The fear factor rules

Cold turkey in rugby terms is surely having to play a league match on Boxing Day. All of which might leave top Englishmen warm and snug, not to mention smug, with their feet up in front of the fire and not in the least bit envious of what some Wel shmen have on their plate this afternoon.

Having spread the Heineken League fixtures across four days over the festive season - "to avoid losing players to Christmas shopping'', so we are told - Pontypool and Neath have drawn what most would consider to be the shortest of straws and must play today.

Indeed, cold turkey is appropriate fare for this pair, even though Cardiff's runaway season was checked to some extent on Thursday night at the Arms Park by second-placed Pontypridd.

This defeat of the leaders still leaves Neath eight points off the pace in mid-table. The warmest thing on their plate today could well be the reception awaiting them after their journey from the The Gnoll.

Once the Gwent side to be feared, Pontypool may have the No 8 Gareth Taylor in outstanding form and pressing for a call from the Welsh selectors but nowadays it is fear itself that is on their side. Fear of relegation, that is, as they and Newport look at life from the bottom of the pack.

As for Newport, who suffered their ninth defeat in 12 matches in the league at Newbridge on Wednesday, they will at least tempt some Englishmen from the fireside when they make the short hop across the Severn to the Memorial Ground, where rugby life is considerably rosier.

Bristol may have given up all hope of catching their West Country rivals Bath in the Courage league, but they have just thumped Nottingham in the Pilkington Cup and are looking forward with a certain amount of confidence to their home fifth-round tie ag

a inst Leicester at the end of next month.

Their appetite for success stems not least from the appearance of an old stalwart at training. Alan Morley, like so many Bristolians, has been helping out at Third Division Clifton, but the England wing who made over 500 appearances for Bristol and scored nearly 500 tries in his playing career has turned up recently in a coaching role at his former club.

A club spokesman said: "He's not quite sure how well he would fit in on a regular basis. But the lads responded to him very well and they were quite happy. Mark Tainton in particular found his approach refreshing."

News
news
Sport
Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear to score his second try
rugby
Life and Style
New research says leaving your desk can help you to avoid serious illness
health
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral