72 thoughts on “Post Match Reaction: England 12 Wales 19

  1. Has the bench ever made such a negative impact on a match. Don’t blame him for Youngs or Lawes but what the hell does Stevens bring to England apart from giving away penalties.

    Well done Wales for keeping your composure and closing out the match but please shoe England thier dues. Disappointed to hear both players and fans talk about how poorly they played. Give credit to England they stopped Wales from playing well.

    Well done England. I hope SL learns from this and trusts his inexperienced players. Think Ashton is well off the pace and needs dropping. Stevens and Youngs need to be dropped from the 22.

  2. Pretty happy with the England performance. Thought that there was a chance of winning it, but probably lacked the experience and composure to do so. No harm in that at this stage of development.

    Warburton was immense – fair play to him.

    Very disappointed when Youngs came on, why stick to a rigid 60 minute substitution – that was Johnson all over again. No flexibility. Agree about Stevens as well – I think that his time has now gone.

    Still on the whole happy with the performance and something for England to build on.

    Farrell would appear to be the 10 for the future.

  3. Ben Youngs was absolutely abysmal when he came on, taking Dickson off lost England the game. Also seeing people on twitter blaming Courtney Lawes for the loss, he was getting held up by a good few players in the tackle and that resulted in an easy rip for Williams. England played really well though, ashame to lose really

    1. No I was being glib with the Lawes comment, but I don’t blame him these mistakes happen. Stevens is just abysmal. How stupid do you have to be to ignore the ref when he says hands off. I’d rather have Marler he’d be no less of a liability at scrum time but might be useful at the breakdown.

      Echo the positve views above. Gutted that we lost a game that was there for the winning but what a performance. Some big calls for Lancaster to make now, will he be bold and drop Stevens, Youngs and Ashton? I wonder whether Foden is due a rest. He wasnt particularly bad but wasnt up to his usual standards. Trouble is I remain to be convinced that Brown is anything other than a good club player. Could he have done more to draw his man to make the strettle try more straight fwd?

  4. Great game and finnish, but why did Steve Walsh not go back to the penalty for collapsing the maul, had he called advantage over, if so it was very quick?

    1. Because Walsh is an English hating n0b. He could have also asked whether there is any reason not to award the try and give the benfit to the attacking team. I feel a draw would have been a fairer result but it wasnt to be.

      1. I think it would have been the same result. From one angle it certainly looked like a try, from one it didn’t and others you couldn’t tell… unfortunately I think ‘inclonclusive’ was the right call.

        A ,much better performance from England, Dickson made a lot of difference and I thought Farrell proved he’s not just there as Daddy’s little boy!

        Flod needs to go, everything he did that wasn’t negative was pretty pointless.

        A well balanced game all round IMO, we didn’t give the game away, was just fantastic play from Wales with the ball being ripped from Lawes.

        1. Agree the above comment was made in jest. England couldnt close the match out Wales could, not surprising given the gap in experience between the 2 sides. England really needed to turn the screw after the sin bin but were unable to do so. I know teams practice being a man down, I wonder how much planning is done for being a man up. England kicked it back to Wales at the first opportunity and really never got the ball back. Ah well I hope they learn from it.

      2. “He could have also asked whether there is any reason not to award the try”

        He could have. but he didn’t because he felt the ball was held up (he says as much). ‘no reason not to award the try’ is for when he thinks it’s a try, but not certain. Here he didn’t think it was one so he asked the TMO the right question

        1. All academic I suppose it was just a horrible way to lose (i.e. out of our hands). I’ve no doubt that if we had played the advantage Wales would have still held out, would’ve have been a more fitting end.

    2. Not sure I agree with the sentiment, but I’ve seen a few people point out that a clear try scoring chance, and getting yourself over the whitewash to the point you have to go to a TMO, has got to be an advantage.

  5. How can you you disappointed by the Welsh performance!!

    What a result in little brother England. We battled a biased ref for 80 mins. He was more than happy to dish out a yellow card to Priestland when England continually slowed the ball down at the breakdown and should have had yellow cards galore in the last 20 minutes! Never mind.

  6. England were solid. Barrit excellent. Wales were well beaten at the breakdown which is rare when warburton is playing well. As a Welsh supporter I have to say it’s nice to be able to win even when you’re not necessarily the better team on the day.

    Also any opinions, did strettle score? I’m pretty sure he didn’t.

