Dyfyniad yr wythnos

Oddi ar fforwm trafod rygbi'r BBC, Scrum V:

lets be honest he [Gavin Henson] is just a scaled down less talented, smaller and less dynamic Mike Tindall

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


Y Grauniad wrthi eto

Ro'n un mwynhau'r erthygl hon yn y Grauniad, ac yn dechrau meddwl gymaint yn fwy o barch sydd gyda fi at Graham Henry'r dyddie 'ma. Wedyn, fe gadarnhaodd y papur i fi pwy fydda' i'n gefnogi ddydd Sadwrn:

"The rumpus over O'Driscoll's injury, which generated no fewer than four England press conferences in the space of 24 hours after Saturday's match, has clearly removed whatever affection existed between the two sets of coaches, with scornful references to spin doctors studding Henry's discussion of the matter. He would certainly not dismiss the idea that England had kept the controversy alive in order to deflect attention away from their own poor performance."

Dewch 'mlaen, Cymru! Rhowch hel iddyn nhw!


Stuart Barnes

Ymddiheuriadau am y Saesneg ('to), ond roedd yn rhaid i fi bostio hyn i gyd. Gwych. Cytuno â phob gair...

'Unless Woodward moves away from English attrition, he could prove to be the worst Lions boss since God knows when'

Stuart Barnes in Christchurch

The Lions coach's tactics were negative and his team paid the price for his reluctance to select key Welsh players

It was a dire night for British and Irish rugby fans, but a great one for lovers of the game. Sir Clive Woodward’s rugby philosophy is basic and it is brutal. It doesn’t matter how you win a Test match, as long as you win. That was the basic premise of his assertions in the run-up to his team’s plodding performance yesterday.

He apparently takes great pride in this anti-hero role that he has espoused in the past few years of his coaching career. His first instinct is the conservative, the negative; how to nullify rather than how to create. And in Christchurch the barren nature of his belief brought the British & Irish Lions crashing down to earth. In weather that was tailor-made for his sterile tactical plan, New Zealand dismissed his robotic assembly of players with ease.

The headlines will deal with the spear tackle on Brian O’Driscoll in the first minute and the dreadful problems at the lineout. Both, undoubtedly, worsened the Lions’ plight. But the picture behind the loss is bigger — much bigger. This was a clash of rugby cultures. Do you attempt to strangle a team through attrition, or do you try to open the field up with dynamism? Purists who care for the game should celebrate the fact that New Zealand are turning the tide against the bully boys, the big bruisers.

It was not the Blacks’ backs who won the game, but the tight five, the area the Lions believed they could dominate.

Graham Henry was effusive in his praise for the engine of the team. “The tight five of the All Blacks outplayed the Lions’ tight five tonight,” the New Zealand coach said. “That was the basis of the win. They were dominant around the field and that enabled the back row to function and gave a platform for the backs.”

But it wasn’t simply a case of the Lions being beaten by a physically and technically superior unit. The real problem is the deeper-lying cultural one. New Zealanders want their forwards to be dynamic, to motor around the park as well as grunt in the scrums or jump at the lineout. They are expected to hit rucks hard and to move opponents. In other words, they are regarded primarily as creative players, like the backs.

Woodward and his coaches pay only lip service to this mantra. How else to explain the selection of Ben Kay and a back row of ponderous propensities? Kay was picked to do nothing but win lineout ball, the back row to do nothing but negate the New Zealand attack. In terms of creativity, nothing was expected. Thankfully for the sake of the game, the team with ambition triumphed — and with such ease that the Lions and those people who think sterility will always prevail against creativity are going to have to think again and think fast.

