Run out with ROBINSON?! #raise4matt

Yes you read that right! How would you like your child to have the chance to run out alongside Jason Robinson at Welford Road?

One of the auction lots for #raise4matt that has kindly been donated by The Matt Hampson Foundation is to make that very dream a reality! On the 21st of April two star-studded sides take to the pitch at Welford Road. The sides are already made up of legends such as Robinson, Betson, Freddie Tuilagi and MArtin Johnson and with more and more household names set to join them.

At the #Raise4Matt auction you have the chance to bid on a package that would see your child run out as the mascot on the day in front of what is set to be a big crown at Fortress Welford. as a rugby loving parent what could actually make you prouder than seeing your next generation run out with the heroes of ours. The package will also include tickets to the game for a select few and potentially a non catered box if we can make arrangements in time so you can really watch one of your proudest moments in style.

Below you will find details to the game.

http://www.matthampson.co.uk/news/news-69.html 

This lot will be taking bids in advance of the auction in order to allow as many people as possible the chance to bid on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Do not let this pass you by folks!

For all details on the auction and this amazing opportunity follow @raise4matt on Twitter or get in touch with Tori at raise4matt@gmail.com

www.justgiving.com/victoria-chipp1

Lewis Moody, My Hero

On Monday I was greeted with the sad sad news that Lewis Moody was retiring from all forms of rugby. Lewis is a hero of mine and I will never have a bad word to say against the man who spurred my interest in rugby beyond merely casual.

Me with Lewis at Welford Road

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Walk 4 Matt 2012

Today i am writing to you on more of a personal note. I have chosen to take on and be a part of the Walk4Matt 2012. This involves walking well over 110 miles from Rugby to Twickenham all in aid of the fantastic cause that is The Matt Hampson Foundation.

Most of you that are involved in rugby in even the slightest way will have heard about the inspiration that is Matt Hampson. Matt suffered a severe spinal injury when taking party in an everyday training session with England Under 20 . The scrum collapsed on his neck trapping his spinal cord and paralysing him for the rest of his life from the neck down. One of the most poignant parts of Matt’s story was when he came around in the ambulance and pleaded with the paramedics not to cut off his England shirt. Since then, Matt has established the Matt Hampson Foundation and not only been able to ensure care for the rest of his life is paid for but get involved with other that have similar injuries.

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Six Nations Service Disruption

Domestic V International

 

The effect of the Six Nations on club rugby. I’m sure I am not the only person who is absolutely buzzing about the start of the Six Nations, the world’s best annual rugby union tournament, in a few short weeks. Three English away games, a world cup quarter-final and semi-final rematch, and the possibility of any team finishing last. But with Saracens F.C. voicing their concern about the timing of the tournament, is there any way of pleasing everyone?

There is an argument for a winter break or perhaps the postponement of the league whilst the tournament is in progress. This would allow for the cream of the European crop to come together to play each other at the start of the year, and allow a break for some players. This would also mean that any injured players would not miss as much of the tail end of the season and that call ups to squads would not come with the same old grumbles from disgruntled fans, unhappy at how their team’s top players have been pillaged from their starting line ups which very little notice.

It was proposed earlier this week that in 2015, the start of the Aviva Premiership would be delayed until after the Rugby World Cup pool stages, or potentially a group of matches would be played before. The French teams did not start playing each other until after their national team had returned. However the French don’t play an equivalent of our LV= cup and therefore have caught up with our teams on the number of games played already. Perhaps dropping the LV= cup would solve some of the problems faced by the English and Welsh clubs. The only problem with the removal of this tournament is that some clubs see it as one of the best ways of getting silverware to the club. Clubs that may not always be contenders for the Premiership or the Pro 12 often attempt to win this trophy. It also brings in the financial benefits that having more than one sponsor and more television rights does. Therefore that is not a viable option.

 There are of course many benefits to the Six Nations. It allows for some of the younger players, or reserve team players to get a chance to prove themselves, it’s through tournaments like the Six Nations that players like Manu Tuilagi came to the forefront among people less familiar with rugby, through his sparkling club form. It also allows for some of the weaker teams to take points off the stronger teams and allow for a more exciting end to season at the bottom of the table. Yet the table has arguably already been turned this season by the World Cup.

The Six Nations is also plainly and simply, a wonderful competition. It is the perfect stage for all six teams to showcase some of their young talent and to play for the annual bragging rights that come with victory. Last year Warren Gatland left some previously key Welsh players at home so that he could pick a more youthful team, and look where that got him. Wales may not have had the best six nations, (they came fourth, equal on points with the Irish and the French) but they were many people’s team of the World Cup, cruelly knocked out by a contentious decision from half Gallic – half Celtic, referee Alain Rolland. This removal of the young players clearly affected the Welsh teams, as none of them could break into the top 3 and proves the power of the young player at both club and international level.

The Six Nations 2011 Champions

At this year’s Six Nations Stuart Lancaster can prepare a team for the future, whether it is for himself, or the bookies favourite Nick Mallett. They allow players who would not have previously shone next to their capped brothers to become the stars of the show. Prior to the World Cup, many observers would not have known who Owen Farrell was but now he is a shoe in into the England squad for anyone with any understanding of rugby.. Many forwards are also set to take their chance in this year’s Six Nations. With Wales having already blooded Toby Falateau, Sam Warburton, and Luke Charteris perhaps now would be a good time for the other home nations to do the same.

It is the youth of rugby that will define the future of it. But with increasing pressure applied by the clubs on the IRB, perhaps it is time for a change. Some reformers have suggested the addition of other teams to the six nations, perhaps adding Romania, who despite failing to make it past the group stages, had an excellent campaign against England and Scotland, as well as maybe Georgia, Holland, or Russia. The only problem with is that the creation of a knockout would lead to some teams losing their players for longer, causing more tension, as well as the loss of television revenues, as more people are likely to tune in to the bigger games.

 If this does not work, then perhaps the removal of the Six Nations during world cup years, so that if after 2015, the Premiership and Pro 12 decide to start during the competition, then clubs like Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers, and the new boys, Saracens, won’t lose more than ten senior players for almost a third of the season. Again, this is unlikely because of the loss of television rights from it. Whatever happens in the future, by recruiting youth into the international squads, whilst it may do some harm at club level to the standings, there is sufficient time at the end of the season to recuperate some points and most teams have very good reserves, and should be able to cope with the non-European players from which they have to pick from *cough* Sarries *cough*.

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