The Sin Bin
Rala pipped for Pope
March 14, 2013
Ireland kit man Paddy 'Rala' O'Reilly does his best to lift spirits at the team's Carton House training base © @jamieheaslip
Welcome to the latest edition of The Sin Bin - our regular feature offering you some of the quirkier stories to emanate from the game we love.
There's not a ruck we will not delve into or a hospital pass we will avoid in a bid to bring you some of the more bizarre, humorous and downright daft stories, videos, pictures and soundbites from around the rugby globe. Got anything you think warrants a mention? Let us know.
Rala for Pope?
Ireland kit man Paddy 'Rala' O'Reilly (pictured right) made a late bid to become the next Pope earlier this week - and took to a balcony at the team's Carton House base to address the rugby masses.
Luckily for us all, Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip was there to record events for posterity while the papal conclave in the Vatican City decided that Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be better as the head of the Roman Catholic church.
'The Hoff' ready for Six Nations showdown
Former Knight Rider and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff has revealed that he is among the millions of rugby fans eagerly awaiting the Six Nations title showdown between Wales and England on Saturday. 'The Hoff', who is "dating Welsh beauty Hayley Roberts" has previously thrown his support behind Wales and will no doubt be supporting the hosts in Cardiff on Saturday.
'Desperate' Samoa use YouTube for fundraising
The Samoan Rugby Union (SRU) has launched a fund-raising drive that they hope will help them compete with the world's best. The Pacific islanders stunned Wales on their most recent tour of Europe but that victory came at a financial cost and the SRU have produced an emotion-packed 17-minute video in the hope of attracting new sponsors. "Samoa, Fiji and Tonga are all cash-strapped," insisted Tuilaepa Sailele, Samoa's Prime Minister and chairman of the Samoan Rugby Union, "and we thought it would be a good way to highlight the problems that we face. It's a longshot we know and we are hopeful at best."
'The oldest winger in town'
If 34-year-old Brian O'Driscoll is considering hanging up his boots then maybe he should have chat with Stirling County RFC's Easton Roy who has pledged to keep on playing - just days after scoring a try on his ninetieth birthday. The Daily Mail reports that Roy has been a feature at the club for 60 years. "I'm limping a bit now, but you have to remember I haven't played since I was 85," he said following the game. "I keep fit - I've got a gym at home and I go jogging and do yoga, but it's different to playing rugby. But I'd like to play on if I can. After the match I cleaned my boots and washed and pressed my shirt, then packed them back in to my kit bag so they'll be ready."
Steve Walsh has some fans
You could be forgiven for thinking that headline-grabbing referee Steve Walsh struggles for fans but it appears he does have his admirers including BBC radio presenter Shelagh Fogarty who took to Twitter at the weekend to reveal she was a little "giddy" at the sight of the Kiwi official - but she and her friends clearly have a thing for New Zealand men given their fondness of Strictly star Brendan Cole.
Parks a glutton for punishment
Former Wales rugby international Richard Parks is to feature in a new Channel 5 adventure series that will see him take part in a series of punishing events including the Vietnam Jungle Marathon, a double Iron Man event in Wales dubbed The Brutal and a Himalayan mountain biking race known as the Yak Attack. Parks, of course, is no stranger to extreme challenges having travelled to the South Pole and created the 737 Challenge, a seven month race to climb the highest mountain on each of the world's continents. "It's going to be an awesome year!" stated Parks. "To say I am amped is an understatement."
He did what?
RFU Championship side Newcastle Falcons extended their winning run to 17 games earlier this month thanks to a narrow victory over Bedford Blues that included this outrageous score from Jamie Helleur who pounced on the ball after Jimmy Gopperth had managed to hit both posts and the crossbar with a penalty attempt. Amazing stuff.
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