Always - especially with you
I sense Ireland struggling a bit more as the competition progresses - Italy put up a good show against them and Scotland not only tested them severely in the first half, but inflicted what looked like concerning injuries against key players. Hoping they are able to recover for the England match.
France on the other hand just seem to be getting stronger and stronger after the Ireland test - not sure how much of that is down to the French or the opposition facing them, but France sure do look on the ascendency.
PS Ireland for the Grand Slam please!!
So Farrell is in, Smith dropped. Tuilagi back (unless he gets injured pulling on his shorts in the warm up). Ribbans for the injured Chessum.
Borthwick really needs to make up his mind. England’s loss to France was nothing to do with Smith, it was largely a pack unable to compete with the same power, pace and skill of the opposition. We have seen Farrell/Tuilagi/Slade before. We know what they can and cannot do and they aren’t the future.
Is he going to invest in young talent or not? At least Arundell gets a start. I’d have liked to see Mitchell at 9 from the beginning trying to get at Gibson-Park and also actually be a threat with ball in hand.
Last competitive game pre-RWC and it is a one off. Suspect that in 6 months time we of the persuasion will have totally forgotten it. This is the team he has greatest confidence in now for a game on Saturday. Next year’s side will be far more in his image than EJ’s. A 4 year journey to Sydney 2027 starts now.
Last competitive game, and they will surely lose and learn nothing if they don’t roll the dice?
Why not be prepared to lose but give it a go with an eye on the future. Maybe they will prove me wrong but RWC
looks irrelevant to England at present, why not start building a new team and approach?
I want Rugby Bazball. Players with ability picked to play without fear, trusted to deliver and allowed to mess up on the way. Not just damage limitation.
To my eyes, England remain marginally better of without the ball, playing territory and pressure. When I say ‘marginally’, their open field defence is poor/slow, and this is only a better way to play, as they have so little threat at 9 and beyond. When they do spread the ball, the backs look congested and confused, lacking co-ordination when under pressure. And there’s no pace – Manu might as well wear 6 nowadays, as his pace has gone!
I am not entirely serious about the Bazball comment; relentless attack is not likely to work in Rugby, but what I do think can be learned from the England cricket team is the value of strong leadership from organising body via coach to captain and everyone signed up to the same approach of positivity and consistency in selection and approach.
Jonny Wilkinson still looks fit. Maybe Borthwick will pick him next.
Did you mis-address your request for Baz-ball rugby to somewhere in Paris? I don’t think I could tackle either of Penaud or Dupont in an old red 'phone box.
I quite enjoyed France Vs Wales today.
Lots of exciting running and far less kicking than usual.
Wales undoubtedly benefitted from having nothing to lose after beating Italy last week.
England damage their cause once again with some silly pens (the usual suspects) – but then the ref decides that someone dipping down isn’t any mitigation, when the ball was ‘dead’ to the players as it had clearly been knocked-on. By the test applied, anyone near the goal line dipping down is exposed. Pathetic IMHO.
That red card was crazy and effectively killed the match.
Personally, from a Welsh viewpoint, a penalty would have been harsh. Must see it again in the cold light of day.
The red card seems to be what the rules required. It looked unlucky, but the Irish player failed an HIA so he may not agree.
Whatever, England have been combative and committed and thoroughly annoying to Ireland but the gap in quality remains wide.
Ireland fully deserving. Some English respect earned but a long way to go to being contenders
First of all - huge congratulations to Ireland on getting the 6N and that they and France will be a huge threat to SH dominance at RWC.
When I saw that Jaco Peyper and Marius Jonker were ref and TMO I sent a txt to my brother hoping we were not going to have a game riven by controversy.
Sadly the combination of the most lethal law arbiters plus the extreme lack of any common sense in World Rugby combined to make this an inevitability. I accept the need to develop safe tackling technique but the lack of any common sense when assessing incidents where there is almost no way to avoid a contact is killing key games. And before anyone says English sour grapes, perhaps they need to think how they felt when their team has a similar incident. Bearing in mind the forward pass meant Irish player 2m closer to Steward and he has milliseconds to adjust - give me a break.
Clearly we did not have much to gain today other than pride. What are the odds we get something similar in RWC final or semi? Maybe then World Rugby can try and bring common sense back but also continue to work on tackle technique. Otherwise every result will be like today with an * against it.
I think Steward went in to training mode, trying to make his side-on profile smaller, so the on-coming player could skirt by and avoid contact (as the ball was ‘dead’). He then realised he wasn’t, so had no choice but to brace. Had he tackled the oncoming dipping-head low player, being a big unit, he could have done even more damage in a ‘dead ball’ scenario – something no player of conscience wants to do i.e. really hurt another. Sadly, Peyper has form with these kind of events. One dimensional thinking.
As you say, a total absence of common sense and context.
Yep with that combination of officials always looking to make their ,
mark rather than ref with empathy. Not sure what steward could do . Go lower and hit him with his shoulder? Yellow at worst imv
England were clearly the better team for the first 20 minutes or so but fell apart after that. In the current climate the red card while harsh was justified.
Congratulations Ireland great team who just seem to rise at the right time.
Great celebrations here after an historic win, what a year it’s been.
Ireland’s weakest performance of the 6N, down to England turning up for a change (kudos to them) and us being too rushed which is unusual for this squad but perhaps also down to the magnitude of what was at stake - only a 4th grand Slam in our history and the first completed in Dublin - the pressure and expectation was huge here. It was only in the latter stages that we settled properly and performed as expected. Well done England for making a game and occasion of it.
As always, we can do better but this squad continues to deliver and we are starting to believe (behind closed hands!!).
Pity about the red card, seems harsh, we would have preferred 15v15 but Hugo Keenan was put out of the match having had a terrific game and there needs to be a price to pay for that.
And on Paddy’s weekend too - memories are made of this.
Congratulations to Ireland, but as others have already said the game was killed off just before halftime with that red card. Up until that point we had a competitive match. A surprise to me as I had no expectations before the game.
I think supporters of any team would have felt hard done by to have one of their players red carded for trying to avoid a challenge after a knock on. Blame the guidelines given to referees I guess, either that or Peyper was being a touch over zealous in his work.
Think all teams have had plenty of time to adjust to the new rules. While I agree they’re harsh I don’t mind as long as the officials are consistent.