From day one of this tour, Woodward dreamed of winning a series by stopping New Zealand and kicking a few penalties and goals, with maybe a moment or two of individual magic thrown in to make the difference. His dreams are the stuff of neutrals’ nightmares. It was no coincidence that the one Lions forward who took the fight to New Zealand with their brand of power and pace was Welshman, Ryan Jones. And remember, this was a man not even considered good enough to be a first replacement for the initial group of back-row forwards. Jones was superb during the Six Nations, but the Lions management did not think he was the right sort of player. Maybe he just doesn’t have the right technique when it comes to flopping over the ball and slowing it down? Maybe his raw belligerence and athleticism lacks the sophistication of natural born ball-killers.

The Ospreys forward’s stunning performance against Otago gave Woodward a chance to reassess the balance of the back row, but no, the culture of negativity allowed him no more than a place on the bench.

Wayne Smith, the All Blacks’ backs coach, was impressed with Jones, but not surprised. “He played well, didn’t he? I am not surprised,” said Smith. “He came out of a team that plays like that.”

The reference was to Wales, and there is no doubt that the positive Welsh approach to the game, one begun by Steve Hansen, now part of the All Blacks coaching team, and refined by Mike Ruddock, was one New Zealand are glad not to be facing once more.

“We (New Zealand) found Wales difficult on tour,” Smith added. “They were sophisticated in attack, right across the park.”

The implication was clear enough. The Lions were anything but threatening. And it was not, no matter what the management said, simply a matter of insufficient ball.

The Lions’ obsession with grinding attrition is at the expense of skill. The gifted instinctive skills of, say, Shane Williams or Gavin Henson are not trusted by Woodward; the only selection risks he takes are to choose off-form Englishmen who once strangled the All Blacks on a wild and wet night in Wellington. In many ways it is a relief that the gamble failed. Rugby does not need Woodward’s way prevailing. It needs the belief in skill and attack to triumph.

In conditions not suited to the All Blacks, the home team made a fist of running rugby, against the elemental odds.

“It is difficult to play constructive rugby in these elements,” said Henry, pausing before adding, “unless you’re hugely skilful.” Another mischievous pause. “And they struggled.” Too right, Graham.

The Super 12 knockers are going to be forced into a reassessment of the approach to Test-match rugby. It is true that the game is too loose, but at least the ease with which attacking teams keep the ball means sides and individuals become used to playing at pace.

In contrast, most of Europe’s club rugby is a compelling case of trudging, defensive-based stuff.

Yesterday showed that of the two extremes, it is the positive and not the negative that can flourish when tempered. The coaching philosophy is being shifted into overdrive by a New Zealand team that is attractive to the neutrals. I defy anybody to deny the sheer beauty of Sitiveni Sivivatu’s try. Even with O’Driscoll, it is hard to imagine this Lions squad forging a thing of such magnificence. Now that he is off the tour, it is nigh on impossible.

What frustrates so much is the fact that the evidence of the sea change has been in front of the eyes of the Lions management all year.

The Wales Grand Slam has been dismissed as a fluke in a bad English year and too many of their players have been disregarded on this tour.

Woodward has been quick to praise them, but slow to pick them. After the Otago game he went so far as to say, “Now I understand why these guys won the Grand Slam.” Then he opted for four Welshmen and eight Englishmen in his starting XV.

Woodward’s achievements cannot be lightly dismissed. I still believe that he, more than any player, was the central reason behind England’s World Cup triumph. However, unless he finds the flexibility to move away from English attrition (which is more myth than reality without the retired Martin Johnson and the injured Lawrence Dallaglio), England’s greatest sporting manager since Sir Alf Ramsey could prove to be the Lions’ worst boss since God knows when.

He has been given the money and the resources to make this the best-prepared Lions tour of them all — and the organisation is superbly professional off the pitch. It is just that on it, they are playing in a time warp. Woodward has a week to look west of the Severn for the way at least to compete with New Zealand in Wellington next Saturday. You will have heard the admission of lineout problems. You will read quotes of Woodward and his management talking of “copping it and moving on” and the Lions have brewed up a citation for All Blacks skipper Tana Umaga and hooker Keven Mealamu for their spear tackle that ended the captain’s tour.

