pride of Wales take the field in front of his team.
All the way from America.
We love you Shane!
Took me a minute, but I'm back...just in time for the announcement of the Welsh squad to face Australia on December 3rd.
FORWARDS: Scott Andrews, Huw Bennett, Ryan Bevington, Lloyd Burns, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Ian Evans, Lewis Evans, Toby Faletau, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Ryan Jones, Danny Lydiate, Matthew Rees, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (Captain)
BACKS: Dan Biggar, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, Tavis Knoyle, George North, Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Lloyd Williams, Scott Williams, Shane Williams.
Honestly. Are we all really that surprised by these selections or lack thereof?
We knew Sam would be Captain again. We knew that the Cardiff Blues would be well represented in Davies, Jenkins, Warburton, Halfpenny, Roberts, Williams, Cuthbert and Andrews....wait...wait...wait....NICE it's about time Cuthbert got some attention. Ok color me very pleasently surprised!
OH I'm supposed to be surprised by who was NOT chosen? Well, to be honest, where is Mike Phillips? But to tell the truth that's the only one of the them I'm truely going to miss.
You can boo hoo all you want about Hook & Byrne, but let's break it down--we got Halfpenny who's proven himself under pressue at 15 and Priestland brings a solid boot to the table...so I see no reason for sniffles or ruffled feathers.
Also, this "Dove Cup" is only important in terms of pride and prep for 6nations. You're gonna see a similar Aussie squad that's unafraid to have new faces step up--this is the time to do it.
Besides how are you going to give hope for a spot to the younger guys in the U20's and U18's if you keep singing praises of older players and don't recognize their talents. You don't find George North and pull him up to the Internationals by crying in your beer on the non-selection of Shanks, nor do you see the epic leadership potential in Warburton by punching the wall when Martyn Williams isn't chosen.
But lets not kid ourselves...Mike Phillips will be back for 6Nations...as will probably James Hook and the rest...so my fellow Welsh supporters--stop it right now....beer is for drinking, don't dilute it with salt water.
And all this is just foreplay folks...the day will belong to Shane Williams! If you think for one moment that we are walking out of there without a win you are wrong. This squad and every supporter there is going to see Shane score at least (AT LEAST) one try and we are going to get to say goodbye to one of the finest players and a right gentleman as well with a win. Congrats Shane on a fabulous career! We love ya!
*bring* *bring* this is your wake up call Wales--
#1 Is anybody dead? No
#2 Is anybody got a bone sticking out? No
#3 Is anybody still unconcious? No.
Then suck it up people cause our RWC2011 isn't over yet and we got a LONG list of things to get done even after that!!
I have so much to say I don't know if this blog will hold it. My fellow Welsh supporters have gone on and on with over analysis and blaming the ref and just all kinds of banter from the logical to analytical to even the emotionally unstable. Guess what...it doesn't change that we lost.
You can lay that loss at any number of feet. Wales made kicking errors and gave away three penalties, why weren't other players on the roster, blah blah what if this and what if that blah blah blah. There's plenty of room for blame--so much so that I just don't see the point in blaming anyone or any ONE. In fact, you know what...no...I'm not going into all of it...all that negative garbage--it's just garbage and I'll not draw it out.
Now let's move on shall we? I am nothing but proud of these boys...they have done more than any Welsh squad has ever done. They are heroes win or lose. So put them down, put the ref down I don't care...I can see nothing but my friends on the pitch doing the best they could under the circumstances of a bad situation.
I choose to see the positives. Massive massive step up by Jamie Roberts to the scrum-that's not easy and he did extremely well. And what an incredible defensive show did Wales put on out there! Seriously! France was up 15 men to 14 for almost an hour and they NEVER SCORED A TRY! If you can't understand the positive awesomeness of that then you need to wake up! France. did. not. score. a. try. And do I dare mention Mike Phillips--mere months ago we thought his career was over, a low place personally could translate into career tragedy--yet here we are with a knight in try scoring underarmour.
I'll preview the game once I see the roster, but lets all remember a few other things. We need to think forward--think to the next game, think to the next series. This upcoming game is it for the world cup squad, but not for WRU in general and certainly the next squad for 6 nations will be deep with this kind of talent. We've got the Aussies coming to our house later on this year...which will be an epic rematch of this bronze game. And then 6Nations is just three months away.... These boys gotta recover and get back to their clubs as well in the meantime. The Rabo Cup isn't just gonna jump in anyone's hands.
It's time to shake it off. Gatland and the boys have done so and are shoulder deep into preparations for Friday...we should be too. Rest your voices, prep your banners, get ready and for the Bronze final--COME ON WALES!!!!