    1. This difference being that Walsh (a self admitted England hater, it even got him banned as a ref) had specifically warned Wales that a yellow card was coming if they were offside at a ruck.
      To be honest Priestland did the right thing, professional foul to stop a try, and the way Wales played for that 10 minutes is what won them the game.

    2. yes wales was beaton at the breakdown,england was lucky with the yellow cards,enough for england to build on,and for wales a must to mantain.

  7. Well done England showed some spirit, i dont think it was wales best performance, and nerves did take over, preistland had a poor game and lots of kicking possesion away, we needed to keep ball in hand more i thought. I disagree with the yellow card given, seemed a bit harsh, however at least we wound the clock down and did not concede any points, which inteslf is quite an effort and to come away with a penalty was great. The lineout offence was a yellow card i feel that was as dangerous as a spear tackle, and no doubt a citation will follow. All in a great game by both teams, I am just glad we managed to sneek the Triple Crown.

  8. few things
    1) barritt another jamie noon? awesome in defence but not a huge amount else
    2) flood was pretty good tbf to him, be even better with ball from dickson, thinking farrell vs flood could be fun for a while to come
    3) i wouldnt drop foden, but I would drop ashton
    4)not sure if lancaster will stay on as head coach, but fairly sure they’ll try and poach farrell senior for defence.
    5)we need another strike runner, manu is great but need someone else who can hit a line off his wing, strets can and will ashton wont and isnt.
    6) thought croft was better today, but that is because the game was faster, the faster the game gets, the better he will get.
    7)robshaw was solid but nothing more sadly today, not seeing his link play at the moment
    8) if armitage plays like he did against stade francais more often I wouldnt mind seeing him playing as I feel we are needing another dynamic line breaking carrier in the forwards.
    feel free to argue with that

  9. England certainly stepped up to the plate today but Wales showed the composure to close games out, unlucky for strettle but it wasn’t a try. Does this show that in the words of Ben foden’little brother’ just got bigger!.

  10. Why did Warburton say ‘we didnt’ play well today’? The comment demonstrates his immaturity. There’s a simple answer as to why Wales didn’t play well, and that’s because England didn’t let them. DOH!!!!!!! That’s the pressure of internationals. From my perspective Wales threw absolutely everything at England, and England did the same to Wales. Some players played exceptionally well, others buckled under the pressure.

    The margins between winning and losing are closing all the time and that was a gripping game from start to finish. I’m gutted England lost but I’m heartened by the fact that England’s fortunes will continue to be positive (providing SL gets the job). But on a wider perspective, northern hemisphere rugby is on the up – I am not sure that any southern hemisphere team could have lived with that pace and intensity.

    Well done Wales, a bit of luck but you took your chance well. And that was the difference between the teams………oh and Steve Walsh. Why wasn’t Craig Joubert reffing this game instead of Ireland Italy???

    1. Steve Walsh the difference? He wrongly carded Priestland (for very specific law points) and should have carded for the lineout offence.

      I know it’s not asked but to defend my Priestland comment.

      The ball was taken into contact. A ruck was formed over the player. Eventually the player on the floor regathered the ball and popped it up to the onrunning England player who Priestland tackled.

      Now either the ref has ruled the player on the floor played the ball immediately (which would be incorrect), in which case there can’t have been time for a ruck to form (and he isnt legally allowed to pass out of the ruck), in which case Priestland is not offside as there is no ruck, OR the ref rules there is a ruck, at which point it was a penalty for handling the ball a) on the floor b) in a ruck

      Now I think England are hard done by at the end, though I can certainly see why it is called as it is (but wouldnt have felt too hard done by if called the other way), but I just wanted to show that actually Wales can argue against harsh calls against them too

  11. By the way, I thought Warburton had an immense game. Just wasn’t impressed by his post match comments.

    1. “Big girls blouse ” well your name sounds about right , Warburton said Wales didn’t play well because well they didn’t ! Priestland had his worst game since his run at outside half ,Wales lacked confidence for example electing for a Kick instead of another scrum when they had England on the rack etc etc.

      Doesn’t distract from the fact that England played well but as a Captain Warburton is allowed to call it as he (and practically everyone else ) saw it.

      It is always interesting also to see how the BBC can manage to find 20 minutes or so to talk about the losing side when that is England over the top of the presentation of the trophy to the side that actually won the game.

