94 thoughts on “Rate the match: England v Italy

  1. Well what a game! Men of the match were Italian – England poor and no doubt shattered. Wales will not be quaking in their boots. Well done Italy…@gammoref

  2. Ooh, so close. Next weekend is going to be a belter. Another performance like that and I can see Wales doing the points. Zeroes to heroes. Brilliant.

  3. England’s performance has declined over the last 4 matches – this must concern them
    There are too many similarities here with 2011.
    And does Lancaster stick with his main team or make some changes – particularly with the back 5
    Wales will be licking their lips in anticipation.

    1. Totally agree regarding the 2011 similarities.

      2011 smash Italy at Twickers 2013 smash Scotland at Twickers.

      2011 tight win away to wales 2013 tight win away to Ireland.

      2011 and 2013 both had hard fought ugly wins at twickers against France.

      2011 towards the end of the tournament we play Scotland expecting a good result and a chance to rack up some points but it turns into a turgid game that we only just scrape. Exactly what happened today against Italy.

      Lets hope the similarities don’t continue on the last weekend.

      The difference i think with this side is that they can afford to lose this championship and still grow. They are a much younger side with more potential.

  4. Italy should of had that win, the first half they were great but good defense, last 10min didn’t help. Then in the second half they steam rolled england.

    Roll on next week, Wales are gonna win by 10-15points!

      1. An 8 point win for Wales will put add 8 points to their points difference, and take 8 from England’s, effectively being a 16 point swing. (Someone else pointed it out to me)

        If Wales win by 7, then it makes it equal on points difference and goes down to tries scored.

  5. Utter rubbish from England. If I recall correctly, then Goode actually managed to butcher both scoring opportunities in the first half… Not impressed with his display today. His defensive positioning is strong, but he doesn’t offer enough in attack, and he seems to struggle under the high ball.

    If England play like that next week then they will have gifted the championship to the welsh.

    I though launchbury was quite solid, and brown looked to be busy, even if his first try is still eluding him. Nice to see croft back. Robshaw was a bit quieter than usual, and with a MoM performance from warburton, I am sure that everyone’s lions 7 will have changed again this week.

    Credit to the Italians, they continued to prove that they can never be underestimated.

    Oh well, at least there will be something at stake next week, instead of the welsh simply trying to wizz on England’s bonfire. England will have to get the grand slam if they want to win the championship in my opinion.

  6. Congrats to Italy, I thought after they had made so many tackles in the first half they would struggle in the last 20, certainly didn’t expect them to finish the stronger.

    Biggest shame for me is the biggest issues with our performance were selectorial. No out and out ball carrier in the back row and a back 3 that can’t work as a unit and pose any threat in attack.

    Scrums were bizarre, so passive at the hit in many occasions.

    Clutching at some positives:
    – Vunipola looks the real deal
    – Lawes contribution was excellent

  7. The TV pundits blamed England’s poor performance on everything other than what seemed to me to be obvious. The half-backs were dreadful. Flood kicked well but was too slow in his distribution to give the other backs any go forward. Italy played well and in Patrisse had the only world class player on the field. Youngs and Farrell next week will make a big difference, and surely Ashton must go now?

    1. Agree that the halfbacks look very poor. Flood failed to attack the gain line like he has been doing off the bench, I was surprised we didn’t see burns. Care was pretty dreadful too, youngs was much better. It’s a shame a few people failed to take their chance when it came. Vunipola was good though.

      The Italian line speed was good, and flood’s lack of attacking invited them to smash the English runners behind the gain line.

  8. Englands scrum was awful. Again.
    Centres that don’t pass.
    Terrible from all 23 and a clueless coaching team.

  9. Not a great performance from England but lets not get carried away. They are still unbeaten, still the best team in the tournament and still on course for the Grand Slam. Welsh hopes are more bouyant than last weekend but their performance against Scotland wouldn’t have scarred England – it was a torrid affair.

    Youngs and Farrell will come back and shore up the halfbacks (Care is best used off the bench for impact). They will start Barritt and Tulagi in the centres who will nullify Wales big wingers coming down the central channels. It will be close but I think England will prevail, especially if they can replicate the intensity of the New Zealand game.

