Scott Parker's team talk
West Ham's second half fight-back at the Hawthorns on Saturday was stirringly impressive. Carlton Cole said that it was sparked by Scott Parker's inspirational half-time team talk. Parker spoke with such force, apparently, that it nearly brought a tear to Cole's eye. That Parker carries West Ham is no surprise; he has multi-tasked as the heart, the back-bone and the brain of that team for the past few years. But for him to be doing the manager's job too is a new development. That said, Avram Grant admitted after the recent League Cup defeat to Birmingham City that he didn't know what to say to his players at half-time. So perhaps Parker assuming motivational responsibility should come as no surprise.
After running in three tries in defeat against France at the Stade de France, there were high expectations for Scotland when Wales came calling at Murrayfield on Saturday. But they produced as poor a performance as the Six Nations has seen in recent years in a 24-6 defeat. The weakness of their scrum was bad enough, but their handling was truly abject. Every time they approached Wales' 22, they seemed to lose control of the ball. You could call it amateur, but for the fact that their performance would have been just as embarrassing before the game turned professional. It was almost as if they were playing with a different ball. The Murrayfield crowd was understandably appalled and will not put up with the same level of performance against Ireland.
Mickey Rourke watches rugby
The last time Mickey Rourke played a grizzled athlete with an interesting personal backstory, he was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe. So his decision to play Gareth Thomas in a forthcoming biopic is no real surprise. As part of his commitment to learning the role, Rourke was in attendance at the Millennium Stadium yesterday to watch Thomas' Crusaders beat Salford 42-12 in the Super League, watching with fellow former boxer turned media personality Joe Calzaghe. Rourke will work hard on his fitness before he plays Thomas, promising that he won't "disrespect the sport". Whether rugby league could do with what he did to wrestling is less clear.Reuse content