54 thoughts on “Rate the match: England 29 v 18 Wales

  1. England a 9 Wales a 7 so has to be an eight game. Wales centres outplayed by England opposite numbers, never thought I would say that!

  2. england back line were great today. actually had an attack. manu will have a bit of a fight for his position. him on the bench would be a weapon no team would be happy about.

    the two wingers look good they need to fight on the ground for better ball placement. watch rob kearny for example. they gave away over half of wales points for not giving their team mates a chance to win the ball.

    u will be a force come 2015 that will have a great chance to win on home soil.
    lets hope we have a competitive world cup.

    from an irish fan

  3. What is it with all the militarism England are demonstrating as pre match “entertainment”? Shots from artillery, everbody given an England flag to wave……..fine line between supporting a team and an unpleasant nationalism.Very unpleasant Indeed.

    1. And the prize for silliest comment of the week goes to Allison

      England flags at an England game??? How awful. Before you know it we’ll be invading Belgium

    2. Yes, it’s entirely unreasonable for the English to be proud to be English, how dare they.

  4. England fully deserved that win, they were a more positive team throughout with second row, burrell and brown all outstanding. Thought wales game plan strange in first half and welsh half backs were poor.

    Both teams butchered overlaps but I think england edged it everywhere, even winning the scrum and getting poite looking at Jenkins early on.

  5. Halfpenny was their only player to really perform, kept them in it with some beautiful kicks, a few of which were barely short of halfway.
    And his try saver on Burrell was as spectacular as it was ballsy.

    Other than that though Wales were absolutely hopeless, England’s defence was just too good for their power game. The tacklers were coming in just as committed as the carriers were and the resulting contact was so thunderous that more often than not, it dislodged the pill and gave the stellar Brown a chance to counterattack. Add in England’s edge in the set piece and Farrell’s superb game management and Wales never really stood a chance after Care’s try.

    Were there any Welsh units that outplayed their English counterparts?

    1. Not sure about back row, Wales did well at the breakdown. Back three would be a toss up as well. Other than that none.

      1. Neither set of wings got their hand on the ball enough to really lay down a marker, although no blunder by Nowell/May outweigh North’s decision not to pass on the overlap.
        I’d also say Brown edged Halfpenny. Far more prominent on the counterattack and he won the single aerial encounter they shared (even if North robbed him of the ball immediately after).
        I’ll probably have to watch the match again to gauge the battle of the breakdown but I’d have to agree they were pretty even at face value.

    2. Half penny’s try saver was indeed ballsy but I do worry about his health. That’s not the first time I have seen him injure himself saving a try.

    3. The pill was not dislodged due to thunderous contacts! It was a deliberate ploy by England to target the ball in the tackle – and they used it extremely effectively.

      Lawes was outstanding in stopping all of the crash ball attempts., and just generally you could tell that the English were pumped for that game!!

      For Wales… *sigh* I dunno, just didn’t look up for it at all. My fears about Priestland were founded. Aimless kicking to Brown, which given his current form boggles the mind. If the aim was to test the English back 3 with contestable kicks then he failed miserably.

      First up tackling was atrocious! I’m sure I saw Lydiate get brushed off going high on Morgan I think it was. Lydiate going high of all people!

      No confidence in attack, didn’t back themselves at all. Bizarrely I thought that was the most attacking Cuthbert has been all tournament.

      Did any Wales player outperform their opposite number? No, not at all. The only ones I’d give credit to are 1/2P and Warburton. I thought Ball was competent given it’s only his second start.

      Congratulations to England.

  6. Probably used the wrong blog to comment on issues about how we present ourselves as a rugby playing nation on a world stage. It does matter and hubris will not help in the world cup – but hey boys really glad you know your breakdown from your game management. Forza.

