Ruck and Maul: Ellis cracks old league code to leave Wasps' defences exposed

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The Independent Online

London Irish will be attempting to reclaim top spot in the Aviva Premiership with a win against London Wasps at Adams Park this afternoon and the Exiles' assistant coach, Dave Ellis, says he has cracked the hosts' defensive code. "It was a system that Shaun Edwards put in place [for Wasps]," Ellis said. "It had been done in the past by Brendan Venter here at London Irish. And it's an old defensive system used many, many years ago in rugby league when I was a player. I think it shocked a few people but it's now a very risky defensive system because people have understood how it works, people understand how toget around it and inside it, and Ithink that's been one of the things that explains the breakdown of Wasps' consistency. Waspshaven't adapted to any other typeof system."

It's child's play for Sir William

International Board vice-chairman and former England captain Bill Beaumont has been knighted – in a Scottish rugby fairytale, that is. A new American-backed movie, Play On, had its world premiere in Galashiels last Thursday evening, and it tells the story of a son of a great Scotland flanker who seeks his fortune with the Kansas City Chiefs American football team before returning home to rugby and generation-gap arguments over his dad's Corinthian ideals. Or something like that. The blurb on the film's website, where you can buy a single viewing at $7.50, sets the scene: "Founders of the game looked down their noses at taking money... When English hero Bill Beaumont – who had been knighted by the queen for captaining Britain's national team – wrote a children's book about rugby in the 1980s and got paid for it, the International Rugby Board went so far as to ban him for life from the sport." In fact the book was his autobiography and though he was appointed a CBE in 2008, the title "Sir Bill" has yet to arise.

Honourable mention for HAC

Staying with the non-professionals, last week's mention of the Honourable Artillery Company ground in London, where Saracens met the USA Eagles, highlighted the good season being enjoyed by the HAC club who are above Saracens and Harlequins in the league. That's the Herts Middlesex League, in which the amateurs of Saracens and Harlequins play in Division One alongside HAC who yesterday hosted a top-of-the-table clash with London Welsh Amateurs.

Rebels with cause for concern

The Melbourne Rebels' British recruits Gareth Delve and Danny Cipriani could make their debuts against Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and the rest of the Crusaders in a warm-up before next year's inaugural Super 15. After calling off a two-match tour to Japan this month, the Rebels face the seven-time Super 12/14 champions in the first rugby match to be held at the 31,000-capacity AAMI Park in Melbourne on 5 February.

Romania for remaining place?

England will have half an eye on events in Bucharest on Saturday when Romania and Uruguay meet in the second leg of their play-off for the 24th and final place at next year's World Cup. The Oaks and Los Teros drew 21-21 in Montevideo last weekend, so it's winner-takes-all to join Argentina, England, Scotland and Georgia in Pool B in New Zealand.

hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

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