Month: February 2017

Report: 1sts v Fordingbridge (A), Sat. 11 Feb. 2017

Fordingbridge 51 IWRFC 22

Despite the result, the Island again showed their fighting spirit to fight their way to a bonus point.

Early play was dominated by the visitors as they caught the home side cold. Man of the Match Andrew Brown led by example on his return to the first team.

Pressure on Fordingbridge allowed the ball to be moved wide for James Webster to score.

The Island then seemed to switch off as the homesters attacked at every opportunity, using their pacey backs. This resulted in two unanswered home tries.

The returning Alex Augustus with a quick penalty caught the home defence napping. This allowed Owen Herbert to use his pace to cross for a score.

Again Fordingbridge were able to rack up three more scores before Ollie Boulter’s show and go bamboozled the defence and he scampered over.

Further tries from the home side put the game beyond the Island by half time, but with one try needed for a bonus point, the second half saw them launch regular attacks in the home line. This allowed Fordingbridge to counter and score.

With concern over a neck injury to a home side player, the game was moved to the adjacent pitch for the remaining 9 minutes.

The Island pinned Fordingbridge in their 22 and wave after wave of attacks fell on the home defence.

Finally the visitors managed to create space out wide and Chris Williams scored the bonus try, Gary Warvill adding the kick as the whistle ended the game.


O Herbert, J Webster, B Evans, D Stirrup, C Williams, G Warvill, A Augustus, R Stewart, A Hay, A Brown, O Boulter, A Smith, R Keyes, D Tennant, M Newnham. G Smith,  M Hallam.

Report: 2nds v Portsmouth Vets (A), Sat. 4 Feb. 2017

Portsmouth Vets 14-56 IW II

Travelling over the water on an international weekend can be fraught with problems, but the Island second string’s main problems were from the replacement bus service.

With Portsmouth playing a classic vets game, keeping the ball tight and driving, the Island set about moving the ball at all opportunities, using their pace in the backs.

Ability to match their hosts in the scrum allowed the backs, run by George Huish, to cut loose, resulting in a double hat trick for Evan Toms.

With the returning Andrew Brown and Grant Smith adding their experience to the pack, Alex Smith added a further try and eight conversions.

The final try was scored by James Webster.

Team: T Turtle, A Law, E Toms, J Webster, C Ormerod, G Huish, R Stewart, A Smith, T Kearney, A Brown, D Bishop, G Smith, R Keyes, T Love, M Newnham, L Herbert, D Ward.

Report: 1sts v Farnborough (H), Sat. 28 Jan. 2017

IW 45 Farnborough 10

The Isle of Wight produced a solid workmanlike performance inn the beating of visitors Farnborough, who showed a determination to compete. Early signs that the Island scrum was evident as hooker Dan Tennant took the first of many against the ‘borough scrum. Ed Lynch picked at eight and galloped over for Lewis Murray to add the kick.

The visitors then applied pressure in the home twenty two and were rewarded with a converted try.

Immediately the Island returned from the kick off as turn over ball from a Brett Evans tackle allowed the ball to be moved to the abrasive Dan Stirrup to cross the line.

A kick to the corner produced a try off the training pitch as Tennant fed Alex Smith to crash over, Murray adding the conversion. However the homesters were not happy with their first half return, having missed a couple of chances.

Now playing with the slope and the wind, after an early Farnborough penalty the home side applied the pressure on their visitors. Another planned move had James Webster touch down. Evans then collected an overthrown lineout to score, Murray adding the kick.

Again wining a ball off the opposition in the scrum allowed Mikey Wood to cut an angle on the half way and beat all to score, again the kick added.

Immediately from the kick off Wood again found himself on the ball, creating mayhem, offloading to Evans for his second try.

Throughout the game Rouse Intelligent Financial Solutions Man of the Match Oli Boulter was to the fore in both attack and defence and Sam Spencer-Brading constantly harried the opposition scrum half.

Despite a solid performance, the Island will need to be more clinical over the challenges of the next few weeks.

 With a Thursday night cry off by Farnborough 2nd team, the Islands 2nd team played an 8 a side game amongst themselves before watching the firsts.

Next week the 2nds take centre stage away at Portsmouth Vets.

O Herbert, E Toms, M Wood, D Stirrup, J Webster, L Murray, S Spencer-Brading, E Lynch, B Evans, A Smith, O Boulter, M Newnham, D Tennant, I Puzey, R Keyes, A Raunigger, C Williams.



The daffodils are blooming and there’s a stretch in the evenings – we’re in February! This wonderful month brings us the opening rounds of the Six Nations, the 15-match annual rugby-fest involving the original Five Nations and perennial whipping boys Italy. What fun. O’Pinion is minded to offer his much sought-after predictions for the tournament, if for no other reason than that everyone can laugh at him once the action concludes with Super Saturday on 18 March. Also, it’s a Lions year, which means that every player from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales will be scrutinised for their suitability to tour to New Zealand at the end of May. O’Pinion will also stick his neck out and name a starting 15 for the first Lions Test – this will no doubt be drastically changed once the Six Nations is over.


Reigning Grand Slammers from last year. Favourites to do it again this year, and if they do, they will break that record of 18 successive wins by a top-tier nation in the final game in Dublin. They’ve got a few injuries, France might give them some hassle in the opening game, but really they should make it to Dublin intact. Will they then win the Slam? O’Pinion gives a tentative ‘yes.’ The Vunipolas (especially Billy) are big losses though.


Second last year, but Gatland is on sabbatical and they were poor in the autumn, though beating South Africa. Warburton has relinquished the captaincy. They’re still an experienced bunch though and won’t be easy beats. O’Pinion reckons they’ve become a bit one-dimensional and the top two will surely beat them. Even their opening game in Rome could be a nervous affair. O’Pinion says fifth – one or maybe two wins out of five.


Champions in 2014-15 – poorish campaign last year but have since beaten the Tri-Nations in a five month period. Sexton will miss the first couple of games, but injuries elsewhere are few. Tough first game in Edinburgh, but negotiate that and they should make it to the afore-mentioned decider in their backyard. O’Pinion has been biased before, but is backing Ireland to be runners-up.


The classic cliché about not knowing which France will turn up remains valid, but the turgid, aimless rugby and nutty selections of the Saint-Andre era are gone. In the autumn, France picked a massive pack but their whole team were aiming to avoid rucks and offload until the opposition broke. It almost, but not quite, did for Australia and New Zealand. Watch for France to be a force again this year, though their opener at Twickenham will put them under pressure from the start. O’Pinion says third with three wins.


Seems like every year we say Scotland are improving and then they come fifth or sixth. This year may be different. Glasgow are awesome on their day and this has translated to a Scotland team that is good to watch. Yet their narrow defeat with much possession to the Aussies in November suggested they don’t quite have that cutting edge of the best sides. Could pull off a shock or two, but this writer says fourth with two wins.


They now have Conor O’Shea and they beat the Springboks! But remember that so did everyone else, it felt like. They are progressing but so are the other teams (except maybe Wales), so O’Pinion sees them propping up the table again. Their best chance of a win is usually their first, and this year they are at home to Wales. But whitewash, I reckon.


Lions will probably go for something like the Irish template that beat the All Blacks and could have beaten them two weeks later in Dublin, based on excellent kick-chase and very few mistakes in possession, plus going after their set-piece. Easier said than done. A terrible NZ winter would probably not hurt. Will the Lions do it? No. But they might win one Test, which would be better than 2005.

Lions starting XV for 1st test :

15 Liam Williams (everyone says Hogg, but not me)

14 Watson (or Nowell, or both if North gets concussed again)

13 Daly? This could be any of about six different blokes

12 Henshaw

11 North

10 Farrell (but Sexton or Biggar on form could also get it)

9 Murray

1 McGrath (Vunipola’s injury costs him)

2 He’ll pick Hartley, but should be Best or Jamie George

3 Furlong

4 Itoje (unless he’s picked back row)

5 AW Jones

6 Stander (or Itoje)

7 O’Brien will probably be injured by then, so I’ll say Tipuric, though Gatland’s not a huge fan

8 B Vunipola (Faletau not played much for ages)

Bolters from each country: Henderson or van der Flier from Ireland, Huw Jones or Seymour from Scotland, Warburton to make the frame after returning to form and maybe Halfpenny, and how about Nathan Hughes or Sinckler from England? I nearly forgot Peter O’Mahony – not just Ireland-biased but Munster-biased, remember…

Right all, over to you. Start arguing/mocking/bitching, please….

Much love,