Bit of a train wreck, wasn’t it?

What’s the date of the Six Nations again?

45 thoughts on “Bit of a train wreck, wasn’t it?”

  1. Hard one for me next week – was born in Oz, grew up in Wales. Will probably be backing Wales, certainly was backing both Oz and Wales in their games vs England…

  2. Matthew L,

    When hell freezes over. I’ll rely on ABs in SFs.

    We were really poor. Atrocious handling and abysmal at breakdown. We learnt nothing from Fiji and Wales games. There is real talent in the squad but went to waste.

  3. Over the past four years every failure at the 6 Nations has been excused by describing it “in terms of the development for the World Cup”. So players werw chopped and changed, all “with an eye to the World Cup”. And i the end there was an unready and apparently inexperienced side which had lots of pre-planned moves but no ability to execute calmly and build a rhythm. Meanwhile the Welsh and the Irish have been contesting the 6 Nations every year. When they arrive at the World Cup we marvel.at their “experience”. The Australians have essentially built a team with all the necessary big fame experience in about 12 months.
    English Rugby Union is brilliant off the field but is awful on it. Rugby Union still isn’t a series team sport in England;it’s a Public School ritual.

  4. It was telling that Lancaster went into that game unsure of who what his best XV is. Any team hoping to contest a World Cup ought to know this long before. Although the latest excuse I heard was that England are “building” for the 2019 RWC!

  5. Next week we are all Welsh.

    Don’t think so.

    When I first moved to Wales, 25-odd years ago, I was happy for Wales to win unless they are playing England. Now, after experiencing the overt racism against the English, I support two teams: England, and whoever is playing Wales.

  6. Eh? You still have a game left – Uraguay. Could determine who finishes third in the group, so a big game!

  7. Go Japan. And France (obviously)

    At least we won’t have to listen to the nat anthem and then that godawful Swing Low every 5 minutes.

  8. Australia were superior in all departments; the second try was a thing of beauty. Hooper was immense. England had good moments but we lost too many turnovers and got nailed in the scrum.

    I’m not supporting any other 6 nations team; I’d actually like to see Japan win it! I suspect the All Blacks will triumph. Australia looked very strong last night. Oh well, we have the Ashes.

  9. Worst thing is we were beaten by a team with that arch-green promotor of rural Zimbabwean idiocy, David Pocock.

  10. If England had played like they did last night, the Saturday before, they’d have beaten Wales, easily. As it is, Australia will tear Wales a new one, if they play like that, next Saturday.

    The ‘Group of Death’ got put together because of Wales’ (then) poor rankings when the seeds for the Pools were put together, after a disastrous showing by Wales in ‘an Autumn international too far’.

    England played well. But the other lot played a bit better.

  11. Australian Rugby Union sits miles behind League and the AFL in support, player – base and money. Wales is a tiny little.nation sat next to England. English Rugby union has failed badly.

  12. A well-drilled team with a scintillating back row against 15 headless chickens. England were beaten before they left the changing rooms. Come on you Nippons!

  13. England were awful. As an englishman I’m tempted to support Uraguay next week, so they will have to qualify for 2019.

    I’ve watched better matches at the tier 2 level. Japan have been electric, have lost fewer scrum penalties or turnovers against 3 heavy duty sides than England lost in each one of theirs.

    Argentina now have some backs. A good bet for the final?

  14. Can’t help feeling we’ve been bullshat, as one or two before have noted. Victoria Cross emblems on shirts, FFS.

  15. Fen Tiger – normally I quite like cod-patriotic bullshit, but the VC motif took it too far. It would have been in better taste to have the team kitted out in Pearly King costumes and Princess Di masks.

    I’m not a fan of the way the British Legion poppy has become mandatory in football either.

  16. Amazed how the juniors haven’t copped it.

    Andy Farrell: crap defence coach. Most imports from League are also crap at Union. Anyone remember Henry Paul, Andy Farrell, Sam Burgess?

    But the prize for worst coach must surely go to Graham Rowntree. In post for a generation and now the following teams have a better scrum:
    NZ
    Argentina
    France
    Italy
    Aus (obvs)
    Japan
    Tonga
    SA
    Georgia
    Tonga
    Ireland

    So we’re on a par with Wales, Scotland Romania and Namibia, FFS

  17. Bloke not in Cymru

    Wrong choice of captain, poor decision making (including indiscipline), lack of flexibility in game plan, not playing to the ref (also part of the discipline problem).
    Should have a big enough pool of players to select a squad that can be adapted to exploit weakness in opponents style
    And compared to the Welsh game a lack of passion and will

  18. Bloke not in Cymru

    Thought the difference in ref/TMO relationship between England game and Scotland game was interesting. The ref in England game seemed to want the TMO to make a decision for him. In the Scotland game the TMO intervened over a tackle that seemed to top a player and the ref was quite clear that he was happy to rely on his instinct

  19. Ted S
    You’re too modest. US scored the try of the tournament last time round against the yarpies.

    US rugby is improving. Meanwhile England will probably try to import a tight end with an English slave owning granny.

