England v Argentina: the aftermath

Dreadful. That’s 80 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. It’s actually longer if you include the train journey to Twickenham and the time taken to drown my sorrows afterwards in ten pints of Guinness.

Last week, there was some consolation in the fact that it couldn’t get any worse…but then it did. England had nothing to offer and managed to make countless errors despite the fact they weren’t even trying to play.

Brian Smith must have said to the lads before they run out, ‘If you get the ball, kick it.’ And they did, all afternoon. Actually, he must have said to Ugo Monye, ‘If you get the ball, drop it.’ And he did, all afternoon!

Jonny Wilkinson, Shane Geraghty and Paul Hodgson were all guilty of aimless kicks that seemed to drop on an Argentinian player every time, and they seemed determined not to pass the ball to the men outside them. I don’t think Danny Hipkiss touched the ball for an hour, and needless to say, there was no enjoyment whatsoever in watching England play.

We’ll be bringing you a full round up of all the weekend’s games, as well as England player ratings and a rant or two about England’s problems. For now though, leave us your feedback on the game, and what you think needs to change before we take on the All Blacks.

15 thoughts on “England v Argentina: the aftermath

  1. Absolutely appalling. When a paper aeroplane hitting the 22 line gets the biggest roar of the day, you know it’s poor…

    Read a comment from MJ this morning along the lines of “if we play like that next week and win we’ll take it”. That’s the problem. There is a time for must-win rugby (world cups) but if you aren’t capable of executing anything approaching a decent game plan then what’s the value? We may have won yesterday but it feels like a loss. Grinding out a win has to be done on occassion but if you don’t have the ability to match a competitor on an attacking basis then it will never be anything other than a one-off upset

    in 2003 we beat NZ pre world cup grinding out a win in terrible conditions playing must win rugby. That was appropriate because we knew we had a side that could compete and needed the psychological advantage. But we don’t have a team that can compete now so the win at all expenses mentality is lost…

    When it comes to nxt wk it simply doesn’t matter who we play unless there is a more attacking mindset. We could play our fantasy XV assuming there were no injuries and we would get spanked next sat. The coaches have got to man up, admit they got it wrong and tell then to play without fear and that there won’t be panic dropping of players left right and centre. I would rather see us lose by 20 pts but try than not make any effort

    if we do that then we can start making the changes we all want to see (no bortgwick/deacon instead shaw/Kennedy/lawes). Also bring Foden into FB, Ugo on wing and Banahan as an impact sub

    but it won’t happen because the coaches don’t have any vision or ambition…

    I want my money back

  2. Monye cannot be allowed to continue as a fullback!

    He is a winger who was already shown to be not particularly safe under the high ball and on the Lions tour had a few (costly) handling errors. This is no basis to throw a man in at fullback at international level.

    How Johnson selected him for 2 games in a row at FB and let him finish the Argentina game is beyond me.

    What’s wrong with playing someone who can actually play fullback at fullback!?

    Monye’s confidence has taken a knock I’m sure and even if he is played on the wing is unlikely to be in form after 2 bad games playing out of position.

    Ben Foden
    Matthew Tait
    Nick Abendanon
    Sam Vesty
    Topsy Ojo

    There’s 5 players in the England Elite/Saxons who could certainly slot in at Fullback ahead of an out of position winger.

    I’d give Duncan Bell a go ahead of Monye at this stage….

  3. It’s clear that the whole England set-up is rotten to the core.

    I remember joking on here ages ago about the body language among the England coaches – at the time I was talking about Ashton and Wells, but if you look now you see Johnno, Wells and Smith looking like they’ve never met before.

    It’s no better on the pitch either. Borthwick spent more time whinging at Nigel Owens at one point than I ever saw him spend talking to the team. Did he not think anything needed saying? Or was he just trying to lead by example with another crap performance?

    Agree with Fiachra about Monye. That’s been a real bugbear of mine for years now about the England coaches thinking you can just pick 3 wingers and expect one to just slot in at 15. It’s a specialised position for God’s sake, and this is international rugby.

    Still too depressed to even think about next weekend.

  4. Would love to see the stats of the number of players who have been dropped completely from a starting place to not even in the 22 from one game to the next.

    Hardly surprising that players are nervous about making mistakes…

  5. How long is English rugby going to take to recover? That is the Question.
    Have we had our 20-25 years and now await another era. I could be dead before that happens and unlike Max Boyce’s dream, I for one won’t be at anybody’s right hand in heaven, as was Barry John

  6. 3 offloads in the entire game…
    2 came in the build up to the last gasp try. I rest my case
    In Aus, NZ or SA Lawes would have several caps by now. Why on earth no bring him on?

    This has got to stop. Ford and Wells must go. Johnson either needs to read the riot act or totally wipe the slate clean.
    What happened since beating France in the 6 Nations – anyone remember how well we actually played?

    Great effort for whoever threw the paper airplane through the South stand sticks though!