Great news headlines, but all designed to mask the basic flaws of the Lions and their negative approach to the opening Test. Once again, the professionalism of the Lions’ most professional tour is coming to the fore. It is New Labour reinvented as rugby union. Let us hope that in sport, unlike politics, the truth will out.

Let us hope so, for Woodward’s sake. A favourite phrase of his — bar “copping it and moving on” — is to look in the mirror. He needs to see that the monster he is intent on keeping alive is no longer scaring the rest of the world.


Shamlbs-di-shambls-di-shambls. Fel y rhagwelwyd fan hyn a chan y rhan fwyaf o gefnogwyr rygbi Cymru (y rhai sy'n deall rygbi), roedd y Llewod yn gachu rwtsh (hmmm, rhaid osgoi Gogs er mwyn chwynnu ymadroddion fel hyn mas o'n iaith naturiol i). Sai'n gweld gormod o fai ar y cefnwyr (heblaw am Robinson a Greenwood), achos roedd y platfform gafodd ei osod gan y blaenwyr yn warthus. Doedd dim math o uned 'na, a po leiaf weda' i am y llinell, gorau oll. Falle bod cefnogwyr Cymru a'u barn y dylai Byrne fod wedi cael ei ddewis yn anghywir wedi'r cwbwl. Ond doedd Pop-up Pirate ddim gwell pan ddaeth e 'mlaen.

Felly ble all Wdwrd fynd o fan hyn? Wel, gyda B'OD a Shanks mas, mae'n rhaid dewis Alfie'n rhif 13. Dyw e heb gael hanner digon o gyfle yn y safle ar hyd ei yrfa, sy'n wirion o ystyried mai dyma ei safle gorau. Digon posib mai pan chwaraeodd e i Benybont oedd y tro dwetha iddo fe fod yn y safle. Ac wrth gwrs, rhaid cael Henson mewn gyda fe. Hefyd, fydden i'n cadw Stephen Jones, er nad oes llawer i ddewis rhyngddo fe a Wilkinson, am y ffaith syml ei fod e'n gwbod shwt mae chwarae gyda Henson a rhannu'r cyfrifoldeb am y chwarae creadigol.

Felly dyma ddylai'r tim fod (gyda'r dewisiadau wnaiff Wdwrd mewn cromfachau): Lewsey, Murphy (Horgan), Thomas, Henson, Shane (Hickie), Wellies (Wilkinson), Peel, Jenkins, Bulloch (Thompson), O'Callaghan (Kay), O'Connell, Easterby, Jones, Williams (Moody).

Dyw pethe ddim yn argoeli'n dda ar gyfer yr ail brawf. Er, roedd gwen fach ar 'y ngwyneb i fore dydd Sadwrn, yn falch dros Henry a Hansen a'u llwyddiant. Gwd show, bois.



Gwell peidio sgwennu gormod rhag ofn cael trawiad, ond afraid dweud mai ffolineb llwyr i'w dewis carfan gyda chwaraewyr sydd naill ai ddim yn chwarae'n dda neu sydd wedi gweld dyddiau gwell (gweler Robinson, O'Driscoll, Wilkinson, Hill, Back, Rowntree, Thompson, Dawson, Greenwood, Horgan). Mae Woodworm yn prysur fwydo ceirch i'w geffylau gwedd, tra'n gadael y ceffylau pedigri'n tindroi yn y stablau.

(O ie, Robinson, Lewsey, O'Driscoll, Wilkinson, Alfie, Wellies, Peel, Jenkins, Byrne, White, Kay, O'Connell, Hill, Corry, Back yw'r tim, os nad oeddech chi'n gwybod, gyda Rowntree, Thompson, R Jones, Dawson, Greenwood a Horgan ar y fainc. Yup, cach llwyr, heblaw am y Cymry).


Pwy fyddai'n ennill?

Tîm yr Arglwydd Moelben, neu'r gwrthodedigion o Gymru?

