Ruck and Maul: Cohen patented the 'Ash Splash' but don't expect Haskell to take a dive
Sunday 20 February 2011
OK all you dive bunnies and swallow fanciers, this is the place for you. England players James Haskell and Danny Care have been practising the Chris Ashton leap.
"I don't know if you have tried to do one of those dives," said Haskell. "They are impossible. I was given the RFU behind-the-scenes camera and did a skit with Danny. I was joking that we both scored tries [against Italy] and no one had written anything about it. So we came up with Dirty Dancing moves and tried to do one of those dives and it is impossible. I am just happy to get the ball down."
Haskell's Stade Français club-mate Juan Leguizamon was amused to hear that a video of him dropping the ball over the goalline while playing for London Irish had been replayed as a warning to Ashton by the England attack coach Brian Smith. Wales's Shane Williams has been doing the swallow dive for years.
Then there's Ben Cohen, Ashton's predecessor on the wing for Northampton and England, who had his arms-in-the-air dive turned into a silhouette and used as the logo for his official website.
Asked by Ruck and Maul if a bit of branding could be worth looking at, Ashton said: "That could be when you get too carried away. The reason why that happened last weekend is because I enjoy scoring tries. And that's the only reason. It's detracted from the rugby and that was never the intention. People are saying 'you could be like [Danny] Cipriani'. As long as I'm on the back pages for scoring tries, I'm happy with that."
GPS can't go through the roof
England and eight Premiership clubs are using satellite technology to record the metres covered in training or a match and marry those figures with other statistics such as heartrate to identify possible improvements in physical performance.
International referees have the same gizmoes. One problem: the system uses sat-nav style GPS technology and, when England played Wales under the Millennium Stadium roof, it didn't work.
Contracts curse coaches
Football has long cursed the effect of winning "manager of the month", but is something similar afoot in rugby now?
When Warren Gatland had his WRU contract extended by four years last October, his Wales team went through the next five matches without a win. Andy Robinson had an extension to his Scotland contract announced 11 days ago and promptly lost his next match at home to Wales. Good reason, perhaps, for England's Martin Johnson to stick to his recent declaration that nothing will be said or done about his contract until after the World Cup.
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