      1. Typical reaction to an England match. If England wins it because the other side didn’t play well i.e. Scotland & Italy. If England lose but aren’t thrashed by superior opposition i.e. Wales, France, NZ etc its again because the other side didn’t play well. Really can’t win can we. Heaven forbid any body actually accpets that England played well and prevented the other side from playing well you know by putting them under pressure? No? Okay no you are right, Wales are perfect and the only side that can beat them is themselves.

        1. i see benjit you didn’t mention ireland when you talking about superiour sides to England , let me remind you ireland have won 7 of the last 8 competitive games between the two , and our provinces have given you’r clubs a rugby lesson recently and will continue to do so because we have better players than england , in fact i think that wales ireland and france will dominate the 6 n for years to come , so less of the bias and bull . i was surprised how poor england really were to day and france and ireland will hammer them , superior sides you see . g luck wales once the won in dublin that was the big one for them and france won’t stop them at home .

        2. nothing personal benjit but i read recently that england have 1 million rugby players and yet the much smaller celtic nations have been superior in the last decade or so .i fact ireland have hammered england more often than any other nation excludind a blacks of course. and wales are on for another g slam again . so why is that benjit whats wrong , why have the celts better players when the selecting from the population equivalent of liverpool . its not an anti england thing but people are baffled by this ( i always support eng when they play arrogant aussies) . you live in england and so maybe you could tell us whats wrong in english rugby

          1. And yet England have as many 6 nations titles over the last 4 years (i.e. one) as both Ireland and Wales. I’ll explain my point again as you appear to have missed it. Clearly England have not been better than Ireland or to a lesser extent Wales over the last few years and yes we have underachieved iro our resources since 2004. The reasons why are too numerous to go into now. But in amongst the dross England have had some notable results and performances yet hardly ever the credit. Any decent performance or win is only ever put down to the opposition not performing or taking their foot off the gas. As has been the case after yesterdays match. Quite how you have managed to turn this point into a rant on the arrogance of England fans is beyond me.

        3. It can’t be denied that Wales didn’t play their best match. Priestland had an absolute shocker for example. But whilst that is not the sole reason, neither can you say that it wasn’t a major contributory factor. Wales’ 7 point win didn’t really accurately reflect the nature of the match, it should have been narrower.. and the reason for the closeness is a mixture of a sub-par welsh performance AND a comparitively excellent english one. You’re just as bad as anyone else by claiming it was solely down to english brilliance. Don’t be a child.

  12. Good game. Either side could have won. Spent the first half hour thinking Wales would score any minute. Spent the next half hour thinking England would. But substituions by Lancaster were poor I thought as others have said. Youngs, Stevens and Ashton should not even possibly be in the squad at the moment, because they add errors into the game and often fail to add any value to the team effort. England lost a bit of shape in the second half and part of the reason was the substitutions I believe.

    Strettle scored. In possession it’s only necessary to brush the ground with the ball. North knew it was a score and rolled the ball back over Strettle’s forearm and back behind the try line, with a guilty sort of look on his face.

  13. Three weeks in a row Wales benefit from poor decisions from officials. Having warned Wales about issues Priestland had to go. My main point is that brag the end North deliberately knocked the ball into touch, by law that is a penalty and on thx 5m line penalty try? At least yellow card. After three weeks of soft reffing how can the Welsh complain about the officials?

    1. Are you having a laugh!! at one point Walsh said to England that’s the 2nd offside – basically, one more and there;s a yellow, like Priestland had, then let them get away with offside after offside???

      Walsh shouldn’t be aloud to ref full stop – but he made bad decisions for both sides, act hard done by cause you lost.

    2. Copy and pasted from my answer above, as it covers this complaint again. Did North actually say that? I missed it if he did

      Steve Walsh the difference? He wrongly carded Priestland (for very specific law points) and should have carded for the lineout offence.

      I know it’s not asked but to defend my Priestland comment.

      The ball was taken into contact. A ruck was formed over the player. Eventually the player on the floor regathered the ball and popped it up to the onrunning England player who Priestland tackled.