15 Lewsey
14 Thomas
13 O'Driscoll
12 Wilkinson
11 Robinson
10 Jones
9 Peel
1 Jenkins
2 Byrne
3 White
4 Grewcock
5 O'Connell
6 Hill
8 Corry
7 Back

yn erbyn

15 K Morgan
14 Rh Williams
13 Shanklin
12 Henson
11 C Morgan
10 Robinson
9 Cooper
1 D Jones
2 Davies
3 A Jones
4 B Cockbain
5 R Sidoli
6 J Thomas
8 M Owen
7 M Williams

Sai wedi cynnwys y rhai fydd ar y fainc (Shane a R Jones), ond hyd yn oed wedyn, os bydde hi'n agos rhwng y ddau dîm 'ma, pa obaith mae Woodentop yn meddwl s'da fe yn erbyn Seland Newydd?

Tocynnau tymor Gleision Caerdydd

Mae tocynnau tymor Gleision Caerdydd bellach ar werth. Bydd yn costio £140 i ryw ffwl sefyll ar y teras a gwylio'r embaras llwyr yma i rygbi Cymru. Nid fi fydd hwnnw, wrth gwrs, gan fod ffrindiau gyda fi sy'n byw ar Westgate Street, ond byddan nhw'n symud flwyddyn nesaf, felly falle bryd 'ny. Ddim drwy unrhyw gariad at y Gleision, wrth gwrs, ond dyma'r unig ffordd ymarferol o weld rygbi byw o safon uchel o safon gwael gan y Gleision ac uchel gan y lleill yn gyson.

Gwerth gwell am arian 'leni, serch hynny. Mwy o gemau a Mike Phillips a Xavier Rush gyda'i gilydd wrth fon y sgrym.


Cytundeb newydd y GG


Y gorau o ddau fyd neu gael ein clymu i gystadleuaeth annigonol am bedair blynedd?


Odyn nhw'n chwarae llawer o rygbi yn Norwy?

Ymddiheuriadau am y Saesneg, ond roedd rhaid postio hwn. Neges rwy' newydd dderbyn gan fy ffrind Ian, sydd ddim yn wilia Susneg.

Siopwr: I wish to complain about this outside half what I called up not a month ago from England.

Perchennog: Oh yes, the, uh, the Wilkinson...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?

S: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's injured, that's what's wrong with it!

P: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.

S: Look, matey, I know an injured outside half when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

P: No no he's not injured, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable player, the Wilkinson, didn't I say? He won the world cup!

S: The world cup don't enter into it. It's injured.

P: No, no, no! 'E's resting!

S: Alright then, if he's restin', I'll play him! 'Ello, Mister Wilkinson! I've got a lovely rugby match for you if you show...

P: There, he moved!

S: No, he didn't, that was you pushing him over!

P: I never!!

S: Yes, you did!

P: I never, never did anything...

S: (yelling and hitting Wilkinson repeatedly) 'ELLO WILKO!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call! (Picks Wilko up and thumps his head on the wall. Props him up on his feet and watches him plummet to the floor.) Now that's what I call an injured outside half.

P: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!


P: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Wilkinsons stun easily.

S: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That outside half is definitely deceased, and when I called him up it not a month ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged game with Newcastle.

P: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for Martin Johnson.

S: PININ' for Martin Johnson?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im to New Zealand?

P: Wilkinson prefers keepin' on it's back! Remarkable player, id'nit, squire? Won the world cup!

S: Look, I took the liberty of examining that player when I got it to New Zealand, and I discovered the only reason that it had been kicking goals for Newcastle in the first place was that his leg had been fastened on with a butterfly pin.

P: Well, o'course it was fastened on! If I hadn't done that, it would have put too much stress on the poor man after coming back from such a long injury. He's got plenty of Ooomph.

S: "OOMPH"?!? Mate, this player wouldn't "oomph" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!

P: No no! 'E's pining!

