There have been many predictions flying around about what’s going to happen this season, but what about things we definitely won’t see? Here’s a selection of things unlikely to take place over the new season.
*WARNING: this article may not be entirely serious*
1. The scrum causes no controversy whatsoever
Against all odds, the new scrum laws cause no consternation at all. Everyone is happy, from hookers, to pundits, to viewers – even Richard Cockerill is appeased (can you imagine?). We see a fair contest, with no cheating and no swathes of match time wasted or endless collapsed scrums. Referees are lauded for their interpretation of the new laws, and, most shockingly of all, scrum-halves everywhere discover previously-unknown abilities to roll the ball two feet in a straight line. With nothing left to moan about, Brian Moore quits rugby and becomes a monk.
Probable reality: Confusion reigns for the first couple of months, before everyone settles down and accepts the new laws. Brian Moore is still unhappy.
2. Gavin Henson storms back into Wales squad
Henson gets his head down at new club Bath, shoots ahead of Heathcote and Ford in the fly-half pecking order and, after an international recall, orchestrates Wales to another Grand Slam. There are no off-field issues to talk about.
Probably reality: Henson gets frustrated by playing for Bath United in front of 100 fans on rainy Friday nights and leaves the club by mutual consent before Christmas.
3. Home nation fans embrace each other in a fit of post-Lions spirit
After the euphoria of Australia all pettiness and bragging is forgotten, as English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish fans band together, complimenting each other on the brilliance of their respective players. Whoever wins the Six Nations is lauded by everyone, and it definitely won’t have had anything to with the referee.
Probable reality: Either England or Wales scalp one of the big Southern Hemisphere nations in the Autumn, proclaim to be the best in the hemisphere, before losing to the other team in the Six Nations, seeing the roles reversed.
4. The Heineken Cup issue is resolved
Representatives from Premier Rugby, LNR, ERC, FFR and the Celtic nations can bear to spend more than five minutes in the same room together without spontaneously combusting with rage. A decision is made that suits all parties. The rugby is focussed on, rather than the money.
Probable reality: Everyone continues to play hardball, and it takes another two seasons without a European competition for everyone to realise just how special a tournament the Heineken Cup is before it is reformed.
5. Richard Cockerill does not berate a single official all season long
After becoming a Buddhist, Cockerill finds his zen and realises that there’s more to life than shouting at referees. Officials everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief. With nothing left to do, Ed Morrison retires.
Probable reality: In his first game back, Cockers literally bites the head off a fourth official and spends the rest of the season in the stands silently stewing.
What do you think definitely won’t happen this season?
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images