The Sin Bin
Disfigured digits, dogs' mess and entrails
ESPN Staff
October 19, 2012
Cardiff Blues' Sam Warburton shows off his disfigured digit on Twitter while he waited for treatment © @samwarburton_

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

Is it supposed to do that?

We're all for players offering a behind-the-scenes insight into life as professional rugby player although Cardiff Blues flanker Sam Warburton may have been too generous at the weekend. The Wales captain tweeted a picture of the dislocated finger he suffered in the opening moments of his side's Heineken Cup clash with Sale - and an eye-opening x-ray of the injury. But he's made of stern stuff and is set to feature against Toulon this weekend. Hard as nails.

"He would as soon eat his own entrails as Tweet"

Richie McCaw's eagerly-awaited autobiography - The Open Side (it will be called The Real McCaw in some markets) hit the shelves recently with an initial print run of 60,000 - the largest offered to a sports book in New Zealand and significantly more than the 40,000 ordered for Graham Henry's recent The Final Word tome. McCaw's book has already hit the headlines thanks to his recollections of the All Blacks' exit at the hands of France at the 2007 Rugby World Cup and their triumph four years later. The book also appears to contain an answer for those puzzled as to why arguably the sport's biggest name has not embraced Twitter. Author Greg McGee, who put McCaw's thoughts to paper, leaves little doubt as to the All Blacks' skipper's feelings towards the micro-blogging site. "He's technologically adept and runs everything off his smart phone," he writes in his introduction, "but would as soon eat his own entrails as Tweet." Not a fan then?


It was not surprising to see rugby embrace the Gangnam Style phenomenon with a host of parodies around the world - just that it took them so long. Check out this effort from Manchester Village Spartans put together by the guys at Canterbury.

Coach in rant - at dog owners

'Matches halted to clean up dog mess' - this alarming headline from the Llanelli Star caught our eye this week. The paper reports that, "A Kidwelly rugby club coach has slammed dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets after a series of matches were interrupted by unpleasant discoveries." It continues: "The situation has become so bad that rugby games have had to be stopped to allow dog mess to be cleared from the pitch." We kid you not.

"I think the greatest sadness I felt in my life was when I had to eat a dead body"

You may have caught this emotion-packed story on the site earlier in the week. Survivors of the 1972 Andes plane crash that claimed the lives of many members of a Uruguayan rugby club have staged a match to mark the 40th anniversary of the tragedy. Sixteen of the 45 passengers on the plane survived the crash and sub-zero temperatures for 72 days before being rescued and famously stayed alive by eating the remains of their fellow passengers. The amazing story was later the subject of a best-selling book and Hollywood move entitled Alive.

A pilgrimage for all true fans

The Citizen offered a fascinating insight into a "unique symbol of rugby's power to unite" earlier this week - the subject of their postcard? The Chapel Notre Dame du Rugby. A joint labour of love between rival clubs Mont de Marsan and Dax following the death of three local players, the newspaper reports that the Chapel, "now acts as a shrine to all those seriously injured - or worse - through connection to this most brutal of sports." Make the pilgrimage yourself to see an image featuring an image of a young child offering a rugby ball to the Virgin Mary and a stained-glass window depicting her at a lineout. Elsewhere, Baby Jesus throws a rugby ball to six waiting players. Bizarre? Yes. Sincere? Absolutely.

"I am buying the Crusaders' know-how"

Did you know that rugby is the second-fastest-growing sport in football-mad Brazil? You do now. And the ConfederaĆ§Ć£o Brasileira de Rugby, or Brazilian Rugby Union is determined to capitalise and mark up the international pecking order. To this end, and bolstered by Olympics funding, the Union has teamed up with the Crusaders in the hope of laying the foundation for future success. "I am buying the Crusaders' know-how," commented president Sami Arap. And the Crusaders are happy to play their part: "They want to grow rugby across the board, but they know to do that it needs to be on the back of some success at the elite level. We are helping them with that," said the Canterbury and Crusaders chief executive, Hamish Riach.

Making an impression

Toulouse centre Gael Fickou made a significant impression with a try-scoring performance against Leicester Tigers last weekend with many tipping the 18-year-old as the 'next big thing'. But the praise was not limited to the media with veteran Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll taking to Twitter to air his views.

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