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ljkeane

Rugby: A New Dawn

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16 hours ago, ljkeane said:

France look really good. Dupont in particular. All they need to do now is avoid a horrific second half collapse.

France came to play (and are reminding me why I fell in love with the French in the 80s-90s)..

Wales came to niggle, led by Biggar who is happily have seen carded for his conduct (assuming he's had the warnings, reversals and march-backs I'd also have given him)

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Good first half for England. I still don't particularly like the selection but Tuilagi in the side makes the backline look miles better and the forwards have been excellent in defence. There was a lot of talk before the game of the threat of the Irish kicking game with Joseph on the wing but it's actually been the Ireland backfield that's struggled.

ETA: Going back to my issues with the selection; bringing Ewels on in the back row? Jesus Christ.

Anyway, good performance from England but a bit of a familiar failing in that they really weren't clinical enough. Given the level of dominance they had in the match they really should have won more comfortably and come away with a bonus point win.

For Ireland some of the same issues they've had for a while. They don't have the ability to dominate arm wrestles against the likes of England or, in all likelihood, France anymore and they don't seem to have the flexibility to move away from that. Farrell really needs to find a way of getting some dynamism into their attacking game. The fairly predicable safe forward carries followed by a Sexton loop out the back is making it easy for aggressive defences like England to just repeatedly fly off the line.

Edited by ljkeane

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FTR, Ewels has played a reasonable amount at #8 - at age grade he was always a lock/8, and spreading his time about 50:50; then a couple of years ago when Bath had a backrow injury crisis he played  for about 3 months, and has filled in a few other times due to injury during matches. Has certainly played there more than Curry, and possibly even more than Earls

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Ireland don’t currently have a way to win when physically out-matched.  But that’s a real problem for a nation with a smaller population: the likes of England and France (not to mention the Southern Hemisphere three) have a greater likelihood of finding athletes who are extreme physical outliers. 

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3 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

FTR, Ewels has played a reasonable amount at #8 - at age grade he was always a lock/8, and spreading his time about 50:50; then a couple of years ago when Bath had a backrow injury crisis he played  for about 3 months, and has filled in a few other times due to injury during matches. Has certainly played there more than Curry, and possibly even more than Earls

Fair enough, that's passed me by. Having said that he's clearly not an international class back row, if it was an emergency situation you could stick him on there but, by all appearances, deliberately picking him with intention of bringing him on the back row is still bizarre. I don't like Curry being there and ideally I'd bring in an actual 8 but Earl has played there a fair bit for Sarries and he's decent enough at it, just use him there if you refuse to pick an 8 in your squad.

3 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Ireland don’t currently have a way to win when physically out-matched.  But that’s a real problem for a nation with a smaller population: the likes of England and France (not to mention the Southern Hemisphere three) have a greater likelihood of finding athletes who are extreme physical outliers. 

That's true to a degree, the injuries to O'Brien and Leavy have hurt them on that front, but in fairness there's not a huge amount of difference in the tight fives and, Tuilagi aside, they probably have the bigger backline.

There's a couple of issues for me. There's no real surprise in how England played, they did the same thing last year. So picking Toner, who's a big man but he's never been particularly physical, O'Mahony and and Van der Flier in the same side is asking for trouble. They probably weren't going to match England they could have picked the likes of Dillane and Ruddock who were more likely to have an impact.

The other thing is, ok, you aren't going to dominate England's pack so then you need to do something different to move them around and get running at the likes of Ford and Farrell. If you watch Ireland it's pretty clear who's getting the ball 90% of the time and with England's linespeed that's a big problem. 

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18 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

Italy's remaining matches in doubt due to Coronovirus outbreak

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51626709

The Ireland game's definitely off.

The bloody Irish are always ruining everyone's fun just because there's a foot and mouth outbreak or a global coronavirus pandemic.

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So the England, Wales, Scotland and France teams have been announced for the weekend's games.

I'm going to the England - Wales game with my Welsh stepdad which should be fun, so long as England don't lose. With that in mind it's good to see Wilson and Watson back in the team but Wilson's in for the injured Underhill at seven so England are still playing only two backrows with Curry out of position at 8 and with 5 second rows in the squad. Ffs.

Wales have stuck with Biggar at 10 but there has to be a big question mark on how that's going to go given he came off injured in the Northampton game last weekend. They've also, a little surprisingly, dropped Faletau to the bench for Moriarty.

