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Everything posted by ljkeane

  1. The way Leicester have cut their pitch is quite distracting.
  2. Ok, having watched the England Ireland game again with a few less beers in me England didn't actually play that badly, at least compared to the France and Scotland games. They did largely sort the breakdown out, they scored 3 good tries and were close to a couple more (great tap tackle by Earls to deny them once and a very harsh penalty on Daly the other time), maybe with the luck going their way with the first and third Irish tries the game would have been a lot closer. Having said despite England creating some chances Ireland spent large parts of the game looking very comfortable in defence; it should have been a lot harder for a team to beat England in the Six Nations at Twickenham for the first time in six years. A lot of rethinking for England to do going into the summer tour. I'd say Cole should probably be done; the scrum wasn't notably worse without him involved today and there are a number of tightheads who offer a lot more in the loose. Joseph probably shouldn't be done but he needs to find some form before being an automatic selection anymore. He wasn't that bad but I'd call it a day for Hartley too, Cowan-Dickie's the better player now. I disagree on that actually, the second Irish try was the real moment of class in attack for them. The first try's an up and under in the 22, it was a good one, but it really should be dealt with. The third try's poor defence from England on the blindside then a bit of luck for Stockdale to not knock it on. The second try's a lovely move though; running a dummy loop (especially given how much Sexton likes to loop so the defence is always likely to over read it) off the tighthead prop in midfield with him doing a 360 degree spin to sell it then hitting Aki as the lead runner was great bit of play. Cracking try.
  3. Rubbish performance from England again, they gifted Ireland two tries to kill the the game as a contest. It was bloody freezing at Twickenham too! Credit to Ireland though; they got in front and never threatened to let England back in. They’ve been consistently solid throughout the tournament.
  4. Right, last round of the Six Nations. Italy v Scotland: I'd expect Scotland to pick up the win to cap off a decent, if inconsistent, Six Nations for them. I'm sure they are pleased with beating England but they've been fairly loose at time in the other games so they'll want to improve on that front. England v Ireland: Lots of changes for England, some of them probably overdue. I think it's a better team but they haven't had a lot of time to gel compared to a very settled looking Ireland side. Still, it's backs to the wall and they really need a win to avoid a very bad Six Nations becoming a disaster. Fingers crossed anyway since I'm going to the game. From an Irish point of view it's reasonably important to get a win too. If they lose they've had a perfectly good Six Nations but it'd be hard to say they've really stepped up, the story would be England letting themselves down this year. On the other hand if they go to Twickenham and win a Grand Slam they've clearly kicked on and gone in front of England as the best NH side. Wales v France: From the Welsh point of view this tournament's been pretty useful in terms of building depth but getting a win, and hopefully coming second, would put a bit more of a shine on it. For the French if they can get a win in Cardiff all of a sudden they've had their first half decent Six Nations in years and maybe there's a sliver of hope for improvement. If they lose the win against England was another flash in the pan. It should be a good game actually.
  5. Yeah, fairly rubbish draw for Liverpool. It’s both a tough draw and not particularly exciting playing another English side.
  6. I'm actually not that fussed. I don't expect us to win it and getting to the quarters is a respectable performance for our first season back in the Champions League so everything from here is a bonus. Obviously Sevilla or Roma would represent the best chance of going through but I'd quite like to get a prestige tie. I think we'd struggle with Juve's style of play and I'd expect us to lose over the course of two legs against City or Barca. Real might be good match for us though; they really haven't looked that good and they play in a way that'd suit us but if we lost it wouldn't be the end of the world. I haven't seen much of Bayern.
  7. Fair play to Chelsea, they've been all over Barcelona in this second half. ETA: Well that was the kiss of death.
  8. I think that might be tie over. Didn't take long.
  9. I don't think you guys are really getting the cultural attachment to the World Cup. People would lose their shit if teams opted out of the World Cup to go to a 'NATO Cup'. I genuinely think most European governments would lose elections on the back of doing it.
  10. Maybe not but I'm reasonably confident that the title race would be well over by now. 538 with their football predictions have United finishing on 80 pts from here and, honestly, I think that's about this United squad's level. I get not liking Mourinho and how he sets out to play but I don't think they're underperforming in the league. You could certainly get a manager in who'd play a more attractive style and it's possible there are some managers who might get the team to produce more than the sum of it's parts. Having said that, thinking about it, the only side in Premier League history I think who might have actually challenged City for the title this year was Mourinho's Chelsea side when he first came to England.
  11. I doubt it. They'd probably be better but City are on course for a record points total. There haven't been many teams in Premier League history, including most of Ferguson's United teams, who'd be close to City this year. I get the irritation with Mourinho but, keeping some perspective, United's league season is probably going to end up with a perfectly respectable points total, it's just that City have been excellent.
  12. So for all the talk of this really being the English teams year it looks like it's going to be a somewhat disappointing two sides in the quarters. From United's point of view I can kind of see why Mourinho parked the bus in Seville, Sevilla tend to be a lot better at home, but if you're going to be that negative in the away leg you really need to back it up with a getting result at home. This is going to lose him a lot of the good will from beating Liverpool I suspect.
  13. I've seen a couple of article suggesting the point of this attack, which it seems was always going to be traced back to Russia, was to test NATO unity. If the US is going fail to back what is supposed to be it's closest ally in a situation like this (after not really doing anything about Russian interference in the US elections) it looks like the lesson is going to be that Russia has a hell of a lot of license to do whatever it wants.
  14. There's always been significant elements of the EU which aren't big fans of the current levels of sanctions on Russia so I doubt they'd be enthusiastic about tougher sanctions anyway and the problem with NATO is Trump's unreliability so I'm not sure what it's really got to do with May. They assassinated Litvinenko with radioactive material in 2006.
