Thursday, 22 October 2009

It's all about Consistency...

Is it really Thursday already? Yes it certainly is, and once again it's time for me to put my Mystic Meg hat on and cast my eye over this weekend's Guinness Premiership and Magners league fixtures to give you a few predictions.

Before I start polishing my crystal ball, I want to talk about a rather contentious topic which is really riling me at the moment: the inconsistency of disciplinary committees. This week saw Leinster's Shane Jennings have his appeal over his twelve week ban for "making contact with the eye area" of Nick Kennedy turned down by an Independent Appeal Committee. The original committee adjudged Jennings' foul play to be in the "low-end in the level of seriousness for an offence of this type" and Nick Kennedy submitted both a verbal and written testimony in which he admitted he had "over-reacted" to the incident. Now I am not condoning this type of illegal play whatsoever as there is no place for in the game of rugby at all. What I find so incredulous is that Schalk Berger practically poked Luke Fitzgerald's eyes out in the second Lions test match this summer and all he received was a comparatively lenient 8 week ban. Consistency is all I ask for. Is it really so difficult for all the suits who sit on these committees to formulate a universal approach?

Schalk Burger only got an 8 week ban for this?

In other news there is now a selection headache brewing for Martin Johnson in the run up to the Autumn Internationals. Phil Vickery's neck injury rules the tight head prop out for three months and completes a hat trick of injuries sustained by England's front row. It will be interesting to see if Johnson plumps for youth or experience to replace the might of Vickery, Mears and Sheridan. I wouldn't be surprised to see a mixture of the two, with a likely call up for Saints' Dylan Hartley who I think will scrum down alongside Julian White and possibly Tim Payne.

Anyway, enough of all my ranting. Here are my predictions for this weekend's games with the winners highlighted in bold.

Guinness Premiership:

Bath v Newcastle
Gloucester v Wasps
London Irish v
v Sale
Worcester v Harlequins

Saracens v Leeds Carnegie

Magners League:

Edinburgh v Munster
Glasgow v Connacht
Scarlets v Newport-Gwent Dragons

Cardiff Blues v Ospreys
Ulster v Leinster

I know, I know, I'm a Leeds Carnegie fan and I'm not backing my team. Then again would you back them against the unbeaten force of the Saracens when Leeds have been so consistently bad this season? No, I didn't think so. In this case I would be very happy to be proved wrong, however sadly I can't see this happening.

In other Leeds news, prop Fosi Pala'amo has had his visa rejected so he won't be joining up with the squad this season. Mike MacDonald has been forced to reapply for his visa and is still playing a waiting game over in the States. Come on Big Mac, we're missing you over here, and the Morrissons pie counter next to the Kirkstall training ground is close to going out of business!

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm aware this has been a rather serious blog entry so I will end on a lighter note with a picture my Mum sent to me this week. Ages ago I bought her a Paint-Your-Own Garden Gnome as a joke, and this week she finally got round to giving the naked gnome a lick of paint. Here are the results:

Bless her she painted it in a Leeds Carnegie kit. Is it just me or does it bear a passing resemblance to Juan Gomez?

Have a good weekend everyone!

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