•  Times Column 25/09/04 This rare close-up of George W. Bush in sporting action was recently discovered and published by the Los Angeles Times. The caption is from the Yale University yearbook of 1969, and the key question is the same for American voters as for rugby adepts.  Can playing rugby, and the way rugby is played, provide any clue as to the character of the man?  Traditionally, rugby encourages a rainbow of virtues including stoicism, co-operation, dedication, and of course courage. There is also responsibility, decision-making and patience - not a bad list of boxes to tick for an aspiring political leader. Bill Clinton, another rugby-playing President (spooky, you might think, if you weren’t already beginning to suspect the often

    Sep 25,
  • Times Column 11/09/04 Fifty-one thousand people turned out at Twickenham last Saturday to swing a bottle at the launch of the Zurich Premiership 2004/5.  A new campaign begins, and in rugby, the winter season in hostile weather most closely resembles a naval campaign. From about the time of the Battle of Trafalgar, and not only because in Europe the French are still the biggest obstacle. All the clubs know where they plan to go, with a fair wind, and at every level of the game from Premiership to South Lancs/Cheshire 4, everyone has a chance at glory. The professionals get the treasure.  The rest make do with rum and sea-shanties, but as in those Master and Commander Men o’ War,

    Sep 11,