    Ashton is on borrowed time, perhaps also Goode. The beauty is that there are players like Foden, Wade, May and co waiting in the wings and ready to go. The other home nations would kill for that amount of strength in depth so wright England off at your peril…

    1. It doesn’t seem like any of the 6N teams are particularly great – not good news for the Lions and the Tri-Nations teams won’t exactly be sweating buckets will they

    2. I can’t agree with your depth assessment – I’d say Wales and Ireland at least are extremely happy with the crop of new talent coming through. Don’t forget that next weekend the Wales u20s will also be going for the grand slam. Could be an amazing weekend if the u20s and the senior welsh side both win their titles.

  10. people were saying wales were a bad team after their run of defeats they’ve come back and shown they’re not. So really it isn’t really correct to be branding England a bad team based on one performance that wasn’t quite up to scratch.

    The match between Samoa and Wales was meant to be a Welsh rout, but Wales played badly and lost. This match between England and Italy was meant to be an English rout. But, like Wales v Samoa, they played badly. However, they still won and in the 6 nations and on a Grand Slam quest a win is surely all that matters

    1. Steve, the difference here is that this is an Italy team that Scotland and Wales put away comfortably.

      I don’t think anyone is saying this result had made England bad rather it has just demonstrated what a lot of us already thought – England were not clinical/controlled against Ireland and France, rather they were the least poor and benefited massively from their oppositions poor skills and handling. This Italy game was more of the same but Italy gave England even less than Ireland and France did. Next weekend will still be tough for Wales but I reckon they must be slight favourites heading into the match – at home, try scoring knack rediscovered and have real chance of winning the title rather than just spoiling some else’s day. It couldn’t have worked out better for Wales so I say rather than this new simply being a grand slam clincher or otherwise for England this is now a real two way scrap for the title. Exciting.

        1. Maybe this was a genius plan by England! A play to get Wales viewed as the favourites for the game…

          On a more realistic note, England need to step it up. As others have rightly pointed out, basic skills were not good enough, and the boys were not clinical enough

      1. yeah brighty see your point there. SL will make the changes needed for the Wales game ( Youngs for Care and Farrell for Flood). If this England team can emulate what they did in the Autumn and against Scotland. I can see a cracking game in Cardiff

      2. ‘try scoring knackered rediscovered ‘

        Ummm… really? When exactly was this? I seem to have missed it

        1. Unfortunately they are 2 tries ahead of us, so in all likelihood a 7 point win would do the job.

          1 back 3 try in the last 7 games is unacceptable. So a collective strike rate of <5% isn't going to worry a defence that hasn't conceded a try in the last 3.5 games.

          Whilst Wales are not in top form I still they are more likely to score and less likely to concede than us.

  11. Big surprise that there is no mention yet of Italy’s star performer – the singer of their National Anthem, he was magnifico.

  12. Utter rubbish front Eng. Flood and Care don’t know how to run a match. Goode was awful. Butchered 2 cast iron try scoring opportunities. Very disappointed and I don’t think the Slam is on.

    1. I think you’re being a bit harsh on Goode there. There were several times when he beat a defender, and whilst being tackled tried to offload, but had no support. That’s what really let England down, the lack of support play.

      1. that is the problem with goode though. he runs up to defenders, bounces around a little bit, and sometimes will beat the man, but he is practically impossible to run support lines off. i suspect it is one reason that ashton is struggling.

        also goode is in the england team as a 2nd receiver, yet he managed to blow 2 try scoring opportunities. the first time he didnt fix the man, and then took the wrong passing option. (had he fixed the man flood would have been the correct option). the 2nd time he threw a miss pass that went too high and ended up with parling taking it in touch. simple hands would have scored the try.

        goode has also failed to assert any ariel dominance when dealing with high balls this tournament. parisse was chasing and causing all types of problems. if we take goode to argentina in the summer, then Lobbe will have a field day!

  13. Average game,

    Italy didn’t do anything that you don’t ecept italy to do.

