Ruck and Maul: Twickenham embraces steamy new tales of rugby in the raw

Yes, it is now official, the game has gone completely professional and, in fact, is almost joining the oldest profession. The Rugby Football Union have climbed into bed not with a couple of half-backs, but with Mills & Boon. "No Knickers at Twickers" was the headline of the email flashed from the RFU informing us that they have "teamed up with the world's biggest romance publisher to produce eight raunchy tales from the touchline, including 'The Virgin Secretary's Impossible Boss' and 'The Prince's Waitress Wife'". Had it been 1 April you would have had second thoughts. Is Francis Baron, the RFU's chief executive, being fingered here? Not likely. Nevertheless, it's an intriguing scenario. What's next? A film called 'Carry on Up The Cabbage Patch?' "A steamy series of rugby romances will hit the shelves next month," Jane Barron, the RFU licensing and marketing manager, said. "Rugby has always been a game enjoyed by women, and a partnership with Mills & Boon is a fantastic way to encourage even more women and their families to get involved." Indeed. Publication will coincide with the start of the Six Nations' Championship, offering "great rugby moments and brooding alpha-male sporting heroes... plus a little added ruck and maul." Well, for our part,
Ruck and Maul would be willing to lend a hand,but we're tasteful and we're not cheap.

Baron not courting

Me Jane, you Francis! Let's not get carried away. They are not related, apart from the fact that they work together, and in any case the chief exec has been busy on other fronts, employing Peter Thomas as "corporate communications and public affairs director". It's a new position in the RFU (with Mills & Boon on board, what isn't?) and Thomas, who was formerly with a company called Accenture and before that the communications agency Hill and Knowlton, will head up the England media management. That will include "political lobbying and public affairs". In Hitler's day, Goebbels called it propaganda. Now we call it spin. Baron said: "He will provide more focused media support for Martin Johnson." That depends on results, not spin.

Tearing a strip off Falcons

As if the Newcastle Falcons were not in enough trouble, they now have to pay Nike for breaking a kit contract. Newcastle, who have Northern Rock as one of their sponsors (in another century they'd have picked the Titanic) have switched to Cotton Traders, the company run by the former England prop Fran Cotton. The club's latest website shows the new jerseys at 25 per cent off. It also says this: "The kit supplied to the club by Nike for the 2007-08 season proved totally satisfactory in all respects. The club acknowledges that it was at fault in changing its kit supplier for the current season whilst still under contract with Nike. In recognition of this we have agreed to financially compensate them for our error." Some error. Will Nike take the shirts off their backs?

Frosty greeting at Quins

Getting more professional yes, but still trying to escape from amateur habits. The Worcester Warriors have yet to play a match in the new year after last week's game against Sale was postponed and then yesterday's encounter with Harlequins at The Stoop was called off because of a frozen pitch. Quins, who are ideally placed as a magnet for rugby followers in London on a Saturday, said there would be no refunds on tickets until a new date for the fixture has been announced. That's one way of wishing your supporters a happy new year.

t.glover@independent.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

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
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