      Now either the ref has ruled the player on the floor played the ball immediately (which would be incorrect), in which case there can’t have been time for a ruck to form (and he isnt legally allowed to pass out of the ruck), in which case Priestland is not offside as there is no ruck, OR the ref rules there is a ruck, at which point it was a penalty for handling the ball a) on the floor b) in a ruck

      Now I think England are hard done by at the end, though I can certainly see why it is called as it is (but wouldnt have felt too hard done by if called the other way), but I just wanted to show that actually Wales can argue against harsh calls against them too

  14. Walsh warned Wales about offside, Priestland was offside = card, week before Poite warned Wales about killing the ball, 9 pens later STILL no card. Overall don’t think Wales can complain about cards

  15. Great game, lots of guys stood up, very physical stuff. I thought Wales looked a bit out of ideas when the couldn’t run over people, they were missing Shane Williams to mix thing up a bit. I was very impressed at how they kept their cool with a man down. They have a real selfbelief at the moment.

    England can take a lot of good things from this game, the middfield was very physical and showed some signs of inventivness, owen farrell, even if he didn’t finish it off he will become a grest player. Manu really gives us go forward ball which makes all the difference. Barrit is all defense but a great player. England need to go on from here, the breakdown is still the area of concern although the props are doing a good job. We need to get the wiingers more involved and we need to pass better.

    If England keep improving they will do well but they could also lose the next two games and then its back to the drawing board.

    Wales have a real chance this year, but to repeat, nobody knows where France are.

  16. Just watched the first half and am encouraged by England’s attack and defence. Still more talent in the Premiership to call on.
    SL’s future has to depend on the courage of his convictions to drop those who are not good enough where previous managers haven’t!
    Stevens is not good enough and a liability! Ashton offered nothing and rarely does until the job is done.

  17. Having had a chance to sleep on the game and read all the comments, there are some typically tribal posts from the English Welsh and Irish! On the whole I still think it was a tremendous game, with some interesting refereeing decisions – whenever is there a game involving Walsh where there aren’t. Just not sure he is up to it IMO. (And I say that with sympathy to both sides!)

    Having reflected, I am still sure that the best team won, but England played really well and look out next year at the Millenium stadium!

    Not convinced by Ashton, Youngs or Stevens at moment and feel our back row and Hartley need to get better. Flood is probably a bit rusty at the moment – I think that he will play better.

    I am interested to know whether legally North committed a penalty by batting that ball into touch. That was my call as soon as he did it however my Welsh friend sitting next to me didn’t think so (somewhat inevitably!!!) – would be interested to know the answer.

    I think Warburton and the others are getting some unfair press really. Warburton is right that Wales didn’t play as well as they wanted to or could have done – however I think that is because England didn’t let them and probably some of that youth in the Welsh side showed to. England were slightly unlucky but that is rugby and that is why we watch it – by the smallest margins, etc.

    In summary – a great advert for rugby!

    1. Staggy tommy bowe got yellow in last years six nations for the exact same offense very lucky refs didn’t pick it up. an irish supporter had to check my self actually cheering for england maybe you should keep lancaster… better than johnno for getting the public on side. did the ref forget about advantage in the last play wasn’t a try but was a 5 meter penalty at other side of the pitch. worried about paddies day now.

    2. Despite my glib comments above I dont hold the ref responsible. It was a great game played in the right spirit by both sides. In the end Wales had the mental toughness to close the match out, England fell just short mainly during that 10 min sin bin period.

      Agree that Ashton, Stevens and Youngs should go and I wonder whether given where England are in their development if Croft is a bit of a luxury. If Wood is fit I’d move Croft to the bench have Robshaw at 6 Wood at 7 and Morgan at 8.

      Outside his usual scrummage brief not sure Rowntree has done too well as overall fwds coach, breakdown is still a lottery and the persistence of Stevens on LH side is disappointing. Any chance we can keep Farrell as defence coach even part time as Wales did with Edwards? Defence is much more solid.than under Ford.

    3. Law 10.2 I think, relates to unfair play. You can’t deliberately put the ball out of play. There is more specific defining in the laws than that but that’s the gist of it (as obviously under what I’ve written players would be penalised at the end of every game!)

      Results in a 15m penalty or penalty try if there was a try scoring opportunity, I think cards are up to the referee.

  18. Some fairly petty comments from both sides (and Ireland???)creeping in here. Detracting from what was a brilliant spectacle of rugby. Well done to Wales they took their chance well.

    Said a number of times not too fussed about the result as long as Eng put in an improved performance, and by god did they do that. Key now is to build on this and get the right squad in place as people have mentioned. Can’t see us beating France away so should look to cause an upset against Ireland, though being Paddys day it might as well be an away match!

