HOME THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD
The rugby season has just kicked off in the UK and where am I ?
At the heart of the action you would assume maybe Twickenham for the Aviva premiership double header, or perhaps Parc y Scarlets to see a new exciting back line in action against Munster.
I’m afraid you are wrong on both counts, I am sitting in a cafe in Catalunya in thirty two degrees heat (timing was never my strong point).
As the bright golden morning sun glints off the sea, my Cortado is bightingly strong, the beverage equivalent of a Mamuka Gorgodze tackle, the man himself is a few miles up the road, across the border, getting ready to face Brive, as France’s Top 14 reaches the third week of it’s never ending season.
So, what does the new season hold in store ?
Length is one thing that is guaranteed, as players have to negotiate domestic leagues, European competitions, Autumn internationals, and if any are left standing at the end of all that, there is a Lions tour to New Zealand.
The only way top players will get a rest is through injury, or if their team suffers an early exit from European competition.
Despite the constant lip service from all parties to improving player welfare, the nessessary changes needed still remain as distant and unlikely as the prospect of an All Black citing.
The most surprising news over the last few days comes from Toulon, and Mourad Boujallel, no suprise there !
But on this occasion mild mannered Mourad has declared that it will be an honour, for Toulon, if Leigh Halfpenny is selected for the Lions, and that he can miss any latter stage Top 14 commitments with his blessing…we all waited for the pithy punchline or a scathing footnote…… none of which followed.
The rugby world has turned on its axis, all we need now is an All Black citing !
So as the big kick off starts I’m primed and ready, and I’m off to buy a new pair of havaianas.
Hasta la vista amigos