  7. Agree with Richard on both the wingers getting turned over on the ground. Let’s hope they tighten that up. Nice to know waiting in the wings due to form or injury are ,croft,Parling,Youngs
    Wade,Yarde,Foden, Ashton, Corbs,Cole, Watson, Eastmond, Slater e.t.c. We will have real depth come 2015

  8. Getting a bit frustrated with the wingers unwillingness to take on the opposition on the outside. May getting a bit predictable always coming in side and Nowell had a gilt edge opportunity to pin his ears back but decided to check in side?

    I did laugh when having rightly done Jenkins for boring in he then goes the other way for James doing exactly the same!

    Burrell is looking some find though.

  9. Should Rhys Priestland don the No:10 shirt for Wales again? He seems to have had a shocking 6Nations. Perhaps I am wrong – please someone explain …

  10. The pack to a man were superb. There was no poor performance from an England player but not utterly convinced by Jonny May and although I wouldn’t change a winning team I would have Yarde on the bench against Italy. I’ve just had enough of May running sideways and gobbling up space for his teammates but there is something a little special in hm but decision making needs to improve. Should have backed himself to go for corner etc…
    Heard a decent few people calling for Nowell’s head which is odd I think as I really rate him. Hard working, solid in defence (one missed tackle but would Ashton have made it? ;) ) and overall had the edge over his much more glmourous opposite number. The calls for his head only sound worse when people call for Tuilagi on the wing. NO. NO. NO. England should be past the ‘makeshift wingers’ phase and it’s a very short term solution+ Manu hadn’t played too much pro rugby on the wing+ do we actually even need him? *opinion that may be unpopular* I think he’s something of a one trick pony and a little, well, overrated.
    For next week, unchanged but Yarde onto bench.

    1. Either Yarde starts or is not in the 23. Too limited to be on the bench. Also mulled over the May Yarde question and despite having said during the game that he has played himself out of the team, I hope he gets another chance against Italy. For me SL has stuck by some players that I thought were not going to make it as good internationals. I think the play of Brown and Lawes has somewhat proved me wrong!

    2. May’s infield running is a useful option as he’s still beating a lot of defenders and making ground, but it shouldn’t be a default option he takes every time. Lot’s of work to do on his decision making, but also more work England can do on how to best utilise his pace, e.g. when 1/2p was chasing back he was gaining ground at a remarkable rate on a fast player. He’s work in progress but a definite keeper.

      Nowell needs to get Margot Wells’ number off Mike Brown. He’s not a plodder, but if he can make comparable progress to Brown then he’s going to become far more potent than he currently is. If Wade was through one-on-one with Cuthbert I don’t think Cuthbert would have got a hand on him, certainly no need to turn inside and look for support.

  11. @staggy you have a valid point re Yarde being too limited on the bench. But I’m not really sure that May has played well enough to make the starting line up? BUT he is an excellent option from the bench as he can cover numerous positions and is lightening quick. So maybe Yarde starts May bench?

    1. I’m not sure I’d have Yarde or May on the bench. One or the other starts. I’ve not been completely convinced by May, but I think that he deserves more game time. He is undoubtedly a talent.

  12. I think we have to be more patient with May. Sir Clive has been behind his inclusion for several years. I just think he needs a try. After all he takes plenty of outside lines at Gloucester with great success. He’s the fastest man in the squad and we all know there is no substitute for pace

  13. A 7 for me, helped by having a cracking day out in the London sunshine.

    Wales were beaten by the better team but despite some assertions to the contrary I see no reason to see this as a permanent corner turned for us. We lost to the resurgent home team – haplessly defended the quick tap (unforgivable) and as expected gave away a score from the lineout. England took their chances, we didn’t take ours, and we did have them – we made as many line breaks as England I see from the stats – I know, I dismiss stats but I had to have a look as my recollection (a little hazy!) and the England fans I was with (my block was exclusively English so they had a brilliant time) what that we saw some competitive play; Cuthbert/North/Roberts making some dangerous runs that coulda/shoulda/woulda ended up with scores, but they didn’t, so that’s poor execution and that’s our fault for not being good enough to win. I don’t know, I feel the need to say it because I’ve heard Wales described as rubbish, crap, found out, over the hill, useless against “good” teams, etc. when it didn’t seem that bad to me, it just seemed we didn’t play well and England did and when you have two well matched teams that’s the difference. We also decided to make some crappy kicks to the player of the tourny (daft) and just didn’t seem to play with enough oomph, enough crazy abandon to win a game like this, and England did. I think we can play better with more or less the same players but some are reaching the end of the road – Gethin and Priestland for definite, the former I say very sadly. Ball has been a good find for us and will turn into a regular player I think. So some tweaks needed and, importantly, we need the develop the ability to a) execute the gameplan better b) have some scope to change it a little on the pitch.