  20. That English defeat is about a poor scrum and a 3/4 line without pace or creativity, served by a 10 without pace or creativity. To fix that in second half, they put the better centre on the wing, put Farrell in the centre and hope for a miracle. It strikes me as madness.

  21. Hooper was lucky to not get a yellow card after flying in with the shoulder on Brown at the ruck. Had the referee been from the Southern Hemisphere, he would have been. Also, had a Kiwi or Jaapie done that to an Australian player they’d be moaning for the rest of the year.

  22. Agreed, Tim, Hooper trod a very narrow line between legit tackling and illegal shoulder – charging. He was lucky that the ref only verballed him a few times. In the old days, an English lock might have accidentally raked his face with his boots, as the All Blacks were notorious for doing.

  23. Hooper was lucky to not get a yellow card after flying in with the shoulder on Brown at the ruck. Had the referee been from the Southern Hemisphere, he would have been.

    To be fair to the ref, he wasn’t going to send Farrell off either. It was the (Jaapie I believe) TMO that pushed him into doing that.

  24. Lancaster must go, for his selection of Burgess, for his selection of Robshaw as captain, for his non selection of Armitage, and for the fact that he had to be pushed into playing Joseph and Ford (originally) by injury.

    They all show that he’s a cautious, conservative selector and coach who thinks in his bones that we can still win Test matches by playing like Dean Richards and Steve Ojomoh.

    Actually, to be fair, Deano was a great player, but still.

    You cannot, cannot, cannot out muscle people in the professional era – not enough to win RWCs.

    A backline vs Wales of Youngs Ford May Eastmond Slade Watson Brown would have been available if the right squad had been selected, and would have run round Wales.

    Tougher against Aus, but by then it wouldn’t have mattered.

    And if the above (with rotations in and out of Cipriani, Joseph, Abendanon, Devoto, Daly, Wade and Tuilagi) had been playing for the last two years – bye bye Farrell, Barritt – we’d have run the Aussies close too. We have the fucking talent, we just need to play them.

    LET THE BOYS FUCKING PLAY!

    But they need ball – we’ve gone backwards in the scrum, lineout, breakdown and maul so Rowntree (‘the world’s best forwards coach’) needs to go, too.

  25. Cipriani? The biggest problem with Cipriani is that he just isn’t as good as he thinks he is. Burgess certainly wasn’t the cautious, conservative selection either. And while there are better choices at centre, he didn’t embarrass himself or the team.

    And I support the selection policy of only picking England-based players too. The players moving abroad know what it means; if they don’t want to play for England then that should be that. The practical reasons, eg player release, can be worked around, but didn’t Northampton get fined for allowing George North to play for Wales outside the autumn international window?

    I personally think sacking the head coach would be a retrograde step. All that would happen would be the next bloke comes in with a new broom, takes 2 or 3 years to put his mark on the team ethic and selection, and in Japan in 4 years the results will be the same just with a different set of fresh faces. That doesn’t mean that there should be no changes at all, but I think Brian Moore has it about right in today’s torygraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/england/11911287/Let-us-all-maintain-a-sense-of-calm-and-avoid-knee-jerk-demands-for-change-without-any-thought-of-the-effects.html

  26. You’re right about the backline though. I would love to watch England play with Youngs (or Care), Ford, May, Eastmond, Slade, Watson, Brown – provided the pack can supply enough front-foot ball.

  27. No-one is as good as Cipriani thinks he is, but he’s pretty bloody good (and confidence is not a bad thing in a 10). But the point is that no-one in English rugby can currently approximate George Ford’s flat game as well as Danny. So if you want to play a running game (we don’t have the big defensive bangers designed to play Farrell’s game anyway) he has to come on if Ford goes off or can’t play. Devoto coming up on the rails.

    I personally find it hard to support a selection policy which mirrored Australia’s until Australia ripped it up, with the result that we were destroyed in large part by a player for whom that policy was ripped up (Giteau). This is the last RWC we will have in England for thirty years. That’s two generations of young players who won’t be inspired by a decent England performance. If those are not exceptional circumstances I don’t know what are!

    Burgess’s selection was both wildly adventurous and cynically defensive – it was adventurous in the sense that it would be even more adventurous to play my mum in the centres, and defensive in the sense that he is a big lump whom they thought would stop Roberts.

    They should have focused on running round Roberts! Ford and a creative 12 could have made hay, with little grubber kicks to turn the big taffy bastard, or just to beat him on the outside.

    Burgess’ selection was just insane, in the sense that he has hardly played any RU and his own club has looked at him and 12 and decided he’s a 6.

    Tim Horan – the best inside centre of our era – thought it was mad, and that’s good enough for me (if my own eyes weren’t enough anyway).