    England played badly, they are a better team than this. The forwards were quite good in the first they produced quick ball, even though there wasn’t much go forward.

    However, this game does highlight some areas england need to improve, passing being number one on the list, to many passes were just in front of the player, just behind, too high, too low ect ect.

    Another is how to run the angles, for all the passing the back line never really looked like making a hole. They are too reliant on manu’s strength.

    Sould be a classic next week, still fancy england, can’t wait.




  15. Although Italy were put away comfortably by wales and Scotland… Were they not both times without parisse? Italy are a massicely different proposition without him…. Yeah England were poor…. But Italy played a very good spoiling game again….

  16. Italy played well, sure England didn’t play there best but the Italians played very well, much more like the opening victory over France. England won against an Italian side who played as well as anyo have ever seen, are still on for the grand slam, and are playing a Welsh side who haven’t show any decent form, victories or not in over a year.

    People need to lay off Ashton, how is he, or any other winger supposed to score when they don’t get passed the ball? He may not be on top form but I haven’t seen one instance this six nations when someone else would have scored in the same situations he’s has been in.

    The fact the Toby Flood has over 50 caps tells you all you need to know about the state of English rugby over the past decade.

    1. your comments regarding ashton are valid. you do need the ball to score. but he does not go looking for the ball as much as he used to. also ashton is the finisher in the squad. we are choosing brown on the other wing because of his defensive capabilities (he adds some great breaks, which just keeps showing that he is a test quality player).

      ashton on the other hand is having a shocker in defence recently. going into this game he was the player with the most missed tackles in the 6Ns. McLean was italy’s highest meter maker today, and he was being marked by ashton, which would suggest another poor defensive display. granted, he did seem better today, and it is too late to all of a sudden drop him and pull in a newby for the wales game.

      i do think that part of ashton’s poor form is due to the fact that he is having to play with goode at 15. ashton seems best when he is running off the shoulders of hard straight running players, the brown’s, tuilagi’s and foden type of players. goode on the other hand will take the ball to the defence, then bounce around, making it almost impossible to run off of him, because you dont know where he is going.

      i would like to see brown shifting to 15. i think he is a better counter attacker than goode. we all know he has a good boot. and brown is much safer under the high ball than goode. i would then play foden at 11. to be that is a back 3 more geared towards counter attacking, and hopefully this would suit ashton more.

      1. Kind of agree with you on this, but I’m still not sure Foden is in the best form recently. Strettle has been scoring some great tries lately, and should be next in line on the opposite wing. He also plays better off Goode that Ashton.

        1. i agree that foden is off form.

          an interesting comment that you feel strettle plays better off of goode than ashton. i would say that strettle’s recent rise in form seems to have come while goode has been away with england, there has definitely been a rise in his try scoring without goode at 15.

  17. Telling comment from SL in the sky interview. “We need to get the selection right for the Wales game”. Implies he thinks get got it wrong today.

  18. Flood and Care had a pretty poor game. Yeah, OK, Flood’s boot was what won us the game, but in the open, he was pants. Mako made a good start, making Castrogiovanni stand up twice in the front row is no easy task, shouldn’t have been brought off for Marler.
    Cole has had yet another lackluster scrummaging game, but his work in the ruck was appreciated as always. I’ve been watching him dismantle Healy in 2012 over and over trying to figure out what he’s doing wrong.
    Youngs had a pretty good game, despite the fresh legs; Hartley actually seemed like a downgrade.

    Lauchbury and Parling had good games, neither spectacular but both maintained a standard unlike many of the other players.
    Robshaw seemed quieter than usual but his work ethic was as pristine as it has been for the entire tournament.
    Wood and Haskell also had reasonably good games but I still think Wood is wasted at 8, his carrying was weaker than Haskell’s and given Haskell’s increased physicality, I think swapping the two players would have brought more balance to the back row. Both worked fantastically hard in the breakdown though.