    1. Brighty, I would mostly agree with your assessments.

      In terms of being “found out” though, whilst I don’t particularly like the phrase itself, I do believe that it highlights a problem that Wales do have of struggling to find a Plan B. Plan A has been remarkably successful for some time now, but when a team counters it, it seems that the Plan B (for want of a better description) is too rely on individual brilliance from one of the various brilliant individuals that Wales do have.

      Unfortunately 9 and 10 do appear to be a problem position for Wales, and if the big backs are not getting consistently over the gain line, it does appear that they struggle.

      Is Biggar that much better than Priestland (I don’t know)? I do remain utterly unconvinced by Cuthbert, and whilst he is big and fast, I feel that Wales do not lack in the “big and fast” area, and they could afford a more subtle speedster.

      Jordan Williams – is he the youngster with the electric feet? If I were Welsh, I would be hoping that he would come in for Cuthbert.

      1. Blub, I’m torn on the plan A/plan B thing as often (as was the case against Ireland) it’s not, I think, just that plan A won’t work, it’s that plan A wasn’t executed properly. I do take your point about Williams but it’s a little too early for him – needs more time. Yes, 9/10 are the problems. Biggar is more consistent than Priestland but I think his top level is below Priestlands – so right now we’re stuck between hoping the “good” Priestland turns up or just settling for the “ok” Biggar. I think Biggar, in hindsight, would have been a good option yesterday as his open field kicking (and if that’s our tactic) was poor and Biggar is better than that.

        Plan A is about forcing the oppo to make mistakes and then capitalising on them. The force comes from power and speed of breakdown execution. Neither of those were enough yesterday for us but to comment on England for a 2nd (I hate doing this as the losing team has no right to tell the winners anything, but as we’re talking about it…), England capitalised on 2 Welsh mistakes – poor defence at a penalty and a missed lineout on our own line. They were the decisive scores. Despite some good backplay the tries still came from Welsh mistakes – but they were forced mistakes, and the execution to take advantage of them was excellent. In the rest of the game England were unable to break down Wales and vice versa. So overall I think Plan A can still work, but it needs freshening. BUT I do agree with you that we also need to bring back some magic – in the early days of Gats we had the power and a bit of magic, we need to get some back.

        Just read Dean Ryan’s excellent piece on the game, spot on I think – http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/mar/09/england-wales-twickenham-six-nations?utm_content=buffer36057&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    2. Brighty – BEWARE statistics – Head oven – feet fridge…….. More often than not Wales flatter to deceive. (Like many teams). Record books don’t lie – True – but some of the Championship wins were dubious (that old chestnut again) which leads to false expectations. Wales have some great players – so maybe the problem is arseface Gatland. Imagine what Schmidt could do with them.

      DDD

      1. ” Record books don’t lie – True – but some of the Championship wins were dubious”

        Ha, they don’t lie, but they can be dubious. Quality.

        Where can I find the proper record book then, the one that shows the “proper” championship wins? What would be nice, for all of us, is if the great overseers of “whether it mattered” can tell us before a match, and even before a championship, whether this one will be viewed as a real win or not. Given our relative lack of depth I’d like to save our players for the proper tournaments that matter. I’m guessing rule 1 of assessing whether a tournament matters is that Ireland have to be playing well and at least almost winning it DDD? Wouldn’t that rule out most of the tournies in the last 50 years? :-)

        Note to others – I’m not dissing Ireland here. I know DDD’s affiliation and know he often discounts any tourny that Ireland “didn’t turn up for…”.

