How times have changed for Moseley prop Rupert Harden. The dual-registered tighthead is hoping to follow in the footsteps of former school-mate Alex Grove, who has made massive strides.

Grove’s success has brought pleasure to many people in the game, not least Harden who was in the same house as the Scotland centre at Rugby School.

Indeed Harden, who is two years older than Grove, had something of a paternal relationship with his younger charge: “I am really pleased for him, he is a really nice guy,” Harden said.

“You get to know guys in your house pretty well, I was probably in charge of putting him to bed at one stage.”


Grove’s Worcester team-mate Matt Mullan endured a humiliating experience during his England debut against Italy last Sunday.

Custom dictates that anyone winning their first cap has to sing a solo in front of the whole squad before the post-match function starts.

And as he stood at the front of the coach on his way to the dinner, Mullan found himself booed off after bursting into a considerably less than satisfactory rendition of Build Me Up Buttercup.

It seems a Matt Stevens type light-entertainment slot is not Mullan’s for the taking so let’s hope the youngster has laid The Foundations for a sterling Test career.


Another sufferer of ignominy last weekend was referee Dave Pearson who officiated in the Saracens-Worcester match at Wembley.

Things got off to a bad start for the Geordie when he met the sides’ captains at the side of the pitch for the pre-match toss.

Up it went, Pat Sanderson called on its way down only for the coin to land on its side, roll 10m away and down a drainage grate.

Much merriment was had as Mr Pearson tried to source a replacement.


But bad experience of the weekend must go to the Birmingham & Solihull boys who had a nightmare getting to and in Ayr.

As if a 320 mile bus journey wasn’t testing enough, they suffered a flat tyre on the M6 that took two hours to repair, travel sickness and had their driver ‘timed out’ before reaching Millbrae.

Things got even worse when the match kicked off and they were 23-0 down inside half an hour.