    No idea where Care’s head was. I think it’s been so long since he’s started that he’s actually used to being an impact sub.
    Flood was accurate from the tee, and I am grateful for that as it won us the game, but in the open he just seemed so ….. bleh. Burns and Farrell (if fully fit) both would have netted those 6 penalties but would have also made the right decision to pass along the overlap as opposed to going for it themselves.
    Barritt and Tuilagi, both had decent defensive games, making some important tackles but neither seemed to be making the runs they’re supposed to, although I do think one of Orquera’s misses was due to a bearing down Tuilagi.

    Brown was very impressive. Always pressurising Italian kicks, successfully charging one down and making a lot of darting counter runs. Saw less of him in the second half but I saw that as a good sign as it meant the Italians were weary of his counter attacks and instead focused their kicking game on Goode and Ashton.
    Ashton showed a minor improvement, running some good lines and getting tackled just 8-10 metres from the try line but still isn’t showing what he is capable of.
    Goode was safe under the kicking game but unlike Brown, seemed to make very few counter attacks.

    Yeah it was a poor performance, but I won’t write England off against Wales. England and Wales have each played the same four games, and whilst Wales played better against Italy than England did, I believe England’s wins over Scotland/Ireland/France were more impressive performances than Wales produced against those teams.
    Changes in preparation for Cardiff would be Youngs/Farrell for Care/Flood (these two; I think were the biggest reason for today’s mediocrity). Put Wood back at 6 and have Haskell at 8 (if Morgan is not fit, I haven’t been able to find any updates on his injury).

  19. Well it looks like we are in for a bit of a lumpen bump fest next week , two sets of centres that can’t pass and no guile or wit on display by either Wales or England this weekend .

    I will not be sending my tickets back of course and I’d rate both sides at about equal forgetting the over the top media hype.Probably being at home gives Wales a one score advantage .Looks like that score might be a penalty though .

    Australia will not be quaking in their boots at the skills on display ,the power and strengh maybe but skills no .

    1. couldn’t agree more pontylad.

      After a very promising start this six nations has turned rather ugly.

      Australia will not be scared of what they have seen of us as an attacking force, however they will note that the Lions will have access to a big and powerful pack and some great kickers, this will make them hard to beat. Add to that huge wingers, huge centres that blitz all day and it should be a good series.

      With Warbuton back to some sort of form it will be interesting to see him against Robshaw next week.


      the pack
      has loads of options apart from maybe N8 but I rate Faletau so no worries, if he is fit.

      looking problematic, we need sexton to be fit, he can ignite the backs, more than anybody else, halfpenny does the kicking. scrum half looks open, youngs and phillips look like front runners both have different strengths but niether is setting the world on fire at the mo.

      all sorts of problems, no one has put their hand up, there seems lots of power and defensive qualities on offer but not a lot else, BOD needs to be on form to provide some silk in this area. Roberts, Barritt, Tuillagi, Davis,are all much of a muchness.

      Back three
      looks good, lots of options on the wings and a couple of desent fullbacks.

      1. If Sexton is not fit who would you pick at 10? Biggar or Farrell look like the best choices, but neither are likely to really get a back line attacking with great intent.

        1. Probably Farrell. I think his goal kicking would be useful, having both he and halfpenny on the field would scare the Aussies. I also think that Farrell is defensively strong. He likes to get in people’s face, and he may be a good option to rattle cooper. Sexton is still my first choice

      2. Run over them if the Lions can’t run around them !

        I’m moving towards Hogg at fullback and Halfpenny on the wing just to get some creativity in there -Andy Robinson copied this idea for his ScrumV selection of course ;-).

        I was a bit curmudgeonly about the upcoming weekend and I know I will enjoy the occasion with the old Enemy coming to win their first ever Slam on Welsh soil and with Wales in with a shout for the championship but it would be nice if some rugby broke out too .At least a win by 7 has a good ring to it encouraging a win by a try psychologically at least if not strictly necessary mathematically .

    1. and then proceeds to kick the faster ball backwards?

      youngs is perfectly capable of producing quick ball if it is there. but quick ball is useless if your 10 is just going to sit deep and take an age to pass it. i am sure care’s cause was not helped by flood today, but danny did not have a good game, and ben youngs has pretty much been handed the 9 shirt for the wales game.

