6 Nations Championship – The Cat Malojin Preview

The 6 Nations Championship starts this weekend, so by way of a preview, in this bumper edition, Cat Malojin have asked a range of people, from A-List Celebrities to thoroughbred Italians, their thoughts, predictions and hopes for the upcoming competition. It’s the only rugby preview you’ll ever need.

THE RUGBY PERSPECTIVE: Munster Haka

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The Munster Haka is a Munster rugby fan club, and also just a great sports page for fans of rugby in general. The can be found on Facebook here, on Twitter here and on Youtube right here.

CM: How do you think the various countries will approach this 6 Nations given that the World Cup is so close? Whether they’re admitting it or not at least 4 of the countries have serious prospects of making a big impact at the World Cup – Do you think they’ll have one eye on it?

I think they should take it one task at a time. The Six Nations Championship is an important competition for everyone and you can be certain there will be no dip in physicality or quality.

CM: My uncle is constantly tutting his head and saying that men aren’t nearly as strong or fit nowadays as they were when he was young, vot ever the hell is wrong with them. With these underlying concerns and given the injury situation do you think that Ireland will be able to mount any sort of serious challenge?

Ireland won three from three in the Autumn with a damaged squad and the injury list isn’t looking as bad as we first feared. I would be quietly confident of a title retention with Joe Schmidt at the helm. Cian Healy and Sean O’Brien are looking set to give us the extra boost when we need it in the latter stages of the tournament and hopefully that will set us up for a excellent World Cup,

CM:  I see Serge Blanco has being left out of the French squad. Even though he’s 56 now, and has had heart trouble, surely his record of 38 tries in 93 caps speaks for itself? What do you think the thinking behind that decision is?

Saint-Andre has kept us guessing for quite a while now. He is obviously trying to send out a signal of intend as if to say they are moving on as a rugby team. It’s a bit of a strange one but I’m not surprised.

CM: Instead of training for their matches, why don’t Italy just go on holidays to the Bahamas and catch some rays? Maybe they’ll lose, but they’ll probably lose anyways. Good thinking right?

Have to agree there but maybe they’d prefer Milan as a cheaper option.

CM: Name a player you think can make a big break through this year for their country

George Ford, Finn Russell or Teddy Thomas

CM: England vs Scotland! Do you think there will be a bit of bite in this one as its the first game between the two nations since the big decision about breaking up?

Ah I doubt it. England should win comfortably anyhow.

CM: Hmm, we’re not so sure about that – There’s a lot of bad blood there since Calvin Harris and Rita Ora decided to break up. Finally,  what do you think the final standings will be?

1 – Ireland, 2- England, 3- France, 4- Wales, 5- Scotland, 6- Italy

THE FRENCH PERSPECTIVE: ELSA SERRA

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Elsa Serra is from France. France is a large European country to the left of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Elsa can be found on twitter here.

CM: If you could describe all the 6 Nation countries in one word, what would it be?

Proud

CM: France! Everyone is fascinated by it. Whats it like to live there? And the question everyone wants to know – Why did you get rid of the musketeers?

Living in France is always little aggravating, never fully satisfying. The musketeers were not living up to our womanizing standards, a little too self-interested in a very early interpretation of the metro/homosexual man.

CM: That’s the most French answer I’ve ever heard, and I love it. I understand that there are shops in France there that sell only bread and cakes! Is this true? That concept would never work in Ireland or the UK!

Of course it is! It’s ze sacred Boulangerie. If you’re really French, you must always eat the top “quignon” off the baguette while still in the Boulangerie! Where do you get your bread?

CM: It’s kind of just shovelled into plastic bags and thrown at us by the rich. Sebastian Chabal is a famous French rugby player of course. But do you think he should actually be called Sebastian Cheval? Because he looks a bit like an old, dirty horse?

So that’s an interesting coïncidence, because here in France Chabal is associated to a meat brand “Charal” for a very iconic advertisement he once ran. This meat company apparently has been caught disguising using horse meat for beef in their lasagna. We’re on to something.

CM: We certainly are, we certainly are. Now that you’ve got meat on my mind, can you tell me what’s the difference between a charcuterie and a boucherie?!

A boucherie will typically also be a charcuterie, but a charcuterie-only shop will never be a boucherie. A boucherie is a place where you get your raw meat – anything from chicken, veal tongue, to rumpsteak – and they usually also have cured ham and sausages lying around, (in the charcuterie), which you can also buy.

A charcuterie-only would not have the raw meet and would specialize in all sorts of delicious ham from Auvergne, Pays-Basque, and saucissons of all sorts.

CM: Fascinating, but not really relevant to the 6 Nations. Please don’t get distracted like that again. Tell me though, do French speaking people who also speak English, like yourself, sometimes get confused and go to the bookshop (librairie) instead of the library (bibliotheque)? It’s absolutely bananas the confusion that has caused me down the years! LOL

I certainly get confused with the words, yes. When I want to buy a book I never step into the public library, but I do sometimes go to the bookshop just to read a bit which I guess is like going to the library.