  7. Here the repeating voice from Holland.

    1. Call of the game against the All Blacks!
    2. If Van der Sar is injured at Manu do you think they will put Rio Ferdinand in as a replacement? So why the hell Monye on this position……..AGAIN? So once again if a 15 is injured you have to pick the 2nd choice 15, if he’s injured you pick the 3rd choice etc etc.
    3. If England comes up with Monye on 15 again, you have to sack everybody involved before the match.
    4. The 4 and 5…..They are a good laugh, and yes why not keeping a young, strong, modern rugby talent as Lawes on the bench for 80 minutes if the locks are performing like that. What happened there. Nevertheless I understunf the 4 and 5 in the England team better now. Johnno thinks it must be the 4th and the 5th in quality of locks. After Kennedy, Lawes and Shaw they probably come pretty close.
    5. Gameplan….There was simply no gameplan.
    6. On this forum almost everybody seems to agree to some major changes but who are we.
    7. If the game is not called off, I will be stupid enopugh to get to the pub with my friends to watch the game and to be honest after a few pints it was very funny watching Monye….

  8. Terrible.

    I only watched the Highlights and that was tedious enough for me.

    If millioons of people can sit in their armchairs and see that:
    A, Monye is not a full back
    B, Borthwick and Deacon are not world class
    C, england have almost no gameplan, and no fall back plan for when A fails.


    I play, i coach, the most important thing in our sessions is collectivly working on game plan and patterns, I couldn’t see either in that game at any point.

  9. For the first time ever i made a conscious decision NOT to watch an England game or bother catching the highlights/recording. I went and benched for our club’s 2nd XV in the pouring rain for my first game back in 18 months and had an excellent day, far away from the dreadful rugby England play.

    Get this – at one point we tried a simple move and broke the gain-line…and we did it on the THIRD phase!

    France v SA was excellent though – especially as there was a vociferous Saffer fan in the pub who clearly didn’t understand the rules.

  10. I don’t know how to look at the game on Saturday. Was it selection?? was it the capable but poor opposition?? or do I admit we’re simply in an English rugby ice age! Personally, I look at the players and think on an individual level they cannot have become poor players overnight!
    I Think of Duncan Bell’s carries for bath, I think of Croft’s role and play with L and the Lions. Geraghty, Hipkis, Cueto, Moyne and Wilkinson looked every inch internationals in the build up to these Autumn Internationals, so why when we step onto the field of play do we become what we witnessed on Saturday afternoon??
    I have a theory and this only comes from a similar rugby experience.
    Johnson is one of if not the greatest players we’ve ever had, he’s intelligent, has an amazing grasp of what’s required to win and lead but I genuinely think he has the players worried about everything they’re doing or about to do!
    I believe his immense presence and control on/in/off the training pitch, changing room and field of play has become too much of a distraction for these men. Johnson in his day, as a player/capt was everything any member of the squad wanted in a leader, Bothwick, irrelevant of what I think of him does not have Johnson’s profile, presence or stature to shield, motivate or guide these players. So if it were me Johno, they all know who you are, step back tell them get on with it, no consequences and please let them find out who they are for once!!

    PS I wrote this last night before Mick Cleary wrote his article in this morning’s Telegraph….. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/england/6575438/Off-colour-England-struck-down-by-fear-against-Argentina.html

  11. Where to start:

    Monye – Worst fullback ever. Wilko spend the first half covering his ass and Cueto had to take over in the second half. Did end up wondering if he’s argentinian or got paid off by any chance?

    Leadership – None. Yet again Borthwick never even attempted to talk to, motivate or lead the team. Instead he tried his hardest to do absolutely nothing – for which I would give him an A* for effort and execution. MUST at the very least lose the captaincy – but should also be dropped from the squad all together!

    Game plan – Was either to kick as poorly as possibly and let the argentinians run at us all day or there was NONE! How many people (supporters/commentators/players) have all commented on the lack of game plan and how the players looked “nervous” and “scared” to play. What does that say about our coaching team/management!!!

    Coaching – Maybe we could recruit them as sleepers and inflitrate them into other teams so they can mess everyone else up as bad as us!!! If not, Wells and Ford have to go (maybe also Smith)

    Johnno – The man is a legend and i’ll always respect him, however he is obviously not in control, doesn’t command the same respect from the players or his coaching team as when he was a player and I think it will only be a short matter of time till he is given his marching orders.

    Rob Andrews – As guilty as everyone else and so should be given the boot too!

    Subs – why when we have talent like Lawes on the bench, did he spend 80 mins sat down. Deacon was yet again awful and I actually think Borthwick may have been worse. Our top 3 2nd row players are Kennedy, Lawes and Shaw. Why are they not being played? Is this another “cipriani” case, where they are out of favour with the coaching team/management?

    Moody – Our only saving grace. The only player seen talking to the team and leading by example and the only player currently with the ability to take over the captaincy.

    Wilkinson – Poor kicking out of hand and poor place kicking, however he did spend all day having to cover full back and worry about everyone else that I don’t think he was able to concentrate enough on his own role.

    All in all, shocking doesn’t even come close. Everytime we think “at least it can’t get worse” they manage to surprise us and sink even lower.


  12. Quote from MJ:

    ‘I got a little bit impatient at times. It was a long 80 minutes to watch and I probably aged 20 years, but we won the game. You have to be constructive’

    What the hell was there to be constructive about?

  13. A few of Johnno’s post match comments made me think he himself wouldn’t put up with this for much longer. He’s clearly at his wit’s end, and now realizes that he’s totally out of his depth. But I’m sure Andrew will be telling everything’s going to be alright, and that it will just take time….

  14. Keep thinking of all the post match comments stating “we’re nearly where we want to be”. Congratulations boys and girls, we are officially there – WORSE TEAM IN THE WORLD

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