    I can’t agree re Lancaster. He’s in the ultimate results game, it’s plain to see that he failed dismally.

    Also not true IMO that the new guy would have to come in and start again. Many of that team would stay in place – just better coached and with some additions.

    My team to play Aus (injuries permitting) would have been:

    1 Marler
    2 Hartley
    3 Cole
    4 Launchbury
    5 Attwood
    6 Ewers
    7 Armitage
    8 Easter (c)
    9 Youngs
    10 Ford
    11 May
    12 Slade (vc)
    13 Joseph
    14 Watson
    15 Brown

    Bench
    Vunipola
    Youngs
    Wilson
    Itoje (also covers back row)
    Vunipola
    Care
    Cipriani (also covers 15)
    Daly (also covers wings)

    Easter should have been our skipper for the last four years – calm head, always in the right place, sympathetic hands. Not the most dynamic but hardly ever loses the ball in contact and takes some bringing down. Great at stopping the opposition maul. has the experience that we lacked.
    Ewers is just outstanding and his non selection was weird.
    Armitage – twice European player of the year, in a crucial position where we are weak?
    Slade – we also need to think ahead and Slade is my Carling style young skipper for the future.
    Attwood provides more grunt than Lawes and with Hartley would not have disintegrated vs the Wobblies.
    Itoje has a big future and already looks the part but I’d accept Lawes in for him.
    Daly is electric and effectively like-for-likes Joseph.

  28. ^I think the problem is, we didn’t set a gameplan and stick to it.

    We have the players to compete with anyone, ABs included, in a running game (not always been the case, but it definitely is now) and yes, you risk losing if you play like that.

    But you cannot beat the top teams any other way now (IMO).

    We lost anyway, and we were dull and idea-free. Criminal, IMO.

  29. Even in exceptional circumstances, I wouldn’t pick either Armitage. For the simple reason that they are both yellow-card liabilities. Hartley is the best hooker in the squad, but he’d be a last resort on my team sheet too, for the same reason.

    When neither the Welsh or the Australian kicker missed a shot at goal, not giving away stupid penalties is a priority.

    Can’t argue much about the rest of your team choices though.

  30. To be fair to the ref, he wasn’t going to send Farrell off either. It was the (Jaapie I believe) TMO that pushed him into doing that.

    I couldn’t for the life of me see what Farrell had done wrong. Early tackle? By about 1ms, maybe.

  31. And I support the selection policy of only picking England-based players too.

    I bet the Aussies are glad they brought Giteau back. And the Jaapies have Bryan Habana, too. England can’t afford to protect their clubs at the expense of getting out of the group at a RWC.

  32. @BiW Is Steffon any dirtier than the average decent openside? Robshaw never gets pinged because he always arrives at the breakdown about half an hour after the ball has been moved away and the ref is on the other side of the field.

    (I agree re his brother, who’s a yob.)

    I understand the reason for the no overseas internationals policy, like Tim N I just don’t agree with it. If we had a decent England XV playing in France that frees up places for more English players in England – seems to me it’s more of a problem for the French.

    I don’t follow (assocn) football but it’s not regarded as a good thing for England that the Premiership is full of foreigners is it? But it is good for Wales that Gareth Bale is playing in Spain.

    I get that there’s a problem with releases but say Joseph gets an approach from Toulon. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of the RFU (oh, hang on) to get Joseph to do a deal with Toulon whereby he is released in line with England’s requirements?

    Say he’s not available for 10% of Toulon’s games – couldn’t the RFU pay 10% of his salary? If Toulon really want him, they’ll take that – they have a big squad, he wouldn’t play every game anyway.

  33. Tim N – “I couldn’t for the life of me see what Farrell had done wrong. Early tackle? By about 1ms, maybe.”

    It’s even worse than that. If he doesn’t hit Giteau so hard, Giteau is clearly obstructing him from the man with the ball (Hooper or Pocock, can’t remember) who is directly (<1m) behind him. Should be a penalty to England but he leads with the shoulder. It was the right call, but it was the yellow that really pissed me off.

    The thing that really sticks is Hooper's shoulder on Brown's head was significantly worse, and wasn't punished the same way (he's now been cited after the fact, of course). We were just coming back into the game and had a sniff and that one decision was the death knell from which we were screwed.

    The other main area we were screwed – the scrums – was down to poor refereeing. The first offence every time the scrum went down was not Marler falling over but the entire Aussie 8 walking 3 paces to the left. Not driving straight – an international ref should spot that – or the touch judge should. I'm even more shocked that the English team/management didn't and didn't have a word in the Ref's ear to point it out.

    Credit to Australia – it was a cunning tactic and worked well, but on another day it would have been them pinged off the park and not us and it would have made a big difference.

    But the whole problem was caused by not beating the Welsh, which we could, and indeed should, have done.

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