    Rugby was the winner and think that Aus should be getting rather nervous about next year!

  19. Defeat always hurts. Defeat when for large patches you’ve been the better side hurts even more. Defeat when for almost half the game, though, you were second best hurts a little less.

    Never have I seen an International game where a draw was more merited by both sides.

    England ultimately suffered for losing the ball in contact 45 yards out (a crime at any level).

    Leave aside the obvious decisions which Walsh got very wrong (both ways, but how any objective Welsh supporter can suggest they got the worst of it is beyond me: collapsed maul in 79th minute (no advantage surely?), North deliberately pushing the ball in to touch under pressure from Strettle, try or no try (why WAS a Welshman adjudicating btw?). He was poor throughout:

    The scrum binding was abysmal (as ever)
    He missed blatant knock-ons time and again

    But enough column inches will be wasted on Walsh as is (and he’ll love every single one.

    This was a HUGE reality check for Wales. We have learned that Priestland is NOT Barry John, that size isn’t everything and that the pack, when not going forward, has massive self-doubt.

    England also learned that, while the basis of a good side is there, there isn’t much strength in depth at the moment.

    1. Whoa Mark careful in being critical of this welsh side and a word of warning praise Ireland at every opportunity otherwise their fans get a bit narky too.

      Wales impressed yesterday esp. during the sin bin showed real mental toughness not there even a year ago. I would say (takes deep breath) that they still give teams too many chances. Both Ireland and England had the chance to close the game out which they shouldnt have had and I wonder how a more experienced side like France will prosper. Whilst a Welsh GS is the most likely option, I dont think its the given that most appear to be reporting. This French side are an entirely different proposition to the one Wales outplayed in the World cup. This should be a really exciting championship, however I feel very happy where England are given where we are in the world cup cycle.

    2. Wales get the best or it from Walsh? I disagree.

      Wales got –
      1) the try decision (which when seen from umpteen angles was still pretty much inconclusive). And that was the TMO, not Walsh
      2) The North slap. again debatable imo. But it did go our way
      3) No come back to the penalty. Could argue England had advantage, but I would have taken it back

      England Got

      1) A priestland yellow for a penalty that wasn’t
      2) Got away with getting 3 points from that penalty (so gain 3 points AND a yellow card)
      3) No card for taking the man out in the air in the lineout.

      I’d say it evened out. Hell even the bounce of the ball did. Wales got unlucky with 2 (Cuthbert could have scored it if bounced back to him at the start, Farrell’s chip came back to him as if on elastic) and lucky with two (Strettle could have scored if it went forwards more for the slap, Williams’ kick went exactly where it was needed).

      Not saying Walsh had a good game, but it seemed to even out in my view.

      1. He WAS just bad, you’re right. And I am not blaming defeat on the ref, I’ve actually taken this England defeat much better than any I can remember!

        For info you missed the knock-on in the tackle by Davies which I heard him say afterwards that “I thought it was his head, but it wasn’t, sorry” Go back for the knock-on if you’re wrong. Field position and points went Wales way.

        I can’t recall Adam Jones binding properly on Cole once in the game. The scrums (yesterdday’s were even worse at Murrayfield) remaina a farce.

        Well done Wales (grinds teeth)

  20. Have to say I think it was a fantastic game , there were some beautiful phases of play from both sides. Encouraging performance from England for the future and I do think Wales will get the grand slam. Can’t see them losing to France now.

    I do however think Walsh had a horrendous game, there were some very poor decisions… Not entirely sure what Priestland was sent off for, but Wales did well to keep possession for the 10 minutes. Should’ve been a yellow card from that lineout, I think it was Lawes caught him then dropped him? And then England should’ve had a 15m penalty towards the end when North knocked the ball out of play, also he should’ve bought it back for the penalty at the end rather than call time. Not brilliant refereeing have to say, but he was questionable for both teams.

    1. Priestland was sent off because he tackled a player from an offside position. It’s a professional foul and was deserving of a yellow.. much similar to the Lamont tackle that got him in the bin for the scots the other week. Dunno about Warburton being taken out.. I’d have given a yellow, but I’m not sure exactly how the law stands on that. Also why should there have been a penalty against North? He knocked it backwards over the touchline.. I may be missing something in the laws but I’m sure that’s perfectly legit?

