Ruck and Maul: TV coverage of match-up in camel country gives viewers the hump

Whereas
Ruck and Maul took the trouble four weeks ago to find something out about rugby union in Abu Dhabi, the television coverage of last Sunday's Anglo-Welsh Cup tie in the Gulf left us little the wiser.

ITV and Sky had cameras in attendance, though it was not clear whether they were shooting footage for the Abu Dhabi tourist board or of a rugby match with significance to other teams back in shivering Blighty (Quins will make the semi-finals at the expense of pool rivals Ospreys and Exeter if they add a win at home to Cardiff Blues today to their facile defeat of an under-strength Wasps in camel country).

To set the scene, ITV had Wasps wing Richard Haughton showing us around his room in the Emirates Palace hotel. Sky tried a different tack. They had Wasps centre Ben Jacobs showing us around his room in the Emirates Palace hotel.

While Lawrence "of Arabia" Dallaglio, who is on Wasps' board, ravingly compared the venue with Newlands in Cape Town, the Bucks Free Press in distant High Wycombe quoted a disgruntled punter who went to the match in the one-third empty 5,000-seat stadium: "Badly organised, poor facilities and incompetent management just added to the complete lack of atmosphere. Simply a massive flop."

Jonny's French lesson for Gav

Russia met Spain in Madrid yesterday with Steve Diamond taking a short break from his new job as Sale's executive director of sport to help prepare the 'Bears' while they seek a coach for the World Cup.

The Russian Federation has approached Kingsley Jones, late of Sale, to guide the first-time qualifiers in New Zealand and on to 2016, starting with the Churchill Cup in England in June and pre-World Cup friendlies against Northampton and Leicester in August. But Jones has been lined up by Toulon to join his old Sale and Gloucester confrere Philippe Saint-André in charge of a squad now including Gavin Henson, and, reportedly for next season, Australia's Matt Giteau.

After sharing in England's win over Wales, Jonny Wilkinson had sage advice for his new club-mate, Henson: "You have to make a decision when you go there how much you will embrace the culture and the language. You can choose to have the whole experience or you decide to go there and hang in. Guys showed me around and if I can do that for him [Henson] I would love to help. He is a hugely talented player, quite unique in some ways in what he has to his game. While supporting him massively Toulon will ask for a huge input from him. If he enjoys it even half as much as I have he'll have a great time."

50 for Maggie the Machine

A 50th cap today for Maggie Alphonsi, the England flanker recently voted the UK Rugby Union Writers' Club's personality of the year.

True the members of the club would probably struggle to write much about more than one or two of the previous 49 caps, but that will not stop "Maggie the Machine" letting rip against Wales at Cross Keys RFC. England, last year's World Cup runners-up, lost in Wales on their most recent visit in 2009.

hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones