There will be no rush to appoint Andy Robinson’s replacement – especially after England beat the All Blacks at Twickenham last weekend.
That win almost certainly ensures that Stuart Lancaster will lead England into the next World Cup, a prospect that was far from certain when the men in white were contemplating one win (over Fiji) from four outings in their own back yard. One or two ambitious Premiership coaches might now throw their CVs Murrayfield’s way since they won’t be needed at Twickenham any time soon.
• Warren Gatland, right, will announce on Wednesday who will help him coach the Lions in Australia next year but three names have already hit the internet – Rob Howley, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree. The latter two seem to be shoo-ins but the surprise is that Shaun Edwards may miss out. Scotland’s favourite adopted son James Robson will be going as the doctor – as per usual.
• Quade Cooper shares both an agent and a love of the ring with Sonny Bill Williams. The New Zealand-born Aussie stand-off is set to make his professional boxing debut on 8 February on the undercard of SBW’s latest fight, just one week before the Super Rugby season kicks off. I am not sure who he is due to fight but I daresay that Richie McCaw will offer to step in if no one else can be found.
• The Heineken Cup will be decided today (well, maybe). It may only be the third round of matches but already this afternoon’s Clermont versus Leinster tie looks awfully important. The two teams share a long Heineken history with the Dubliners generally having ended up on top. This time Clermont start the day two points ahead of Leinster, who need to get something from this encounter if they are to have any chance of finishing atop the pool. The winner of today’s game will be well placed to go the distance.
• Ulster’s victory over English hopefuls Northampton on Friday evening was their 13th consecutive win in all competitions. The province have won every match they have played this season to date and they have done so with the initials of the late Nevin Spence sewn into their shirts. It may not be the Heineken Cup but Ulster will surely win something this season.
• ANDY Robinson’s son Olly started on the bench for Moseley in their B&I Cup match against Gala yesterday. Surely you don’t need to ask, but he, too, is a flanker and has better hands than his old man ever did…
• Another week, another ERC meeting, this one at Heathrow Airport Hotel on Wednesday. ERC has three proposals on the table for 20, 24 and 32-team structures for the Heineken Cup. What members won’t have is any idea about what’s in the small print of the deal that English Premier Rugby boss Mark McCafferty signed with BT. That has been kept under wraps, which smells more than a little fishy. The French are still the key players. Paul Goze (of Perpignan) is the new League Nationale de Rugby (LNR) boss and he is said to be a traditionalist. No one expects a breakthrough, although the Celts will continue in their bid to isolate the English clubs who may be left out in the cold altogether if French clubs shake hands on a change to the calendar. But some hardline English clubs feel thwarted at every turn by ERC and feel they can go it alone if there is serious financial support from BT.
Anyone for poker?