      1. Ah right that makes more sense then for Priestland. I think I would have given a yellow for taking Warburton out but then I’m not a referee, even if it wasn’t intentional it was dangerous play. And you aren’t allowed to knock it into touch intentionally, it’s law 10.2.

        1. Ahh.. well I doubt a penalty would have made any difference at all.. would have resulted in england kicking for touch for a 5 metre lineout, which was the result of it coming off a welsh player anyway, so no harm done.

  21. I think England and Wales should both be congratulated for the intensity and spirit they both showed. It proved Jamie Roberts is not crucial to us. Like Tuilagi he is one dimensional at times (some dimensions admittedly). I always think Scott Williams brings something extra to our midfield.

    No use complaining about Walsh. I always groan when I hear it’s him, or Barnes reffing. They are both self obsessed posers.

    Is anyone else annoyed at the way scrum halves are allowed to stand about getting people where they want them before passing? It is time wasting and tedious.

    Helps slow thinking scrum halves like Phillips and gives forwards time to set up pods for lumbering “round the corner” interminably.

    Dickson did it even more and much of his strength is speed of service so it worked against England. (I hate having to agree with ANYTHING Brian Moore says)!

    Jonathan Davies was saying that the ball should be considered “in play” as soon as the scrum half touches it with his foot. They would just stand there without using their feet to move it then. I’d like to see referees saying “use it” as soon as it’s clearly available. then a free kick if they don’t.

    1. I have to say that I agree about Williams, I thought Wales were better when he was on rather than Roberts – never thought I’d say that!

  22. Excellent test match, neither side being able to dominate the other for any length of time. Good to see England playing with some pace and enterprise to go with an emerging sound defence. I feel sure the Welsh team were very relieved at the end to have the win, somehow I sense they were not expecting to be pushed so hard. This has the making of a good English side after some time of uncertainty and up and down performance. Keep it up guys.

  23. I though we had it, but what a game. I am dissapointed England lost, but this game highlighted some serious weakness on the bench, everything seemed to get worse after the 60 minute mark, especially M Stevens who doesnt seem to add anything to the team.

    I thought Farrel was excellent as was Barrit. Dickson injected pace, although i dont approve with the amount of time he spent at the back of the rucks.

    One thing that annoyed me was Adam Jones at the scrum, he bound on the arm and not on the shirt every time, and i dont know how that was missed.

    A little worried about the back three. I reckon Brown should start next match, even though he perhaps could have done more to have secured the try at the end. I’m not really sure what is happening with Ashton at the moment. A year ago he would go looking for the ball, would chase every kick and would be all over the pitch, now however he seems to have lost that work ethic.

    However all in all a very good match and I really enjoyed it. Come on England!!

  24. Very disappointed with some of the nationally abusive comments, they’re at the low mental level of many football supporters. Sorry that England lost but encouraging for the future. More importantly, it was a great game, a marvellous entertaining and compelling spectacle. A great advert for the game in general. For England, Youngs is a good prospect but he hasn’t reached his pre-injury level and should be dropped from the squad to regain his form at Leicester. Stevens is not good enough and is an infringing liability. Sharples should come in for Ashton. I’ve never been convinced by Flood, I don’t think he’s international quality. We were lucky that Hodgson was injured. Despite his trys, he kicked away too much possession and with mostly poor results. Such kicking has been the worst feature of this 6N, by most teams.

    1. Once again the ref was appalling – England constantly of side at the scrum, hands in the ruck, England captain taken welsh captain out whilst he was in the air (68th minute) So come – on English fans, we can moan all day about the ref. England contained the Welsh three quarters, but a poor Welsh performance on the whole. Loved Jerry G comment on TV today – England can beat France in Paris hahahahaha have not lauged so much in months – thanks Mr G

      1. Amathus, have to say that with comments like that your going to achieve the impossible and start making the neutrals want to cheer on England!!

      2. Interestingly enough, I hear Adam Jones is in school today being taught the difference between a jersey and an arm….

        In all objectivity (look it up) Wales were as good as England let them be.

        Enjoy the win while you can, we’re on our way back.