  15. Yeah, I'm fine with that, obviously if he's fit Vunipola's going to be playing 8. My issue's more that the current balance/pattern of play works great with Vunipola at 8, less well but passably with a fully fit Hughes and they don't have anybody else who can do it. They need to have a plan b ready because the nature of modern rugby means you're definitely going to have times, potentially pretty often, when you're going to need it. From Simmond's point of view he'd probably get more games for England right now if he was playing openside week in week out but give it a couple of years and you've potentially got the Curry twins, Underhill, Ben Earl, who looks a good player at Sarries, and Will Evans, who was the best forward at the Junior World Cup a couple of years back, all competing for one place. I think his best bet's probably to be a utility backrow who can slot in where needed or bench.
  16. I don't know, I think professional experience means more than youth rugby and while Simmonds is quick but he's not really a classical openside breakdown focused type of backrow, he's a ball carrier but just in the wider channels. England could convert him to a Hooper type ball carrying 7 but there's no particular reason your 8 can't be a ball carrier further out, New Zealand do it with Read and even South Africa do it to an extent with Whiteley. It would require England picking a different type of back row balance and maybe changing their gameplan a bit though. A back row of, say, Armand 6, Underhill 7 and Simmonds 8 would probably work fine with Te'o playing in the centres. On the other hand Robshaw 6, Underhill 7 and Simmonds 8 with no big ball carrier in the backs would probably have some issues. It depends what they want to do.
  17. You don't necessarily have to have a breakdown specialist at openside, all of those combinations of flankers worked fine at various points until one/both of them got injured or lost form, but you do have to have the balance in your pack to effectively win your own ball at the least. There's no particular reason Robshaw and Underhill couldn't work, Underhill's not a classical all round 7 but he's played a fair bit of openside and while Robshaw's a bit slow to play 7 he's an above par breakdown operator as a 6. One of the Curry brothers probably would get more turnovers but there's probably physicality concerns, which is why Kvesic didn't make it, so it's trade off at the moment (they're only young though). I'm not sure Simmonds is a natural 7, he's a just a small 8 who like to play in the wide channels, he's clearly a talented player though so England could ask him to try converting to 7, or alternatively they could pick a bigger carrier at 6.
  18. In fairness I don't think it's the new laws. England haven't been great at the breakdown for a while and the new laws probably help them in that it makes it slightly harder to steal the ball and, since they don't have any particularly sharp breakdown operators, that benefits England (I still think Owens wasn't really reffing it the way he was supposed too but anyway.) I think the problems more to do with Eddie Jones letting England's weakness at the breakdown slide for a while, because they were still winning, and now it's come to a head. He did see the problem when he came and recognising there wasn't a George Smith/Richie McCaw type player to select to solve the problem so instead he was just going to pick a pack to blast over the ball in attack. And that did work pretty well, obviously, but it's effectiveness has been declining for a while. Haskell's not a well rounded 7 but he's good at hitting rucks, ever since he injured his ankle in Australia though he looks like he's lost some pace. Robshaw's been good at 6 but he was never great at 7 and now he's a few years older and slower since Jones moved him. On top of that the lack of Vunipola tying in multiple forwards to tackle him and with Itoje looking jaded it's just not working anymore. None of that is Jones' fault but it's been clear there's been a problem for a while, probably since Haskell got injured in Australia and definitely last year in Dublin, so there should really be a clearer plan to solve it by now.
  19. I kind of thought May was going to fold and go with some nominal sanctions the Russians would ignore but that's Article 5 of the Nato treaty kind of language. Still, it's hard to see Trump provinding any kind of reliable/believable support.
  20. England have been atrocious at the breakdown again. It’s not even like they’re struggling out wide, if you’re giving the ball one out to a prop the bloody fly half shouldn’t be cleaning out ffs. ETA: Awful performance from England and with it their worst Six Nations in years. There’s some real questions for Eddie Jones to address.
  21. Just Lovren really, whenever he’s on Van Dijk’s side he’s been dealt with. Credit to Mourinho, he’s got his tactics right overloading on the left.
  22. In fairness it was always an obvious possibility that the plan was a trilogy on Kvothe’s past followed up with books in the ‘present’. I’m pretty dubious it’s actually going to happen but it’s not exactly a shock that’s what Rothfuss is thinking of.
  23. What a bunch of dickheads. One of the good things about rugby is most involved in the game tend to fairly accessible to the fans, things like this just ruin it for everyone. Anyway, the penultimate round of the Six Nations. Ireland v Scotland: It'll be interesting to see if Scotland can kick on from beating England and they did beat Ireland last year. Having said that they tend to be better in their home games and they're unlikely to cause Ireland the problems at the breakdown they did England. It's hard to see Ireland losing in Dublin however if Scotland can get round Ireland's rush defence the way they got outside England it should be fun though. France v England: I can't believe England having changed their starting back row after the struggles at the breakdown last time out although they've at least got an 8 on the bench this time. I think they'll probably get away with it against France but I doubt they will if they do the same thing next week. Wales v Italy: Faletau's back which is good for Wales. I'm quite looking forward to seeing how James Davies does too.
  24. Oh, yeah, he definitely looks over the hill in terms of his own performance. It'd still be good to see him retire on a winning note. In fairness there was also a stonewall penalty for Spurs missed with one of the Juve defenders clearly hanging onto the back of Vertonghen's shirt for about 10m.
  25. Credit to Juventus, I thought Spurs were the better side but Juve have found a way to get the win. Anyway, it's still fun to see Buffon have another run at winning a Champions League.