Spence’s timing spot on

Our hero and inspiration Gerry Thornley was in fine form on Newsnight’s Off The Ball on Wednesday night. Like so many of us, it seems he is a big fan of Ulster’s exciting new centre Nevin Spence. Indeed, Spence has had a breakthrough season this year, and his performances have seen him pencilled onto our World Cup Bolter list.

But what Gerry was most impressed with was Spence’s timing. No, not in running onto the ball, but of his birth. ‘He’s timed his career perfectly’, Gerry told us.

So, we here at Whiff of Cordite would like to give a shout-out to Mr and Mrs Spence for having the canny foresight to give birth to the next great Irish centre just as Drico and Dorce’s careers are coming to an end. Kudos!

Franno back in the good books

Sellotanta Sports’ The Breakdown is firmly establishing itself as the best rugby analysis on TV, a welcome shelter from the Cork Constitution Media Consortium on RTE and the smug, Premiership-worshipping Rugby Club (‘Ooooohh, Matt Banahan must be given a chance at 12 for England’) on Sky .

Matty ‘The Accent’ Williams and Neil ‘Franno’ Francis make a good double team, with Matty’s wired intensity nicely counterbalanced by Franno’s laconic style, and their analysis is considered and bluster-free. Franno and Whiff of Cordite haven’t always been the best of friends – he was about three years behind us in realising Tommy Bowe wasn’t completely useless – but his knack with the English language is hard to deny. Last night, his observation that Blind Dave Pearson ‘couldn’t find a sequin in Elton John’s house’, had us wanting to simply stand up and applaud.

However, the less said about the final section where Matty got strapped up to some wires to help him kick last minute penalties like Ruan Pienaar – or something – the better.