    2. I agree. Hodgson’s injury was a bleesing in disguise. I think it would have been tough to drop him after his two decisive tries. I also agree with your view on Flood. I’m a Tigers supporter. He’s decent at club level but I never thought he had the game at international level. Farrell on the other hand just looks born to it. I hope over time though he can expand his game a little. Wilko was a great player, but I always thought he held us back a bit because we always played to his strengths which were around game management. With Tuillagi, maybe Joseph, Jonny May etc we need to find ways to create space for these quick, tallented guys. I’m also a bit worried about the back three. Foden seems to have lost a little confidence, Strettle is prone to poor decisions and Ashton (like Ben Youngs) looks a shadow of the player he’s been.

  25. I’ve been saying for the last three games that I’d prefer a plucky defeat to another turgid win… I stand by it, but the loss still stings

    English midfield were excellent, as was Dixon. Decent performances I thought from Parling, Corbisiero, Robshaw and Croft. Dylan Hartley was very poor, Ashton did alright when he saw the ball but was mostly pretty anonymous – is it because he’s playing on his less favoured side? Mouritz Botha played hard, but he’s a bit lumbering. Also fantastic to see Farrell playing so well at 10 – is this finally the end of Flood’s run?

  26. Best that England have played under SL. You felt the players out there were actually playing for the jersey ( Dickson, Farrell, Barritt and Manu)

    I think everyone universally agrees that Stevens and Youngs shouldn’t have come off the bench at all.

    From a Welsh perspective, it’s important that they are winning these games- that’s a hallmark of good sides.

  27. The French game is now very important. Again the result won’t matter that much (though a win would be great) but we have to back up this performance for it to mean anything.

    Agree with all above, Stevens has to go, when was the last time he played without giving away a penalty? Youngs and Ashton could do with a break as well to go and “find themselves”. Think it’s clear that the starting XV is nearly spot on (Lawes & Wood aside) SL just needs to sort the bench out.

  28. Agree with most of the above. Stevens has got worse, and the penalty count against him personally was shocking. I hope Hodgson is fit for France, because I would much rather see him come off the bench than Flood. Youngs, Flood, Stevens need to be replaced (or a severe talking to and more training), as does Ashton and Foden. Both look like they’ve lost a lot of confidence. Brown and Sharples should be given a shot against France, and maybe Simpson should replace Youngs on the bench. Or Lee Dickson?
    On the plus side, the new combinations worked well. Moragn, Dickson and Farrell worked excellently, as did Barritt and Tuilagi. All bringing a good balance to the midfield. Strettle worked hard, coming inside looking for the ball. With the inconsistent performers out this would be my 22 for France game.
    1. Corbisiero
    3. Cole
    4. Botha
    5. Parling
    6. Croft
    7. Robshaw
    8. Morgan
    9. Dickson
    10. Farrell
    11. Strettle
    12. Barritt
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Sharples
    15. Brown

    16. Hartley
    17. Marler
    18. Lawes
    19. Dowson
    20. L. Dickson? Simpson? Spencer?
    21. Hodgson if fit. If not, Freddie Burns?
    22. Ashton

    I appreciate this selection is a bit out there. But we have nothing to lose. Drop the players off form, and throw some more fresh blood in. The new blodd have proved themselves, maybe throw some more names in the mix.

    1. I think if you want a different SH option from the bench, i.e. a running SH then Simpson is a better option than Youngs. He needs to go back to Leicester and regain his confidence.

    2. Understand where you’re going although I wouldn’t be quite so ruthless. I also think that your bench is a problem if Brown gets injured. No FB cover. If Brown is in you need Foden on the bench.

      How good a scrummager is Webber? I would have the best scrummaging 2 on the pitch, even if it is Hartley as the French looked brutal against Scotland.

      They say Hodgson is fit, so I’d go him and Simpson – look at what Blair was able to do round the fringes!

  29. Agree with the comments re Youngs, Flood & especially Stevens. But did anyone else see Morgan being physically ill on the pitch – just before the start of the second half? I thought Morgan had a very good physical game in the first half – but was a shadow during the second half.

    Is he fit enough yet for a full 80 min of international rugby?

    As an Englishman living in Scotland – I was at the Scotland v France game on Sunday, another fantastic match – with probably the better side losing. No doubt the pressure will be on Andy Robinson to resign – appreciate the statistics re win/loss ratios not good – but surely its only a matter of time before the rugby the Scots are currently playing will be turned into victories. Certainly on Sunday’s performance even the French supporters were doubtful about a 2012 Grand Slam!

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