France probably have their strongest team of the tournament so far for the game at Murrayfield with Penaud back from injury. It's going to be a tough game for Scotland.

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So, England got the win. Just about. It was a pretty entertaining game overall and the Tipuric try was probably the best try I've seen live.

One thing that is more noticeable at the game when you can see the whole pitch is how bad England are at restarting attacks off slow ball or playing off the cuff on turnovers etc. They play some good rugby off set piece or reliable possession when they can line up their ball carriers and distributors where they want them but as soon as attacks slow down they're looking to kick the ball away as a first option.

I think some of that is deliberate, they back their defence as a weapon, but a lot of it is down to the team balance for me. Picking Ford/Farrell in midfield and only two backrows means there's a real lack of dynamic ball carriers to turn to on the fly with turnovers or scrappy ball. That's made worse when they lose a strike runner in May early and they bring on Slade, who actually played ok, but you don't really want a play maker style fullback when you're already playing two flyhalfs in midfield.

They're probably going to get way with playing like this against a lot of teams, especially at home, but they need more to beat teams like South Africa when they aren't dominating the gainline in defence.

I suppose the big incident in the game was the Tuilagi red card. I'm not a huge fan of that being a red card. He's flying over to try and make a cover tackle, North's tackled from behind so he's going down and there's a collision but there's no real malice in it. I don't think it's notably reckless by the standards of tackle in the corner in pretty much every match. It's just an unfortunate coming together. But, ok, if that's the way the rugby authorities want the game reffed then fair enough. My issue is why isn't the Parkes tackle direct to Tuilagi's head in the first half a red too?

   

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A bit of a moment of madness there from France. Jamie Ritchie probably very happy that he's managed to wind them up so much.

Scotland need to win now that that they have a 7 point and 1 man advantage going into the second half.

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:lol: That was a very French performance. Come into the game looking strong favourites to win a Grand Slam, start out of sorts, get back into the game with a brilliant try then one of the front row gets himself sent off reacting to provocation by throwing a punch. They certainly aren't afraid of conforming to stereotypes.

In fairness I think France were a little unlucky with the yellow card and losing Ntamack early but they still didn't play particularly well. Scotland were good though. They were well in the game before the red card and they could have made hard work of it after France went down to 14 they could have made hard work of it but they managed the game really well.

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France losing to Scotland gives Ireland and outside chance of winning the 6N with a win over France in Paris.  That doesn’t look easy, but perhaps the Irish team can finally rouse themselves. 

Winning the 6N title would still depend on Ireland and England’s results against Italy, if those even go ahead at this stage.  England has an advantage in bonus points.

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6 hours ago, ljkeane said:

In fairness I think France were a little unlucky with the yellow card and losing Ntamack early but they still didn't play particularly well. Scotland were good though. They were well in the game before the red card and they could have made hard work of it after France went down to 14 they could have made hard work of it but they managed the game really well.

It did feel like one of the most complete Scottish performances we've seen in some time, even before the red card I think they had been playing the best although it could still have gone either way. Compared to last year they seem to have improved their formerly porous defence a lot and the scrum seems more solid now, although their lineout is still a complete mess. However, they do seem to have maybe lost a bit of attacking flair along the way, although I suppose that might be partially due to Finn Russel's absence.

I'm not sure about their strip in the match, which mostly reminded me of 90s era English one day cricket teams.

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17 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

France losing to Scotland gives Ireland and outside chance of winning the 6N with a win over France in Paris.  That doesn’t look easy, but perhaps the Irish team can finally rouse themselves. 

Winning the 6N title would still depend on Ireland and England’s results against Italy, if those even go ahead at this stage.  England has an advantage in bonus points.

You've got a long wait ahead of you; possibly an infinite one. Rports that all of next weekends matches will be postponed; and a very realistic chance that they'll never be played

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On 3/9/2020 at 2:21 PM, Which Tyler said:

You've got a long wait ahead of you; possibly an infinite one. Rports that all of next weekends matches will be postponed; and a very realistic chance that they'll never be played

Somehow Scotland/Wales still seems to be on, although I still wouldn't be surprised if it also got a late postponement.

If the postponed matches get cancelled it is counted as a 0-0 draw? I think that would probably make England champions, although if Scotland beat Wales with a bonus point then they could end up on top by points difference. Even speaking as a Scotland fan that's not how I'd want to see the Championship turn out.

 

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