  20. 250/1 on to win today, so to scrape through with a lucky win has to be the worst performance of the Lancaster era. I hope the issues were mental with the team looking past Italy, though I’m not confident of a championship, let a alone a slam on the back of that.

    For most of the first half we played like Scotland did in 2012, lots of ball, lots of phases, lots of endeavour, no cutting edge and no tries. We then looked like we’ve been given a sedative at half time.

    Lancaster has bemoaned the lack of accuracy, but I don’t think that was our main issue. We were just too lateral. Only Vunipola and Youngs gave us any go forward around the ruck. Wood made all of 2m from 8, please, please, please can we pick a number 8 next week who can give us the dynanamism we’ve missed since Morgan’s injury. If we are going forward and breaking the gain line the rest of the game will be a lot easier.

    Alex Goode is just becoming an oxymoron. If you can’t really run and can’t make a head on one-on-one tackle you had better be bloody good as a second “play maker” so had better be able to convert guilt edge chances as a minimum. Being able to catch a ball and kick it back isn’t enough of a skill set.

    If we can’t create an opportunity for the wings to finish then we may as well pick Banahan.

    It always looked like it was going to be a tight championship, potentially one that is won without a grand slam. If we are denied a grand slam next week it will be today that lost us the championship.

    1. Couldn’t agree more on the 8 issue. Lancaster needs to have the balls to put Waldrom or Vunipola (prefferably Vunipola) in against Wales. Morgan’s loss has been telling more and more with each game. But Lancaster had the opportunity to give Vunipola a shot against Italy, and he didn’t take it. I suspect that he may stick with the same back three, but I would take the gamble and give Vunipola a chance. Wood is a great 6, but nowhere near an international 8!!!!

  21. Lets be honest, the best team lost today,2nd half Italy had ’em on toast, Clancy definately did Italy no favours & the Italian kicker left about 9 points on the park. Sets it up nicely for next week & if Wales can keep the penalty count down I fancy them to win….. debatable by the 8 points required though.
    Cannot see England playing that badly again, they will need to up todays performance by 30% at least.

    1. Italy’s ill discipline cost them the game, granted a few calls from the ref could be argued to have gone one way or the other, but the Italians gave away a huge number of pens, and based on that its hard to say that they were the best team.

      Don’t get your comment on it being “debatable by the 8 points required”. How is that debatable, that is numbers, one of the least debatable facts out there. There is a 14 point difference between the scores, therefore a 7 point win (putting +7 for Wales, and -7 for England – adding to 14) would draw the points difference, taking the decision of who wins to tries scored. However and 8 point win would result in a 16 point swing, meaning that Wales’ points difference would be +2 greater than England’s, meaning that Wales win the championship on points difference.

      I believe that Wales have more tries scored (could be wrong) but basically, England have to win, or lose by less than 7 points if they want to win the 6Ns.

  22. A few simple points.

    England played poorly

    Italy played exceptionally well.

    Next week is completely different, so no point in over speculating every tiny detail. I’ve read a lot of comments from both Welsh and English fans and seriously…its starting to get really nerdy on here with the over analysis.

    1. On one post you say “England beat Ireland, who beat Wales, so England will win in Wales” and now you are saying next week is completely different? Bit of mixed messages there Liam.

      Also people are not over analysing things, people are providing logical reasoning to back up their views, something that you failed to do in the aforementioned previous post…

      This is a blog for discussing rugby, if you don’t want in depth analysis then you might as well get your rugby news from the sky sport website.

    2. haha “its getting nerdy on here” Its an online forum! people who write on forums are usually pretty nerdy about there subject.

    3. to say england played poorly would imply they played..
      i dont think they were good enough to be called poorly

  23. England did not deserve the win, they did not play like a grandslam team so if they want to win next week at wales they need to up their game or wales will put points on them easy. I think wales will win as they are at the millenium stadium and only need 7 points to win as they have more tries than england by 2. It should be the game of the six naations come on WALES!