S: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's injured! This player is no good! He has ceased to play! 'E's crocked and gone to be a pundit for the BBC! 'E's a liability! Bereft of flair, 'e warms the bench! If you hadn't pinned his leg on 'e'd be missing easy touch kicks! 'Is mercurial performances are now 'istory! 'E's off the England team! 'E's kicked the last drop goal, 'e's shuffled off 'is pedastal, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' honours list!! THIS IS AN EX-PLAYER!!


P: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of Wilkinsons.

S: I see. I see, I get the picture.

P: I got a Hodgson.


S: Pray, does it kick?

P: Nnnnot really.


P: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

S: Well?


P: (quietly) D'you.... d'you want to come back to my place?

S: (looks around) Yeah, all right, sure.


'Rygbi yn joc'

Diolch i Chris (ei flog Cymraeg ydw i'n ei ddarllen fel arfer) am fy nghyfeirio at y stori hon

A bod yn onest, fe wnaeth y stori i fi chwerthin fwy na bod yn grac.

Tim y Llewod ar gyfer y gemau prawf

15 J Lewsey - rhaid ei ddewis. Rhedwr twyllodrus a chadernid amddiffynol
14 Alfie - mae e'n cynnig digon yn amddiffynol ac yn yr ymosod i haeddu'i le
13 O'Driscoll - am y ffaith syml na allwch chi beidio â dewis y capten
12 Henson - ddim ar ei orau ond unwaith y bydd, fe allai fod yn arwr
11 Shanklin - heb roi cam o'i le, ac yn llawer gwell na Robinson, sydd heb wneud unrhyw beth ers Cwpan y Byd
10 Jones - Wilkinson yn wan yn erbyn Wellington ac mae llawer gan Wellies i'w brofi o hyd
9 Peel - mae e ben ac ysgwyddau uwch pawb ar hyn o bryd
1 Jenkins - gweler Peel
2 Byrne - dewis ceidwadol braidd, ond mae'n well na chael chwaraewr cwbl annibynadwy fel Thompson
3 White - ddim â digon o bresenoldeb o amgylch y cae, ond y gorau o giwed wael
4 O'Callaghan - am y ffaith ei fod yn neidio ym mlaen y llinell a'i fod yn dda o amgylch y cae
5 O'Connell - mae'n arweinydd cryf ac yn chwaraewyr medrus
6 Hill - heb fod ar ei orau ond mae'n dal i fod yn chwaraewr cryf iawn a deallus
8 Corry - dyw Owen heb ddisgleirio, felly rhaid dewis Corry, ond efallai y bydd R Jones yn synnu pobl â'i ddawn
7 Williams - ochr yn ochr, yn yr un fath o amgylchiadau, mae Williams yn well chwaraewr na Back


Y Duwiau'n gwenu ar y Blouse...

Ond ddim yn edrych mor ffafriol ar y Gweilch, fe ymddengys, gyda chyhoeddi'r grwpiau ar gyfer Cwpan Heieneken 2005/06.

Dyma'r grwpiau'n llawn:

1 Munster, Castres, Sale, Dreigiau
2 Gleision, Leeds, Calvisano, Perpignan
3 Gweilch, Stade Francais, Caerlyr, Clermont Auvergne
4 Biarritz, Saracens, Ulster, Treviso
5 Glasgow, Bourgoin, Caerfaddon, Leinster
6 Sgarlets, Toulouse, Picwns, Caeredin

Er, sai'n poeni'n ormodol, achos mae'r bois 'di penderfynu mynd ar daith i Perpignan! Woo!


"Niiiiine times..."

Martyn Williams, Steve Thompson a Marty Holah

Wel, fel y'ch chi'n gwbod, fe gollodd y Llewod ddydd Sadwrn, ond yn ol cefnogwyr a sylwebwyr Lloegr, bai Martyn Williams oedd hyn wrth gwrs. Hynod ddigri', na, infuriating, oedd clywed Stuart 'Fat Boy' Barnes yn cwyno, ar ol i Thompson fethu ei neidiwr dair gwaith yn olynol heb unrhyw sylw ganddo, am Williams yn cael ei wthio'n ol yn y dacl gan Marty Holah.

