England v New Zealand – the Aftermath

A much improved performance from England at Twickenham still resulted in a comfortable 19-6 win for the opposition, so where do we go from here?

For all the talk of performance versus results, we saw a reasonable performance and a defeat. An All Blacks victory was pretty much inevitable, so the spirits were lifted by the passion showed by the men in white, particularly in the first half when they refused to let New Zealand settle into the game.

However, the side still looked bereft of ideas, and with more quick ball to enjoy, they rarely did anything with it. One move in the second half that was symptomatic of England’s autumn saw the ball passed along all the way along the line, without many metres gained, from one man to the next until we ran out of men and the ball was passed into touch.

Signs of encouragement then, and so with all of our injured players back to fitness, will England be world-beaters again? Is Johnno’s job safe now that we’ve seen some sign of improvement?

Nick Heath spoke to Martin Johnson, captain Steve Borthwick and Mathew Tait after the game:

Martin Johnson:

Steve Borthwick:

Mathew Tait:

7 thoughts on “England v New Zealand – the Aftermath

  1. After the dross of the previous weeks, a “much improved” performance still doesn’t amount to very much at all.

    Sure we managed to come racing out of the blocks and start well. And as with any team that does that, we showed that the All Blacks don’t like it when a side does that to them, and they can very quickly start to look beatable.

    Once again though, we ran out of steam. We can’t manage more than 40 minutes of decent intensity before the energy and the ideas run dry, and that’s poor at international level on home turf.

    Yes, we’ve had injuries, but so did the Aussies (and please note Johnno, their response to this was to put young players in).

    Two very telling facts remain though from this autumn series.

    (1) We’ve played Oz and NZ – sum total of no tries in two home games
    (2) Sum total of no second half points in either of those games

    How the hell do we expect to beat the best sides in the world?

    And these sides are coming down here after a long season, whereas we’re in the early stages of ours. Granted, the structure of our domestic season could not be designed worse if we tried, but the England coaching team has to take responsibility for no tries and no second half points. One solitary try against a poor Argentina side is probably just as damning.

    There is much work to do.

  2. Very well said Mr Watson. Those two facts are very telling. Shocking, actually. Unfortunately, the rhetoric coming from the rotten-to-the-core executive team confirms that they are going to need far more evidence before they will have the balls to admit their mistakes and make the changes we need. I would not be surprised if Wells and/or Ford are changed out over the next few months, but that is not enough.

  3. I don’t think the lack of changes in the coaching set up is anything to do with balls, more to do with cash. We are stuck with this lot until their contracts run out.

    The RFU bottled it when they should have sacked Robinson and sacked his whole backroom staff instead, then months later they sacked him too at even more expense, then in came Ashton, then out went Ashton. We even kicked out Alred and Reddin (and now we have a team that gets tired after 40 minutes and kicks aimlessly all day long)

    I still can’t see the RFU kicking anyone out in the next year barring any exceptional circumstances with the cash they’ve had to use in recent years to pay people to disappear and do nothing. Not unless the results start to cost them in other ways like falling attendances, but if yesterday was a sell out, I can’t see that ever happening.

    Johnno’s support of his fellow coaches is hardly gushing and I know I go on about it, but the body language between them on matchday tells you far more than Johnno’s words of tacit approval. No way would he have chosen them as his backroom had he been given the choice.

    And to think that yesterday all started so well. I never expected a miracle, but when I saw Mc.Caw actually get pinged for being on the wrong side of a ruck, Carter miss an easy kick at goal and another one to touch, AND Jonathan Kaplan letting an Englishman get away with a couple of punches, I thought anything was possible!

  4. I don’t think anything is going to change before the Six Nations, if not RWC11. Half a performance against ‘the best team in the world’ will have given Rob Andrew and Johnno all the evidence they need to say ‘we are improving, but it takes time’.

    And with all the injuries, ‘it’s been a fairly successful autumn in some respects’.

    I’ve lost all faith in John Wells based on the forward play I’ve seen in the past couple of years, and I think he’s got to go. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen.

  5. Interesting game from an NZ perspective and I wasn’t predicting a big win (I picked less 15pts for a number of reasons:
    1 – England had been written off, so had nothing to lose.
    2 – Every team (international or provincial/club team) raises their game when playing the AB’s.

    I found it intersting (as Mr watson says above) that England lost the week before to a poor Aussie side and yet the press are being positive, then lost again (without really looking dangerous) and still no doom & gloom. Odd, I wonder who Martin Johnson is going to blame this week – when will it be his & the whole teams fault? There was some odd selection issues for England (why Louis Deacon and Tom Croft didn’t start is beyond me), pre game injuries for england – why not throw some young guys in (it worked in 2001/2002 with a number of the youngies coming right for RWC 2003). Shaw showed his age, unfortunate for Worsley (but he shouldn’t have started) & Banahan was poor.

    There was some genuine good ponits – Johnny tackled well (the strip of Zac Guilford was fab) & didn’t he didn’t get injured, Mark Cueto, Louis Moody & James Haskell were all excellent and returing old boy Steve Thompson. And it could be worse – they players could all be in the wallabies – LOL!!!

    For us (in NZ) it was a case of a poorish game from Dan Carter, a weak loose trio game (until Kaino came on) and we need to deal better with less than ideal conditions one week to the next. Need to stoke the fire up again against Le Bleu.

    And surely Andy Robinson is smiling a very broad smile this week.

  6. Sorry if the optimism hasn’t spread to me but one glaring difference highlighted everything to me. England have got some great ball carriers in Shaw, Hartley, Haskell etc yet every time they picked and went they were on their own. When NZ scored they produced a series of pick and drives as a PACK and made pricless yards in the 22 which then gave the space for the try in the corner.

    The fact that my club, which is a modest team in Surrey 1, were practising the same drill Thursday night (i.e. picking and going with player together) and yet England can’t even get that right is a damning indication of England’s forward coaching at the moment.

  7. So MJ thinks England have gone forward – what a joke. Why doesn’t he start playing a young, modern side that can develop in time for the World cup and learn how to score tries. His selections are ridiculous and whilst he may scrape some wins at home in the 6 nations with big lumps, we’ll be playing a terrible way in the world cup. Please Johnno, just be bold and aim for the long-term, there is no other way.

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