    1. Wales have not won at home for 12 months which is a worry for me, Wales will score tries against England as i think the Welsh centres will focus on Englands 9 and 10, the Welsh wingers are a class above Englands and i would like to see them get more ball to attack a weak defensive Ashton particular.Concerned over the Welsh discipline and England will get consistant 3 pointers but cannot see how they will score tries. Stick to my guns from the very first weekend and say again how poor this 6 nations has been – 6 average Teams with very little skill levels unfortunately – no flair – and no real eye for individuality – shame for rugby – the Aussies must be rubbing their hands in glee

  24. Flood & Care were ineffectual and poor. Care individually was ok, but let down by Flood. I’ve said it before and yes I’m going to say it again, Flood is only any good when Youngs is playing SH. If Farrell is still not fit next week, then please start with Youngs and Flood.

    Also we need an 8 at the back of the scrum, not just for the scrum itself, but because we do not have a ball carrying 8. Even if we played Haskell there it would be more effective. I’m not criticising Wood, because I think he’s played well, but he doesn’t play like an 8. Morgan, Vunipola, Waldrom I don’t care who, but one of them needs to play. Without Morgan we’ve looked slow and laboured. His ability to run the hard yards and beat defenders were the difference against Scotland, and we haven’t really seen it since.

    I thought Mako and Tom Youngs were our best players against Italy, and when they went off we were on the back foot again. They need to be starting against Wales.

  25. Painful as it is to say, I reckon Wales start as favourites next week, for the game and it must be about evens for the championship. They have been improving throughout the 6N, we have been regressing.

    Personally I thought that the main problems yesterday were with the half backs not functioning, and a poor game plan. Hopefully both of these can be rectified.

    Thought Brown was very good yesterday (never really been a fan of his either!), and Goode was very poor – will be lucky to hang onto his place. Can see lots of hanging high balls if he plays and would put money on Halfpenny claiming them all day. Halfbacks poor – no control. Forwards looked fine generally although we desperately need an 8 playing.

  26. Am i right in thinking that England did not get one single turnover – if so, Warbs and Tipuric will have a field day won’t they, this must be a concern in the English camp

      1. Thanks for getting the stat out Jamie. I was going to say that I can recall Haskell getting at least one turnover.

        Also it’s often that the stats show a “turnover” as being a clean steal, but sometimes winning a penalty is unofficially seen as a turnover, and can be more valuable.

    1. Thanks Jamie, need to watch the game a little closer lol as i can’t recall a clean turnover ball – have to leave the beers out for next Sat

        1. Just wishful thinking Jamie – will be at the game so might be getting the stats wrong once again

  27. I think the english backline played bad partical in the 1st half if they had of taken there opportunitys they would have probly steam rolled italy. As always if italy are still in the game with 60mis on the clock there always hard to beat. I have to say though there was a massive difference with toby flood in the backline i dont think he had hes best game but i dont think he suits the way england play as well as farrel. If you watch the game closly you see that flood likes to take the ball realy flat which means players out side him barret and tuilagi get the ball and defenders are in there face. That doesnt suit then particuly barret doesnt have the skill to take advantage of this. The two centres are better with farrel give them more time on the ball and space to run into they are two crash ball guys so that works better for them. Interesting to see what happens for the lions sexton plays in a similar way to flood.

    1. I agree with your analysis of flood, as this is how he usually plays. But yesterday he spend the majority of the time standing deep and taking too long to pass the ball.

      When flood does attacks the line, line he goes hard and fast at a gap, allowing players to run off him. If he is simply shifting the ball on, while standing deep, then he allows defenders to drift off him and double team other people. Combine that with the great line speed that the Italians showed, and players were getting the ball with no space in front of them.

      1. Also the fact that Flood’s decision making was poor all game i.e. when to pass when to run. and that he couldn’t even find touch with penalties is not encouraging for the Wales game. I really hope Farrell is fit. At least he can tackle attackers effectively, Flood couldn’t even get that right.

        1. To be fair Flood didn’t miss a tackle, the issue I have with Flood’s defence is a bit like ROG, makes his tackles but the tackled player usually makes a meter or two in contact. Farrell infinitely better at getting the man down on or behind the gain line.