He'll not be test no.7 with play like that.

Ond wrth gwrs, yn eu tyb nhw, bydd Thompson yn cadw gafael ar ei grys er gwaetha'...

a) iddo fethu ei neidiwr sawl gwaith; ac

b) mai hanner y broblem gyda gwaith Martyn Williams oedd y diffyg cefnogaeth gan chwaraewyr fel Thompson, oedd yn gorlifo canol cae yn lle bod yng nghanol y frwydr.

Gweler dadansoddiad Marty Holah, rhif 7 y Maoris (sydd heb ei ddewis ar gyfer carfan y Crysau Duon), sydd yn amddiffyn Williams i raddau helaeth, yn y New Zealand Herald.

Gol - dyma fwy o sylwadau Holah yn y Mule, a hefyd *shock horror* sylwadau call gan Barnes yn y Times (mae'n rhaid ei fod e'n cael ei dalu'n go helaeth ar Sky i beidio â gwneud synnwyr), yn ategu'r hyn sy'n cael ei ddweud am y diffyg niferoedd yn y sgarmesi.


Cymru'n dyfeisio rygbi!

Meddai rhyw wallgofddyn yng Nghaerllion, ac yn Western Mule heddi'.

Wrth gwrs, yn yr un modd ag mae celwydd noeth yw stori William Webb Ellis, s'dim pwynt gwrando ar y stori 'ma chwaith. Oni bai bod modd profi bod cysylltiad uniongyrchol rhwng y gem hynafol a'r gem fodern.


Wire yn trafod Henson

Erthygl yn y Times, lle mae Nicky Wire o'r Manic Street Preachers yn trafod rhinweddau Gavin Henson.

Mae'r Manics yn dod o'r un pentref â fi, felly fe allwch chi weld sut mae'r cysylltiad rygbi'n drwch yno. Ro'n i'n arfer bod yn obsesd gyda'r band hefyd, felly mae'r erthygl yn gyfuniad perffaith.


Simon Shaw

Gyda Mal O'Kelly'n mynd gartre'n gynnar, hoffwn longyfarch y pedwerydd blaenwr ar ddeg o Loegr i gael yr alwad i fod yn aelod o garfan y Llewod yn Seland Newydd. Ie, dyna ni, mae gan y wlad ddaeth yn bedwerydd ym Mhencampwriaeth y Chwe Gwlad 14 o flaenwyr, tra mai dim ond 3 sydd gan y wlad enillodd y Gamp Lawn. Ond s'dim rhagfarn, cofiwch, achos bod Woodward yn dweud hynny.

Ac mae gan Shaw brofiad o chwarae yn Seland Newydd cofiwch. Ie, profiad o gael ei hel o'r cae...


Amserlen y tymor newydd!

Dyma sy'n cael ei gynnig gan URC:

Mae'n edrych yn ddigon rhesymol, heblaw am gem GG yn cael ei chynnal ar benwythnos olaf y Chwe Gwlad. Ac am unwaith, mae undod o fewn Cymru, fel y gwelir yma.

Ar ddiwrnod llwm llawn dadlau...

Dyma rywbeth i godi calon, cyhoeddi tim Cymru i wynebu UDA...

Kevin Morgan; Rhys Williams, Mark Taylor, Ceri Sweeney, Craig Morgan; Nicky Robinson, Michael Phillips; Duncan Jones, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Brent Cockbain, Luke Charteris, Jonathan Thomas, Colin Charvis, Ryan Jones

Eilyddion: Rhys Thomas, Ben Broster, Ian Gough, Richie Pugh, Andrew Williams, Matthew Watkins, Tal Selley

Er, mi o'n i'n gobeithio na fydden i'n gorfod dioddef gweld Craig Morgan mewn crys Cymru eto...