CM: That seems more like abuse of the bookshop rather than confusion. France and Italy are of course hated rivals ever since the breakaway Avignon papacy of the 14th century. Will there be bad blood on the rugby field in the match between these two countries as a result of this?

I doubt it, it’s all settled now, the Italians have their papal enclave and we got to keep the beautiful city, and bridge of Avignon, where we dance “tous en rond”.

CM: Napoleon: Was he more of a scoundrel or a scallywag?

I’m not sure what a scallywag is, it sounds like a back-alley critter up to no good. I think Napoleon was essentially a short man with too big a hat on.

CM: I like his hat. Who will win the 6 Nations? Who will come last?

France will win, bien sur, and I’m thinking Italy might come in last.

THE Celebrity Superstar PERSPECTIVE: Francie BOYLAN

Francie Boylan Jr, on the right above, is an award winning radio-host on Ocean FM, who also used to present the Den, where he starred in the classic YouTube Clip; Whats Snots. Francie often claims to be the first person in North Leitrim to own a hip hop CD, and amongst his happiest memories is the time he cycled into his father. Francie can be found on twitter here.

And here’s What’s Snots, for anyone who is unlucky enough never to have seen it.

CM: Bit of controversy this year Francie – As I’m sure you’ve heard they’re gradually making the balls more egg shaped for advertising purposes. From your experience as an award winning radio chat-show host how do you think this will affect the championship – it at all?

What if some big company sponsored someone’s face to be printed on the ball? A face that all the players absolutely hated – I can only imagine the % of scored conversions would increase dramatically. People could nominate who they would love to see getting ‘kicked’. Marketing potential is huge!

CM: Indeed! I imagine a ball with Twink’s face on it would do rather well. There are rumors spreading that Irelands prop, Rory Best, isn’t Irish at all, but is in fact a Polish labourer who was just given a jersey and turned out to be good. Certainly Ulsters ground Ravenhill has undergone massive reconstruction since he mysteriously appeared on the scene – surely not a coincidence. What do you think about this?

I’d tend to agree with this because work started on Kingspan/Ravenhill in late 2012 and was completed in April 2014. Had it been an Irish labourer we know the work would have taken at the very least an additional 2 years. Sure, they’d have to take an ‘hour or so’ for lunch and finish at 3 on a Friday for a locka pints.

CM: Everyone agrees Irelands Call is an awful song, but I have a theory that if say Van Morrison wrote it instead of Phil Coulter hipsters would pretend to like it more than they actually do….What do you think?

Well, as we all know Van Morrison is a barrel of laughs and so are hipsters, so I reckon had he written it instead they would be loving it now. P.S. Who know who doesn’t like Hipsters? Gillette. Sales of Mach 3 blades have fallen by 63% since 2010.

CM: Is that actually true? Either way, during an all too often lag in conversation with my friend Declan, on the beer, last weekend, I actually quoted this statistic. Whilst we’re on the topic of follicle foibles – What do you attribute the high rate of baldness in the front-rowers to?

Seeing the results of Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant and them going ‘I think I’d prefer to be fucken bald’

CM: Interesting…My theory is that it’s caused by all the friction when they’re bumping uglies in the scrummage and the hair is worn away, in a similiar manner to a limestone rock face. 

You’re greatest claim to fame is of course that you’re the godfather of hip hop in North Leitrim, claiming to be the first man in the region to buy a rap single – Ms Jackson by Outkast – in 2001. However, I recently remembered that I bought Wild Wild West by Will Smith in 1999. How do you respond to this potentially devastating revelation?

How do I respond? Here’s all you need to know – In October 2011, NME placed Ms Jackson at number 81 on its list of “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years”.  The same year The Leitrim Observer placed Wild Wild West by Will Smith at Number 90 on its list of “150 Best Tracks of the past 15 Years played  by DJ Shorty in the Central Hotel, Manorhamilton”. Therefore Ms Jackson Wins.

CM: To be frank, I don’t believe for a second that that second list exists but I take your point about it being a better song. Give us your final standings for this years championship.

I reckon Kiely’s in Donnybrook and Gurns Bar in Manorhamilton will sell 2,000 more pints of Heineken than last year’s championship. I reckon George Hooks gout will finally, and eventually clear up. I also think names like Urlár and Sneachta will continue to be popular among the rugby set. And, oh yeah – Ireland will win the Grand Slam!

The Philosopher’s PERSPECTIVE – Arthur FROMENTIN

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Arthur Fromentin is a philosopher, who also works as France’s goodwill ambassador to England. I asked him if he would like to plug anything but he declined in the interests of material un-necessity.

CM: What is rugby?

Rugby: She is the greatest sport ever invented by humanity  – that’s why I like to  think that it couldn’t have been invented in England!

CM: Why is rugby?

Because we men, we fight, we punch, we win, we drink, we lose, we drink.

CM: Where is rugby?

Anywhere there’s grass, and the human spirit there is rugby. Also you can play it on the street too, if you’re a badass.

CM: When is rugby?

