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Fanpic captures record crowd at Wembley

Over 83,000 rugby union fans pictured at the Aviva Premiership encounter between Saracens and Harlequins at Wembley last Saturday can now tag themselves in the crowd on a fanpic that was taken during the game.

The 360° multibillion pixel photograph is available to view at http://bit.ly/AvivaUK-fanpic and allows fans to pinpoint themselves in the crowd, tag themselves and then share it with their friends on social media platforms or via email.


Heineken Cup - Will the brave prevail?
Now that the side show is over namely the Rugby World Cup, we can truly focus on the world's leading rugby competition and look forward to just over six months of unadulterated rugby drama.

I have written before about my love of the Heineken Cup and last year's competition did little to diminish such feelings with a long list of wonderful moments crowned by an exhilarating and memorable final in Cardiff.

Please Saracens do not mess about with the Heineken Cup
Edward Griffiths, the Chief Executive of Saracens assertion that the club as "genetically innovative" is certainly laudable and a reflection of the club's desire to develop in the forthcoming years. Too often a "change is bad" mentality has pervaded rugby, but,and a big but, there are ideas and there are ideas. More...

RFU to close
After a difficult period of in-fighting, subterfuge and mismanagement, reports which as yet remain unconfirmed, are emerging from Twickenham that the RFU is to close with immediate effect. It is understood that the startling decision is a consequence of a number of recent events rather than specifically the result of Sunday's acrimonious RFU Council meeting. More...

The onthetryline "Old School Guide" to Rugby World Cup preparation
In contrast with the extensive and costly preparation enjoyed by some of the leading rugby nations, a number of the lesser countries who frankly have not got a hope of World Cup glory have adopted the Onthetryline “Old School” Rugby World Cup Preparation Programme. The programme was offered to Wales and Scotland but they have currently adopted a different approach.

The  programme is certainly more cost effective and relies on some of the key elements of the good old amateur days with the motto -  “Non Painus Plentius Gainus ” More...

All Blacks: Just talk among yourselves
Following the announcement last week that a social media ban has been imposed upon the New Zealand players for the duration of the World Cup by Head Coach, Graham Henry, speculation is rife that the communication clampdown is to be extended in order that the players, coaches and management team can be totally focused on winning the World Cup. More...

I wrote at the start of the season about the potential for some epic weekends of live rugby viewing with the introduction of ESPN in to the fray only enhancing the possibilities even further. I think my record this season was eight games through from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon with a combination of Amlin Challenge, Heineken Cup and Super 15 games - my only regret was that I did not get the complete set as I missed at least two games! More...

Just Incredible: Reaction to the great Leinster comeback
It was as if the blowing of Romain Poite's whistle for the start of the second half was a rallying cry for the cavalry to arrive adorned in blue to launch wave after wave of attack on the brave but increasingly desperate Northampton defence. The ebb and flow of the first half turned in to a torrent as Leinster imposed a clamp like grip on a game that looked beyond them at half time. More...

Confusion at Twickenham as the ground staff are not sure where to place the posts
This morning there were many confused faces among the Twickenham ground staff as it would seem that the posts are to move closer to the West Stand at least for the time being. Their dilemma comes as a result of the on-going saga of the appointment of the new RFU Performance Director and the clarification in the job description part way through, what would seem a very long and tortuous recruitment process. More...

If you are good enough, you are old enough - Teenagers in the Aviva Premiership
The inclusion of schoolboys, Elliot Daly and Billy Vunipola in the Wasps team for the recent St George's Day fixture against Bath at Twickenham was very much a throw back to the distant amateur days when senior clubs used the Easter fixtures to give talented young players still at school, a chance to experience senior adult rugby. It was far from an easy introduction for both players as Wasps struggled against a free scoring Bath side. More...

Does the RFU really need Clive Woodward? My open letter to John Steele!
Dear Mr Steele
I have become increasingly concerned over the last week with the gushing endorsement by many ex players, coaches and various esteemed rugby writers of Clive Woodward as the most suitable candidate for the role of Performance Director with the RFU. More...

The Curious Incident of the Gav in the Night-Time
And then there was no one else in front of the window and I said to the man behind the window, ‘I want to go to France,’ and I hadn’t been frightened when I was with the policeman but I turned round and I saw that he had gone now and I was scared again, so I tried to pretend I was playing a game on my computer and it was called Strictly Come Dancing, and you had to dance lots of different dances to get to the next level, and I could turn it off at any time if I wanted. More...

"Chillax Bro" - A Guide to Referee Slang
The RFU have been quick to act following JP Doyle's performance yesterday in refereeing the Sale Sharks and London Irish at the Reebok Stadium. A very vocal Paul Hodgson left Doyle with no choice but to respond with " Chillax bro". A spokesman from the RFU was keen to point out late last night that there has not been any specific directive to referees to incorporate "street" language in their game management from Ed Morrison, the Head of Elite Referee Development. More...  

Thomas the Tank Engine arrives at Twickenham Station
I always thought that it was common knowledge in rugby circles that the birthplace of a grandparent could have major bearing on who you might end up playing international rugby for. In this context it is somewhat surprising that Thomas Waldrom seems to have had a "eureka moment" and phoned his mum in the early hours of the morning to clarify whether his grandma was born in England. More...