With the self-proclaimed guru of the 'F' back on the substitute’s bench for a couple of weeks, attention turns towards a weekend of sport dominated by the oval-shaped ball, both rugby and American football. Tonight is Super Bowl LI in Houston, and yesterday saw the start of the 2017 Six Nations, with victories for both England and Scotland. Today sees Wales travel to Rome to take on an Italian team who have the dubious honour of having won the wooden spoon eleven times since their inclusion back in 2000. No wonder then that the prospect of promotion and relegation to this tournament has been raised yet again, with Georgia, Romania, Russia and Spain all building a case for a shot at the big time. Georgia are currently ahead of Italy in the current World Rugby rankings after all! Tapping into new markets would certainly infuse new lifeblood into this championship whose origins date back to 1871, especially at a time when American football is trying really hard to increase its presence in Europe. That said, it would take something pretty exceptional from Tbilisi, Bucharest, Moscow and Madrid to beat the biennial weekend excursion to Rome!

The National House Building Council have just announced that the number of new homes completed during 2016 was 141,175, marginally up on 2015’s total, but still well below the 220,000 required by the UK each year. However this Tuesday could well prove to be a watershed moment, with the Government finally publishing their much anticipated Housing White Paper. The pre-released details suggest that we may be set to see the biggest housing shake-up in 50 years. Whether it be the proposed lifting of restrictions on the development of green belt land, or the lifting of height restrictions for home extensions, or even penalising developers for land banking, it sounds like the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government has decided it's time for action. It also sounds like Sajid Javid might want to give his Twitter account a break for a while.
 
How dangerous does a TV programme have to be for it not to be recommissioned? Severe concussions, broken bones and an Olympic gymnast needing a psychologist to help her deal with the trauma of her injuries have all clearly not been deemed serious enough to prevent the fourth series of The Jump on Channel 4. The programme returns to our screens tonight, somehow having convinced another batch of contestants to risk life and limb on the slopes of Austria. Like Strictly Come Dancing, The Jump requires constant training and concentration. However, unlike Strictly, nobody really watches it. Maybe for minor celebrities like Lydia from TOWIE, Spencer from Made in Chelsea or The Duchess of Cornwall's niece, the TV exposure will be welcomed. However for the still practicing athletes such as double Olympic taekwondo gold medalist, Jade Jones, there’s a pretty decent chance that she’ll end her career by accidentally impaling herself on a ski on a little-watched Channel 4 TV programme. Surely there are better ways to announce your retirement than that?

 

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