Rugby is always at the same time as drinking time : 5pm. And in the words of Jimmy Buffett: It’s always 5pm somewhere.

CM: How is rugby ?

Hurtful, fun and sadomasochistic I guess.

CM: What is France greatest export?

Whenever we send the English back to their island, defeated!

CM: I would have said Charolais cattle, but yeah, thats a good answer also. What is France’s worst import?

Any wine that isn’t French… Hmmm, maybe terrorists too. Actually no, definitely the wine.

CM: What will the final standing be in this years championship?

1- France, 2- Ireland, 3- Wales, 4- Scotland, 5- Italy, 6- England

CM: Plus ça change

THE FEMALE PERSPECTIVE: CAROLINE BYRNE

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Caroline Byrne is a food writer, Dublin editor for John & Sally McKenna’s Guides, wine writer with The Irish Garden Magazine, and creator of The Fat Peach food truck. She is a woman.

Caroline is on twitter here and her blog is here

CM: Women love rugby players. Why do you think there is not the same level of adoration for, say, darts players? They seem like they’d be more up for a night out, and have nice shiny shirts.

Have you seen darts players?

CM: I know you’re not a nutritionist but what would you recommend as a healthy breakfast for the players in match mornings?

Scrambled eggs (at least three), lots of butter and black pepper, good quality pork sausage and bacon (such as Ed Hick’s) good quality toast (such as Barron’s white bloomer), more butter, fried portobello mushroom (in butter, with a bit of fresh thyme and more black pepper) grilled tomato (optional, some people don’t like the mess they make next to their toast) and their choice of breakfast condiments (ketchup, brown sauce, pickle…mayonnaise not acceptable…seriously, what’s wrong with you). Really good coffee (such as Ariosa) and fresh grapefruit juice. Once they’ve made me my brekkie than they can have whatever they like themselves

CM: Sorry I asked. Surely a big fry-up would be the way to go, when there’s a big job on?

Fry-ups can be greasy, I prefer my meats grilled and my eggs poached or scrambled. I know this is more work but they could get up earlier to make breakfast.

CM: What improvements do you think could be made to rugby to make it more entertaining for the people in the crowd? I’d like if there were more cheerleaders, and if the players would high 5 more after doing something wicked cool.

That’s the lamest thing I’ve ever heard.

CM: No its not, it’s really cool – any cool dude will tell ya. As a food writer presumably you know all the best eateries near the Aviva. What do you recommend, keeping in mind that on match days though, most people will have a few pints in them, and will probably prefer a Taco Chips or similiar.

I don’t know what Taco Chips are but the Aviva happens to be situated close to two of the best things in Dublin: The Chop House for all your steak/meat related needs, Junior’s for brunch (or Paulie’s Pizza which also belongs to them).

CM:  Which opposition team do you dislike the most, and why?

England. British commentators are insufferable win, lose or draw. Although I absolutely HATE being beaten by the French at anything.

CM: And don’t get me started on the Welsh! And the Scotch people, ugh – they’re the worst! But not as bad as those Italians! What’s your favourite animal?

I am obsessed with sloths – I look at pictures and/or videos of them every day. This baby sloth has blonde BOD hair!
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THE ITALIAN PERSPECTIVE – EMILIEN COUStillas

Emilien Coustillas didn’t reply in time with a photo, but is 100% Italian, so probably looks a bit like the above.

CM: Listen Emilien, I have a number of French people now, would it be OK for you to pretend to be Italian, in the interests of diversity?

Ahaha, No Problem!

CM: Great, Thanks. So Emilien, What’s the best thing about being Italian?

Definitely our Italian girls

CM: How do you rate Italy’s chances of winning any matches in this years championship?

I would give us a good 60% chance to beat France or Scotland.

CM: What is the handiest route from the airport in Rome to the rugby stadium?

West ring, then straight south to Flaminio!

CM: Daft Punk and Giorgio Moroder combined to great effect on Random Access Memories recently, putting the electro music from the British Isles in the shade. Can Louis Picamoles and Sergio Parisse do something similar in a rugby context?

The guy who manages to make Picamoles and Parisse play together would be certain to win all of his matches. Please Toulouse, hire Sergio.

CM: Bit of an odd wish from an Italian – Surely you mean you wish Treviso sign him? Anyways, If you had to describe the Irish in only 14 words, what would they be?

A tall ginger guy, smiling under the rain with a pint of dark beer

CM: You Italians famously love your mothers and your pizza pies. Why is this?

Our Italian pizzas are one of the best thing ever invented by mankind. And Pizzas are made by the mamas. And they buy us underwears and iron our clothes, too.

CM: What do you think will be the final table standings?

I think Ireland can win, followed by England, then Wales, France, Italy. And the wooden spoon for Scotland as always. It’s sad because all we want to see is England losing every match the play.

Italy often win the Wooden Spoon for coming last, which is seen as a bad thing. But isn’t a wooden spoon more practical than a trophy? This large collection of wooden spoons could be a reason why us Italians are so good at cooking.

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