        2. Dazza – least said about this game the better eh!?

          It had the feeling of a blind date with an ugly bird. You have to do it and you have to be gentlemanly but ultimately you want to get it finished asap.

          We got the win and now we are underdogs for the Wales game , which is excellent.

          Lets not forget that we have been winning ugly with some key people missing, notably in the pack, where possession, front foot ball etc begins. im talking about Morgan btw

          bring on wales

        3. Dazza – least said about this game the better eh!?

          It had the feeling of a blind date with an ugly bird. You have to do it and you have to be gentlemanly but ultimately you want to get it finished asap.

          We got the win and now we are underdogs for the Wales game , which is excellent.

          Lets not forget that we have been winning ugly with some key people missing, notably in the pack, where possession, front foot ball etc begins. im talking about Morgan btw

          bring on wales

          1. jimmy posting that picture of yourself (I presume) and talking about ugly birds is just asking for trouble .

          2. Ponty lad – i assume you are joking and realise that the picture is of Thomas Waldrom, whom i find very amusing, hence the picture.

          3. @ Amathus – Hes a looker alright ;0)

            This saturday is going to be a hell of a game, i would say that you are favourites now.

  28. check the stats Dazza – Flood made 9 tackles and didnt miss any. He wasnt good yesterday, but there was nothing wrong with his defence.

    1. I agree with most stuff said, England lacked an attacking edge. However let’s not take it away from Italy, they played a good game they turned us over 12/13 times I think. Our defence was good and we didn’t give a penalty during the last minuets if attack which would have been easy to do.

  29. watching from the east stand on saturday it was goode’s lack of attacking threat was immediately apparent. i agree with the general consensus of this comment thread so far; the back three is due a timely reshuffle, brown at 15, strettle in at 14 and i would like to see may at 11, the pack needs some go forward from somewhere- wood has perfored well as a caretaker 8 but morgan/vunpiola are desperately needed as the only target for the pack atm is tuilagi and he’s needed elsewhere so he can cross the whitewash not scrapping with forwards. care’s service, to give him his dues, was very good but he marshalled the game poorly and THAT kick was unforgivable.
    let this serve as a check to the exagerated optimism england fans have now developed. which i think is well documented below!


  30. Just dreadful. How has the team that beat the ABs and only just lost to SA and Aus 5 months ago, gone backwards so quickly?

    Why have we stopped hitting the breakdown fast and in numbers? Why are the forwards loitering around in mid-field again?

    Wood is not an international 8. He needs to be back in his best position on the blind-side. An international 8 makes dents in the opposition and gets the team on the front foot. Wood made 2 metres on 5 runs. Picamoles made 90 metres in 13 runs – which is what you need.

    8 is a hugely important position and it needs someone who plays there regularly. I don’t care if its Vunipola, Morgan, or even Waldrom or Easter. Just get someone there and let Wood influence the game where he is best.

    And on that note, Goode is not an international full-back. His defense and counter-attack are both poor. Apparently, he’s meant to be there as a secondary play-maker, in which case how the hell did he ruin 2 cast-iron scoring opportunities with some play that would have embarrassed a 13 year old school third team?

    Really not sure just how bad Ashton needs to be before he’s dropped.

    Please, please pick Brown at full-back. There’s a reason Quins play him there and a reason that he’s consistently in the top try-scorers in the Premiership

    And finally, why in God’s name was 12Trees bought on so late, and why on earth was Flood not replaced by Burns?

    On the plus side, Vunipola was decent but not fit enough.

    My team for Wales (won’t happen)

    Vunipola, Youngs, Cole
    Wood, Robshaw
    Morgan if fit – Vunipola if not
    Youngs, Farell if fit – flood if not
    12Trees, Tuilagi

    1. Entirely agree with everything – but I think we’ll get one change in the back three (if we’re lucky) – if that is the choice then I think Goode goes (despite Ashton’s limitations). I have a horrible feeling SL will give Goode another go though. Barritt will not be dropped, not that I though our defence suffered when 36 came on.

