• Times Column 20/11/04 Last week, South African coach Jake White supposedly gifted the Irish a winning psychological advantage by publicly criticising the quality of the men in green. This week, the Welsh management have avoided the term 'All Blacks' in favour of 'New Zealand', helpfully pointing out that the former suggests a rugby superpower while the latter is a 'poxy little Island in the Pacific.' Uh-oh. This doesn't seem a very sound approach, but pre-match psycho-scuffles can actually work   Most famously, David Campese and his big mouth, two of Australia's all-time great performers, managed to talk England out of their 'boring' game plan before the 1991 World Cup final. In the same decade, Brian Moore would annually reduce the

    Nov 20,
  • Times Column 6/11/04 When a referee gets noticed, the saying goes, he’s had a bad game. If so, then this season the refs are in trouble. Rob Andrew (who used to be such a nice boy) lashed into referee Sean Davey after only the second home game of the Premiership campaign. Chris White was booed at Welford Road.  The London Irish coach Gary Gold slammed refereeing standards throughout the league after his side’s one point home defeat to Leeds. These kind of cry-baby tantrums tend to happen more often before Christmas.  When Andrew had a go at Sean Davey, the season was only three matches old and Newcastle Falcons were top of the league.  It was still possible for Andrew

    Nov 06,