Saracens' celebratory sing-song after they win a match is dividing opinions. The Northampton coach Jim Mallinder said "our players are certainly hurting from hearing Saracens celebrate as if they've won the league" after a league meeting last month, but the Sarries legend Richard Hill shrugged it off, telling Ruck and Maul: "You didn't hear us whining when Wasps used to sing 'If you want to go to heaven when you die' in the dressing room after games." The source of the fuss is a repetitive nonsense song for kids, from New Zealand, which builds in sound and intensity to the accompaniment of waving hands and arms. It is sung by Newcastle Falcons too, having been introduced by Jimmy Gopperth, although the Taranaki-raised fly-half told Ruck and Maul he picked it up from the Leicester flanker Ben Herring when they played for Wellington. "We haven't had as many chances as Saracens to sing it this season," chuckled Gopperth. "It's not great to hear it when you come off the field and you're feeling really down but to me it just makes you determined not to feel that way again. It's not designed to make the other team feel bad." And the words? Saracens flanker Andy Saull relates it as something like "Tiki tiki Tonga/Massa massa way-a/Lay-o, Lay-o, Lay-o"; the Gopperth/Falcons variation is "Tiki tiki Tumba/Massa massa massa/Oompah oompah oompah lay-la". Gopperth added: "Tiki is a Maori word but I've no idea what the rest means. It goes from quiet to screaming your lungs out. I've gone on sometimes until I've lost my voice."
Rebels without a squad
It was at Newcastle that the Wasps coach Shaun Edwards made his barbed comment about Danny Cipriani joining a Melbourne Rebels side with "six players". The new Super 15 side certainly need to get cracking on recruitment as they have six months to double the size of their squad to the requisite 30. The current roster reads: Peter Betham, Adam Byrnes, Cipriani, Sam Cordingley, Tim Davidson, Gareth Delve, Adam Freier, Luke Jones, Richard Kingi, Hoani Macdonald, Lachlan Mitchell, Stirling Mortlock, Jarrod Saffy, Greg Somerville and Laurie Weeks.
Rolling subs are Devon sent
Whereas the Rebels, as it stands, have got the bare XV, teams in the County Championship in England are trying out rolling substitutions, with up to 12 changes per team per match. One aim is to improve player welfare but the intrigue is in the tactics. Anecdotal evidence so far suggests teams with strong front-row back-up are at a greater advantage than before, and Devon's ex-England hooker, Graham Dawe, predicted to the IRB's Total Rugby programme that teams might use a big, quick player for a single play, just to achieve good field position. Easily the most harassed figure is the poor old fourth official, keeping track of all the comings and goings.
Craig in Bath a long time
The departing Bath chief operating officer, Bob Calleja, has revealed that the club's first point of contact with incoming owner Bruce Craig was "over two years ago". Craig is a Bath supporter of long standing, and well connected too. He and Andy Robinson, the club's former captain and Heineken Cup-winning coach, now in charge of Scotland, were at Loughborough University together. They shared a beer at the Rec after the win over Leeds which confirmed Bath's place in today's play-off semi.Reuse content