  31. For next week I would go for:

    1. Vunipola
    2. Youngs
    3. Cole
    4. Launchbury (if fit else Lawes)
    5. Parling
    6. Wood
    7. Robshaw
    8. Waldrom
    9. Youngs
    10. Farrell
    11. Strettle
    12. Barritt
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Brown

    16. Hartley
    17. Marler
    18. Wilson
    19. Lawes (else Botha if Lawes is playing)
    20. Haskell
    21. Care
    22. Flood
    23. Twelvetrees

    Whilst I would love to see B. Vunipola involved I don’t think a grand slam decider is the right place to throw him in, big own goal not playing him this weekend. It’s not a particularly exciting back 3 but I think we’ve got to pick from the group that has been together for the last couple of months and with Foden not being sharp I think this is our only viable option. We need a direct, physical, hard running full back. We can build a counter attack game from Brown, but not Goode. We’ve also countered very well with Morgan running ball back, Waldrom is much better at this than any of the flankers who played yesterday.

    Wales are apparently the best side the championship at holding onto the ball, so I really don’t want to be kicking ball away to a team that doesn’t give it up and is packed full of big ball carriers. We have to be able to hold onto it ourselves.

    1. I hope your right with your selection, especially at 12 – as a Welshman hope twelvetrees is on the bench as he is your most potent attacking weapon – and please have Ashton on the wing.

      1. Given Wales are going to send lots of big lumps down his channel I don’t think it’s the right time to drop the human wall. Twelvetrees didn’t do enough off the bench to mandate his inclusion next week in my opinion, even if he is the best prospect going forwards.

        You’ve got your own misfiring 9-13 shirts to worry about this week to focus too much on ours :-)

        Yes Ashton still worries me. If we play like we did yesterday then we may as well pick another full back and improve the defence. The form wingers are outside of the EPS. Whilst I don’t think there is any constraint on calling on them within the international window, I think it makes sense to pick from the group that has been together for a couple of months rather than throw in someone new for such a big game.

        1. I agree, 10 – 13 are a worry for Wales, but also for England, i would like Hook to be thrown in the mix but will never happen

  32. What are peoples views on players influencing refs on the pitch – should they be warned, yellowed or do you think it’s unfortunately just part of the game and secondly opinion on soft hits at the scrum – tactical or just out and out cheating.

    1. I don’t like hearing 31 referees on the pitch and would like to see refs take a firmer stance on it.

      I don’t understand why it is so hard to get 16 blokes to have a pushing contest in a test of strength and technique. Seems to be all about trying to con a free kick or penalty on the hit. Geech’s view on having the front rows form and bind before the second rows join sounds sensible to me.

      1. i remember when the scrum formed and the ref idnt get involoved
        seems the irb has shafted the scrums not the players

  33. it must be said your a fickle bunch
    i was rteadign here a while ago and how good some peopel thought flood was parising him up now they are slagging him off
    Fairweather fans

  34. Agree with a lot of comments regarding the 8 and 15 shirts.

    Haskell would have been a better fit than Wood and don’t really understand why those 2 haven’t been switched. Even if Morgan is fit though don’t know if he would be ready to jump straight back in so for me it should be Haskell/Waldrom with Vunipola on bench.

    Goode had a poor game but so did a few people, my issue is his counter attacking does not allow the wingers to run lines off him. Ashton is struggling because he can’t support Goodes lines as well as he can a hard straight runner. IMO Brown at 15 would give Ashton a far better chance at running those lines and taking the offload. The other wing should have Varndells name all over it!!!!!

  35. It was a poor game from an English perspective but credit to Italy who left everything on the field. England probably had 1 eye on the Wales game and the Italians took full advantage. A few reasons behind the poor English performance but the most important were 1. We didn’t get our ball carriers moving off 10 well enough so didn’t have much forward momentum or that much gain line success and Italy closed our runners down quickly. 2. We lost momentum from a couple of missed placed penalties to touch and at international level it’s difficult enough to win opportunity to attack in the red zone, that zapped confidence. 3. The Italians won the battle of the back rows and we didn’t / couldn’t respond to it. Don’t read to much into either the English or Welsh performance last weekend because form will be out the window come 5.00 on Saturday!

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