        1. & unfortunately it may well. One of the players of the tournament (Picamoles) should be back for that game conveniently. But if they don’t play well, they’re for the taking of course.

  14. Lions.

    We heard a lot before the start of the 6 Nations about how France “always” win the post-Lions tour home nations.

    I am interested to see Gatlands comments this morning saying how the Wales team were “tired” (paraphrasing, I don’t recall his precise words) following the Lions tour, and in all honesty I think that he has a point.

    The Youngs brothers, Parling, Corbisiero and Cole were all big contributors to the Lions victory, along with most of the Wales team yesterday. I do not think it was a coincidence that these players were not playing, whilst the Welsh players were, and I do think that it had an effect on the performances.

    A and AW Jones, Phillips and Roberts, are not in their first flush of youth, and they are all big players for Wales. If you add in a flaky 10, the declining Jenkins, a half fit Davies (due to his Lions exertions?), poor decision making from North, I do believe that the Lions tour has not benefitted Wales.

    On the flip side, I think that the Welsh back row held their own, and Halfpenny was very efficient at the back, but this may well be down to their relative age.

    1. I don’t know about tired … but then I’ve never been a pro sportsman. I wish Gats would just take some time out and not come out with some whinge or other excuse. We lost because England played better than us – saying it was partly (or fully) because we were “tired” is as valid as saying it was because we “had the squirts” as some whiners have been known to say. It’s not on and a poor thing to say right after a match. If they were too tired then he shouldn’t have picked em.

      Using JD2 yesterday I think was a gamble that failed. Very quiet in that match, off the pace.

      1. I think that Gats ought to revisit his comments about the psychological impact of this game both pre and post game. Before (to paraphrase) its huge, after – it’s not really relevant. He’s just losing some credibility in this.

        As to the Welsh team – I am now thanking Gats for not playing too many English players on the Lions tour as I will agree that the Welsh do look as though they need a break. I would however be concerned about not having a plan B, as the Welsh really need to be on top of their game to make Plan A work against a good team, and unless everything aligns, they appear to be struggling. Neither the English nor Irish games were close and Wales were pretty much at full strength. With the quality behind the scrum they really ought to have another way of using it.

        Now as I have always said, you are neither as good or as bad as your last game, but am happy that England appear to be progressing, and whereas the tries may have come from Welsh mistakes, this was really only a reflection of the pressure being applied and there were plenty of other examples of Welsh mistakes that weren’t punished. In fact if you think about it, most international tries come from mistakes caused by pressure stretching defences.

    2. A lot of athletes struggle in a post Olympic year and are well short of their best performances.

      It’s probably a factor contributing to some of the players being a few percentage points off their best.

      Interesting decisions for the summer tour. I would rest the key players (who haven’t had a long enforced rest since the Lions) and take a depleted squad to SA.

  15. Wales shouldn’t be too hard on themselves for losing against an inform England at Twickenham. They should however (regardless of Lions fatigue) be hard on themselves for not scoring a try. The world cup is the next time they play England at Twicks, excluding pre-worldcup tests if there are any against England.

  16. Sorry, guys, but in the Autumn internationals, the southern hemisphere teams come over at the end of a long season and still kick our butts. Being tired is a smokescreen for being over the hill/out of form. The consistent excellence of the southern hemisphere teams, even at the end of a tiring season, gives the lie to this excuse.

    1. As much as I dismiss the tiredness argument myself Peter I’d say that comparing it to end of year tours by SH teams is a bad comparison. They don’t have a Lions tour, they don’t have three club competitions and they don’t have a 6 nation spring championship.

  17. Oh, and by the way, the limitations of Gatland’s tactics have now been exposed. It is time for him to show he is more than a Plan A manager. His world-class players deserve better. Is he really the person to take them through the World Cup? He is blaming the players for poor execution. That was undoubtedly part of the reason for their defeat. But Gatland can hardly blame his players for the limitations in his playing strategy. He has been found wanting, more than the Welsh team itself. It will be interesting to see if he can respond to the challenge. At the moment, Lancaster is by far the better manager, regardless of his lack of player experience.

    1. Peter, I’m glad English fans are enjoying the wins but sometimes people go too far on the back of one win. It’s absurd to baldly say that SL is “by far” the better manager after that one result. Yes, you’re excited that your team have improved, that you’ve unearthed some good new players. Everyone is also falling over themselves to point out that the triple championship winning tactics of Gatland actually suck the big one, are easy to stop now they have been found our, etc. I remember the same rhetoric last year and that worked out as our third championship under him. Forgive me if I’m not going to scream and throw it all out at the first sign of trouble. Cool heads are needed.

      Time will tell who is the better coach, if that does matter. Time will tell whether this is a turning point for Wales or not but to take one championship, one England win in four attempts against us, and say it clearly shows we are an inferior set of players/coaches/tactics is too far.

      1. “This coach is better than that coach” is clearly absurd, when we are talking about Lancaster and Gatland, and we could even throw Schmidt into the argument here.

        What is clear though, is that Lancaster’s star is in the ascendency, and he is proving to be absolutely the right man for England.

        None of this makes Gatland the wrong man for Wales though, and my feeling is that he sees the same issues (and more) as everyone else, and will be able to arrest the stagnancy of his team. I believe he does, and has done, a fantastic job for Wales with very limited tools, and inherent difficulties, of the sort that Lancaster does not have to deal with.

        Peter, I don’t know where your loyalties lie, but I would say that Gatland is absolutely the right man to take Wales to the WC.

        1. Completely agree Blub. SL should be lauded but that’s seperate to whether Gats is any good or not.

      2. Brighty, I do sort of agree with much of what you have said, but aren’t you a bit worried?

        I actually think that if Wales had played to a better game plan (and forget the execution/refereeing excuses), the result would have been far closer, but I still think that Wales would have been beaten, and looking at the team playing in that way, I’m wondering where the wins are going to come against the best opposition. Is it just post Lions hangover, or is it something more deep rooted. In the cold light of day I think that it is probably a bit of both, but that still remains a concern to me. You seem more confident.

        1. Staggy, yes, a bit worried, definitely. We need to improve – we have a few guys in there on rep alone at the mo. We’re not blooding some of our exciting youngsters and we keep persisting with the Priestland/Phillips axis even though it is clearly not working. We need to sort out or domestic mess, get our best players back to full fitness and widen our approach to the game.

          However, I think these are all things we can get Gats to help us with, not dismiss him and assume that someone else can come in and just make it all better. He has enough experience, titles and, as far as I can see, desire to make me believe that he is the one who can change this. All of this “Plan A is a busted flush” concentration forgets a few things – 1) McGeechan, one of the most lauded coaches in the world, was a primary architect of Plan A so I’d say it’s got some decent brains behind it 2) for donkeys years we played more “off the cuff” rugby and got nothing from it, our lack of fitness being a primary problem 3) When well executed, with fit players, it’s won us a bunch of titles 4) loads of teams have a Plan A. Ireland’s “Plan A” didn’t work for them against England, they mullered us with it. They didn’t change it in that game either. England play to a gameplan. Our simple problem Sunday was that our kicking game sucked, and even though it sucked we didn’t stop it. So to be crude we can fix that in 2 ways – don’t suck at kicking or don’t kick so much.

          It’s been a few days now so I’m going to discuss Sunday. Eng beat us with an unforgivably defended tap penalty and a well executed move from a turnover at a lineout. Outside of that we had 2 great try scoring chances and a decent few line breaks, etc. Very comparable – as you and I said a lot last year, despite some recent scores, we’re well matched teams. Ireland are also in there as our peers and this explains why all 3 of us have taken results off each of us in the last few years. So now, 3 days after losing to Eng, in a championship where at the mo we’ve only lost our away matches, it doesn’t look all bleak to me. England should enjoy their win, they were good value for it. But when this blog, for example when advertising it’s player ratings on Facebook, calls Wales “hopeless” I can’t help but giggle. A “hopeless” Wales side were beaten by a “cruising” England team, at Twickenham, by 11 points? Excuse me but I’ve seen many proper hopeless Welsh sides get beaten at Twickenham and when they do it’s certainly by a shedload more than 11 points and with much more embarrassingly easy scores. Please don’t take this in any way as downplaying how good England were, as an attempt for me to say England were lucky, etc. It is in no way that. I am just explaining how I see it as a Wales fan. We were not walloped. We were not shown up. We were beaten by a better team with 2 tries that we contributed to through our own mistakes and we did not take our own chances either.

          On the “can’t beat the better sides with that plan”. Since the WC, again considering our peers, oout of all the top 3 SH sides that Wal/Ire/Eng have played only Eng have some wins, 2, against teams that have also beaten them in that time. I’m not downplaying that we need to win but I don’t draw a line that says “right, this “plan A” got us to within 3 points of Aus 3 times but didn’t get us over the line, so a “plan B” would have”.

          Which is all a very long winded (as I am always) way of saying that I agree with your last point – it’s “a bit of both”. Our problems are multi-faceted and just getting rid of Gats or even trying to say he’s a poor coach is a) not right and b) not going to solve them.

          1. Gatland has won 2 championships with Wales, he wasn’t in charge last year, and hadn’t been for some time due to Lions duties. He’s also come 4th three times, and is on course for a potential 4th 4th place.

            Wales missed some big opportunities, but so did England, so we can just start playing the “yes but we gave you easy tries, and missed our own chances). The game was the game, chances that were missed, were missed by the players, not by some maleficent beast that won’t appear next time.

            Gatland has a 50/50 record with Wales, and has yet to beat a SANZAR team. He’s now just been beaten by the two other main NH sides (one of which beat him last year too). Wales has possibly one of the most talented generations it’s seen in some time, but they’re playing a gameplan that suits a creatively limited side, and I don’t think they need to. He needs to do something in front of the RWC if Wales want to stand a good chance at lifting the cup.

            1. Dan, if you truly think I am implying that but for some missed chances the game/result would have been different then you are the one my caveats were aimed at. I was not. My point was related to whether Gatland is a busted flush or not and hence the manner of the defeats are relevant to me as well as the end result. When considering the end of life of a coach you have to consider what he brings in the round, not just the score or you risk throwing out a good coach who can be helped/developed/improved to turn those losses into wins. Again, the bald “never beaten a SANZAR side” is correct but too crude. Ireland haven’t beaten one since the World Cup either but most people would acknowledge their performance against NZ alongside the bald fact. Your logic in general confuses me – you highlight results yet seem to discount the mere 3 championships we have had (I’m not going to dignify the idea that he had nothing to do with the 3rd one). It all has to be considered, not just a few scores.

              I want to win as much as the next man, what we’re debating here is how to turn some narrow losses, and some really, really big ones, into wins.

          2. Oh, and Ireland clearly didn’t use the same gameplan against England as they did against Wales, so no, their Plan A didn’t work against one and fail against the other, whatever plan was in place for Wales worked, whatever plan was in place for England almost worked.

            1. Disagree with what you think Ireland did against England. Don’t think we will agree so not worth going into detail as you’re very sure of what Ireland did.

              1. For me the gameplan in Wales was kick for touch to get territory, work the breakdown for penalties, and the maul from lineouts (for pens and territory). They barely bothered with their backline at all.

                Against England they didn’t kick for touch anywhere near as much. They only used their maul for the first time in the 2nd half, and didn’t use it a lot then. They did try and send it wide through the backs and use chips and grubbers to try and get past our blitz defence.

  18. great to see england win…now to say something about the proposed welsh regions joining the aviva and being guaranteed no relegation…….i say f**k the welsh..let them sort their own problems…not for the english to pick up the pieces…horrible hypocritical people…hope their rugby goes down the gurgler…and please demand independence….then we can spend english taxes on england and the english…

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